News Nov 22, 2017 at 4:00 am

Officials and Advocates Are Attempting to Make the System Less Terrible


Prison and jail are forms of barbarism and instruments of the largely white, male, christian, conservative class, who, having become irrelevant in all other spheres of social and public life, use it to keep the rest of in line, and as a way to impose values which we otherwise would strongly oppose.

The axiom that money is power turns out to be true, and on a local level, the vast sums required to operate the machinery of mass incarceration grant those who control the levers of that machinery the greatest share of power.

In America, this vast misallocation of resources beggars our communities, and the fallout can be seen everywhere in the form of degraded and suffering souls on every street corner. Nevertheless, quite insidiously, it is the existence of such blighted souls which the martial class uses as a pretext and an excuse for claiming ever greater shares of public resources. This vicious circle guarantees that the martial class—those who are allowed to use violent coercion on others, among others—and the underclass will always grow in lockstep.

Jail and prison are not the solutions to human despair. They are the cause, and the sooner we all realize this, the sooner we can move toward a society which is far more egalitarian and just than the present one.
Your question is absurd as laws against theft, murder, etc which exist in every society. are not one in the same with operating the largest carceral state ever to exist. The fact that what I wrote isn't self evident is a big part of the problem.

Mass imprisonment is a severe moral crisis on a par with slavery and the massive harm we inflicted on Native populations. Funny too, how both of these groups are imprisoned at rates that are wildly disproportionate to whites, isn't it? Coincidence?

Instead of identifying this as a crisis, we find ways to defend it by trotting out discredited notions of "accountability" which keeps all of the focus on the individual—a favorite scapegoat of both Ayn Rand and white male conservative Christian if ever there was one—while giving the institutions whose essential function is to exploit and oppose him a free pass.

The experience of American prison amounts to a form of torture which is difficult to fully comprehend unless you've experienced it. Though the initial objective of the modern American prison was to reform the individual through penitent silence and isolation it was quickly determined that those methods merely left people deranged and hopeless. The simple solution was to swap the goal of reform for one of "punishment" and that was just as tenable in the Christian mind of the day, and indeed in the present day because there is plenty in the bible about punishment.

Though we vigorously pretend that making people suffer isn't the goal of prison because it offends our Enlightenment sensibilities, there really is no way to deny it. So, at the end of the day, we all have to reconcile our own views about the relative strengths and weaknesses of our society knowing that we operate institutions whose primary mission is to inflict misery onto those we have deemed "bad"...and those people are invariably people of color and the poor.

The trend to operate a vast gulag, as we have decided to do in American, has happened in lock step with a truly mind-numbing transfer of wealth from the poor, the middle class, and even the upper middle class to those who are ultra wealthy. The 3 wealthiest Americans now have more wealth than the combined wealth of poorest half of Americans, according to Forbes…. We are all told that this this is a natural phenomenon, and to disturb it in any way would be to meddle with the iron laws of economics which would only result in some kind of calamity. So the polarization of wealth continues, and the rich get richer while everyone else moves closer to the cliff's edge.

Not only does no one want to allocate resources to help the poor in this country, movements to guarantee a basic minimum wage, time off for pregnant women and new mothers; and universal health care are invariably still born. These are basic guarantees that almost all Europeans enjoy, and we never seem to notice that their living standards are MUCH superior to ours in almost every way that matters. The argument that increasing wages or guaranteeing other rights for workers will cause the economy to collapse has not been proven out by many a thriving European economy. As things currently stand, the unemployment rate in Germany is lower than it is in the US.

But it is this vast underclass which sets up the pretext for devoting ever greater resources to military and prison. For the President and Congress to declare that they want to "strengthen" the military, we know that he means that more money will go to that sector. But for what benefit, and at the expense of what? For the white male conservative christian, the military and the prison are his power base, and it is never possible to devote too much money to either institution.

The fact that cops are shooting people in the street like dogs; the fact that we are powerless to enact gun control to prevent crazed gunmen from slaughtering people at church, preschool, nightclubs and outdoor concerts; the fact that we have something known as the school-to-prison pipeline; the fact that we have elected someone as maniacal and invidious as Donald Trump; the fact that are prisons are full and that we are never not at war; the fact that we have a weaker social safety net than Romania; ...all of these things bear the fingerprints of a certain ideology favored by the white male conservative christian.
The correlation is not between the growth of crime and wealth, but between the growth of prison and wealth. I made that pretty clear. Anyway, it is clear that you are in denial about mass incarceration and the burgeoning police state and don't see it as an issue. You are not different than most Americans which is why things continue to get worse.
Muffins, I am fundamentally opposed to the entire idea of prison. I realize that this is a minority view even among progressives. The reason that I am opposed is because the cost to society and to the individual it too great. That does not mean that I am an anarchist, or someone who believes that there should be no law, or that there shouldn't be consequences to what we define as being "against the law".

I would also agree that some people are so dangerous that they need to be removed from society. The main thing that I reject is an institution whose main purpose is to inflict misery on those who have been put there. Not only is this approach amoral, it simply doesn't work, and contributes to the destruction of many lives.

Our priority should not be to punish the individual, but to restore him to the extent that this is possible. Prison is made to be a harsh environment where people stagnate for the entire time they're there. Men who might otherwise be interested in learning a trade sit around all day playing cards, lifting weights and watching television. In other words, prison officials put forth a willful effort to prevent people from bettering themselves, and this is utterly ludicrous.

You keep asking for citations but I'm not sure for what. It is WELL established fact that the polarization between the rich and poor in this country has been increasing, and that it is currently worse than it's ever been. Here is but one citation, but there are literally dozens of others:…

Here is information about the German unemployment rate:…

Here is a chart which plots the growth in the number of people who go to prison:…

It is true that there has been a miniscule decrease in the number of those who have been sent to prison in the last few years, but it's happening at a very slow place, and we still await major policy shifts what would make a significant dent.

Moreover, there is no doubt as to whether the increase in prison populations per capita and income inequality are correlated. The question is whether there is causation. I happen to believe that to a very large extent, one does cause the other.

The American jingoist ignores the many ways life is superior in Europe where income inequality is not as pronounced. Additionally, Europe is far more secular than the US, so people are far less beholden to the dogmas that poison the American mind. The typical European who supports universal health care; a four day week; greatly enhanced unemployment benefits, and so does not view himself or his countrymen as a parasite. There is no social stigma as there is in America.
As a result, there is less poverty in Europe and the overall salubrious effect redounds to all Europeans. The net benefit is reflected in just about every measure used to gauge the relative success of a society. So, the typical European is taller than his American counterpart (in many cases by several inches)…; lives longer…; is less likely to either commit a crime or be the victim of one; is more educated, is less likely to die at birth…. Even the rate of suicide in America is higher than it is in Europe (taken as a whole)…

Clearly prison is not the only thing wrong with America, but an argument could be made that mass incarceration is certainly a very strong signal that something has gone terribly wrong.

Increasing numbers of aimless people with mental illness -- this was the problem that Wapato was supposed to fix. It was designed to be a facility with mental health and detox support. We voters wanted to do the right thing back then, but Multnomah County Commissioners did not and do not want to better this situation, so they refused to fund it.
"You want a restorative justice model of law and order? Show me where that’s worked in a multi cultural, multi racial society of over 350 million and I’ll consider it, but there is no such example"

What does multiracial and multiracial have to do with it? Is that the same reason we don't have powerful corporations, a well-functioning, racially and culturally integrated military, and the world's best colleges and universities? The truth is that such wording is code for racist sentiments. Your arguments are hackneyed, your outlook is cynical. I believe that a better world is possible. The way our prisons and how the people in them are treated has nothing to do with race. In states where there is as much racial homogeneity among the residents as you might expect to find in Germany or Sweden, we still throw people in prison like a mother fucker. We go on ignoring all of this because ou government is broken on a fundamental level.
Portland cops and Multnomah county sheriffs call their female county jail kitchen prep cooks by the nickname Mrs Dash in love letters!
Nazi's during WW2 got rid of people in a hurry using concentration camps, the US gets rid of people as well but are not in a hurry like the Nazi's were so the US relies on their local authority's to frame innocent people and to lock them up using normal jails and then they slowly poison the victim to death and to cover up complaints the whole entire system as an organized killing machine simply labels all the victims mentally ill!
The US government gets away with this because the entire news media is under the control of organized police sting op's and they do everything they can to distract people from the truth as far as how corrupt the US government actually is!
Call 911 and charge cops/sheriffs with murders and you will discover right then and there what government thinks of their citizens complaints, they don't give a dam and will ignore your complaints and so will news media!
In the early 1980's the city of Portland sting op's were sabotaging rides at Oaks Park because the city of Portland wanted an excuse to justify closing down the park and to force the waterfront property up for sale so the city can buy it and use it for condo's!
The sabotage became discovered in 1983 and it became open knowledge at Oaks Park the city of Portland was sabotaging the park!
In 1984 Oaks Park reused to hire back the vast majority of it's managers/supervisors/foreman's/employees/maintenance team and hired an all new season of people/employees into the park in order to cover up the sabotage and to get rid of anyone with knowledge of the sabotage!
In 1985 the city of Portland took control of Oaks Park and to hide that fact the city reorganized the park into a non-profit organization and hired Joe Norling as the parks new CEO and he is a sting op for local government!
Joe Norling's first act in the park was to replace the entire maintenance team with sting op's, saboteurs, in early 1985, and by early 1986 Joe Norling was targeting the most knowledgeable people on the ride team for termination but was unable to replace them right away, but that did not stop Joe Norling from targeting said people!
Near the end of 1990 the last manager of the park from 1983, Dick Connor's, retired from the park and after he retired the sting op's embedded in that park celebrated he was gone and began openly sabotaging rides at Oaks Park by un-balancing the rides and by loosening crucial bolts and by loosening drive cables!
After Joe Norling gave the sting op maintenance team the order to move the Monster Mouse ride to a new location in the park the sting op maintenance team used the act of moving the ride as their opportunity to sabotage that ride by not balancing it at it's new location!
After the ride is un-balanced by the maintenance team Joe Norling got rid of the ride foreman and replaced him with a sting op and he hired two more sting op's as minimum waged ride operators and had them hog the Monster Mouse ride to develop the cracks/metal fatigue, and the sting op ride foreman Bill allowed them to hog that ride to keep normal employees off the ride sio the sabotage wont be discovered!
The sting op's are using the same tactics they used in the early 1980's only this time they took 6 years to purge the park of knowledgeable people and to take over all the key positions in the park before they tried again in the early 1990's!
The sting op's in the park spent over a year developing cracks/metal fatigue on the Monster Mouse and it only took me sixty seconds to detect it and to shut that ride down!
The sting op's planned out the disaster to take place during the school picnics, I estimate around one to two dozen kids would have been killed had I not done the right thing and shut that obviously sabotaged ride down!
I have been a stalked targeted victim of sting op's/authority's ever since I thwarted their plans for Oaks Park!

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