Rules

US prisons are full

In Stone’s chapter 13 she talks about the many different types of rules, how they have formed, and the primary purpose of them.  Formal rules, otherwise known as laws, as well as social customs, traditions, and moral rules.  It is discussed that the threat of punishment is always a potential consequence when a rule is not followed.  According to the graphic, one is lead to believe that the threat of punishment does not deter individuals from behavior that lands them in the criminal justice system.  Justice William O. Douglass was quoted saying, “To send men to jail for violating standards they cannot understand, construe, and apply is a monstrous thing to do in a Nation dedicated to fair trials and due process.”  America’s mass incarceration rates make me wonder if all the people incarcerated have had an opportunity at due process.  In the last several weeks alone, there have been multiple stories in the news of people who were wrongfully convicted.  How can this be if we are a Nation of fair trials and due process?

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4 thoughts on “Rules

  1. Our court dockets are full and so are our prisons. The thing about due process is who has the most conceivable evidence. Sometimes it may appear that someone is guilty based on the color of their skin, past criminal history, or simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Who knows? I don’t have much faith in our justice system, unfortunately. The lack of faith in the system is surely a direct result of the over-representation of African-Americans within its walls. Further, almost 1 in every 100 Americans are incarcerated at some point. This makes me question either the justice system or the rules/laws we are imposing. Thanks for sharing the post, makes me wanna holler.

  2. Incarceration rates are somehow justified, but our overcrowded jails/prisons are filled with individuals who are in need of treatment. MHC and Drug Courts are not only providing these individuals with an alternative, but they are helping keeps people out of these jails/prisons. Couldn’t the resources that are going towards maintaining these jails/prison be used elsewhere? Like programs similar to MHC, Drug Courts, and other alternatives…

    • I agree that our overcrowded prisons are filled with people who need help/treatment. I think the idea of spending more money in areas that allow people the opportunity to address the root causes of why they are incarcerated makes logical sense (Drug Court, DRC, MHC, etc.) As a country, I don’t think we will be able to sustain the rate at which we incarcerate people…

  3. I agree that there are people in our prison system that do not understand why. They need help navigating the system, and no help is provided. I don’t understand how that is fair. If they knew what they were doing was wrong then possibly prison might be the answer. But how can we hold people accountable for things they don’t know?

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