Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners...

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Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners...

Postby DamianaRaven » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:40 pm

This video clip is kind of horrifying, because it amounts to an outright confession that certain jails are more interested in securing compliant slave labor than they are with rehabilitating people who NEED to be locked up.

Apparently, in Louisiana, being a "good person" is not enough to keep you out of jail. On the contrary, they NEED people like you to wash their cars and change their oil and cook in the kitchen, and basically do all the other menial slave labor that they're too scared to force out of genuinely dangerous criminals. This video chills me to the bone, because it doesn't even make a PRETENSE of humanity or justice, just "who we gonna use for free labor if you make us let all the pot smokers out."
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:22 am

Notice his terminology. "You can work them," as if they're not even people at all, but tools that exist solely for the use of him and his slaver buddies. How 'bout these pigs wash their own cars and stop thinking they're entitled to have actual and literal SLAVES do it for them!
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby Lindvaettr » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:31 am

I don't have time to respond fully right now, but I'll just mention, if prison labor isn't employed to do this, then who pays for it? The answer, of course, is taxpayers. I find his tone and most of him implications appalling, but the key point, that cheap prison labor is highly beneficial for tasks like this, is correct. Things don't just happen for free. If the labor isn't done for a low cost by prisoners, it has to be done for market cost and paid for by those of us who are paying taxes.

Anyway, slavery is the wrong word. Even if they don't get paid, and they're forced to work, they still are released at some point, which means it's much more like temporary indentured servitude.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby D-LOGAN » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:44 am

Isn't temporary indentured servitude a type of slavery though? Like it's not chattel slavery of course, but wouldn't the idea of forcing someone to work against their will without giving them the option to back out and not paying them for their labour be covered in the umbrella term of slavery?

Not that I'm necessarily saying prison labour= slavery, just a thought I've often thought about the whole indentured servitude stuff itself.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:50 am

Lindvaettr wrote:If the labor isn't done for a low cost by prisoners, it has to be done for market cost and paid for by those of us who are paying taxes.


So, forced labor is OK with you because it keeps your taxes cheap? Like I suggested, what's wrong with expecting these pigs to wash their OWN cars and get the oil changed at Jiffy Lube like the rest of us? All this crap being done for "market cost" will create PAYING JOBS and all those tax dollars you lament will be fed right back into the local economy instead of being quietly tucked into some rich slaver's offshore tax haven.

We've had this discussion before and my mind hasn't changed. It's not OK to force people to work for nothing (or a ridiculous "token" amount) so they can save a few dollars that aren't even their money.
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Last edited by DamianaRaven on Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby aviel » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:55 am

DamianaRaven wrote:So, forced labor is OK with you because it keeps your taxes cheap?

I don't think Lind said anything of the sort.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:01 am

aviel wrote:I don't think Lind said anything of the sort.


Lindvaettr wrote:Things don't just happen for free. If the labor isn't done for a low cost by prisoners, it has to be done for market cost and paid for by those of us who are paying taxes.


To me, that sounds very much like something "of the sort." I happen to believe that taxpayers will benefit immensely in the long run from all the decent-paying jobs that would be created with the elimination of temporary indentured labor. The tax dollars invested in using ethical sources of labor won't just vanish into thin air the way private-prison corporate profits tend to do these days. That money will circulate through the community many times (generating tax revenue at every stop) before it inevitably ends up being hoarded by the rich.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby Lindvaettr » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:11 am

I'm not saying that, in fact. I'm saying it's something that needs to be considered. I believe I previously expressed my opinion that the $.93 national average for prison labor is about accurate, after adjusting for living expenses, etc. You'll notice that $.93 per hours is significantly more than $0, and also probably more than a large amount of the non-criminal US population keeps after paying for living expenses.

Also, I'll provide another controversial opinion here: If convicts didn't want to end up in a situation where they were working for less than a dollar an hour in a shitty job, they probably shouldn't have committed a crime. Yes, I realize that many criminals are there for stupid crimes like marijuana possession, but that just means the laws surrounding what is and isn't a crime should be changed, not how we treat the people convicted of crimes. Those are two separate issues. I also realize that many people in prison don't have a whole lot of other options than crime, but that doesn't change the fact that we can't just let criminals off the hook.

To be totally honest, there's a degree of "You hurt society, now you need to pay society back" that, I personally believe, needs to be accounted for in prison labor wages. I'm not saying the system we have is perfect, but I don't think prison labor is the largest issue (or probably even top ten large issues) with the current penal system.

D-LOGAN wrote:Isn't temporary indentured servitude a type of slavery though?


I don't know. It's close enough to slavery that I wouldn't make an argument for or against prison labor based on it technically being indentured servitude. I just felt like being a little bit pedantic.
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Last edited by Lindvaettr on Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby Lindvaettr » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:13 am

*I quoted myself instead of editing :(
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:26 am

I do that too - drives me nuts! Anyway, whatever the ethical implications of inmate labor are, I think we can both agree that this guy is putting it in a REALLY bad light by suggesting that we ought not let "good" prisoners go because "we use them for work." This guy's attitude illustrates a really HUGE problem with the practice - the possibility that jail and prison sentences are needlessly lengthened for no other reason than to take advantage of some free work-mules.

This is just purely anecdotal rumor, but my grandmother told me that the Depression hit the South particularly hard because few travelers (especially minorities) wanted to travel through states like Alabama (where she lived) because of the rampant corruption involved in "inmate leasing." Out-of-towners ran a huge risk of being railroaded on bullshit charges and sentenced to "hard labor" by a judge that collected kickbacks for every pair of hands they provided.

Just like with civil asset forfeiture, ANY time you make the justice system profitable for somebody, it's going to be exploited in every way possible, until it becomes all about the dollar and "justice" falls by the wayside. (Hell, the first thing they ask EVERY person they pull over in Texas is, "you got any large sums of cash.") This is no different, as clearly evidenced by a sheriff whose primary concern seems to be keeping the supply of free labor flowing. Is that the way you'd want the sheriff in your county organizing their priorities?
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:37 am

Lindvaettr wrote:To be totally honest, there's a degree of "You hurt society, now you need to pay society back" that, I personally believe, needs to be accounted for in prison labor wages.


This raises a damn good point, so I think another thing we can agree upon is that this debt to society should NEVER be collected and pocketed by private industries. As I've said before - I don't know if it was to you or someone else - I would have much less objection to this practice if the profits (or savings) from these programs were actually invested in crime-reduction strategies... ones more practical and effective than "give all the top brass giant pay raises." My problem is the using of forced labor (by whatever name you want to call it) for no other reason than tax breaks and corporate profits.

The reason we can't do this is because our society is FAR more interested in retribution than rehabilitation. Give a prisoner literally anything that would make their life better upon release, and people start throwing fits about it with claims that amount to "rewarding crime." Never mind how much it sucks to have to sit in prison and lose months/years of your life. Why should someone who stole a car get to come out of prison with a free associate's degree when IIIIIIIIIIIIIII had to go straight to work out of high school? It's not a real "punishment" if their time isn't COMPLETELY pissed away and wasted. Until we get past our collective petulance about incarceration actually improving somebody's life in any quantifiable way, the concept of "rehabilitation" will always be a pipe dream.

In any case, I hope the local jails and prisons in Louisiana come up with some way to make up for their tragic and unfair loss... preferably something that's more sustainable than "let's arrest more people."
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby Lindvaettr » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:55 am

DamianaRaven wrote:
Lindvaettr wrote:To be totally honest, there's a degree of "You hurt society, now you need to pay society back" that, I personally believe, needs to be accounted for in prison labor wages.


This raises a damn good point, so I think another thing we can agree upon is that this debt to society should NEVER be collected and pocketed by private industries. As I've said before - I don't know if it was to you or someone else - I would have much less objection to this practice if the profits (or savings) from these programs were actually invested in crime-reduction strategies... ones more practical and effective than "give all the top brass giant pay raises." My problem is the using of forced labor (by whatever name you want to call it) for no other reason than tax breaks and corporate profits.


I agree 75%-80% with this. I don't necessarily think all prison profits need to go towards crime-reduction (I think changing the oil on police cars is a legitimate use of prison labor, for example, as would be the old license plate stamping, or cleaning highways, etc.), but I do think that prison labor should be used in a way that benefits society as a whole, and not corporations. Private prisons are rife with corruption and abuse, and I'm adamantly opposed to them. Given adequate (probably very extensive) regulation with strict enforcement, private prisons could be workable, but I would guess (without evidence) that the creation and enforcement of those regulations would result in publicly funded and operated prisons being better even from a cost perspective (I think they already may be, but I'd have to check).

DamianaRaven wrote:The reason we can't do this is because our society is FAR more interested in retribution than rehabilitation. Give a prisoner literally anything that would make their life better upon release, and people start throwing fits about it with claims that amount to "rewarding crime." Why should someone who stole a car get to come out of prison with a free associate's degree when IIIIIIIIIIIIIII had to go straight to work out of high school?


"Tough on crime" is one of those examples of political rhetoric that started out being a good thought as a way to reduce crime, and has devolved into an end in itself. I do believe that criminals should be punished, and that they should be required to pay society back, in one way or another, for their crime. We don't owe assistance to people who break the law. However, rehabilitating criminals, and giving them the skills necessary to be productive doesn't only help them, but helps society by removing one more criminal from the chain, and creating a newly productive member of society. it's to everyone's benefit to rehabilitate prisoners, and we do a terrible job when we try, and (as you mentioned) we rarely do try.

Ideally, I would be in favor of a system that requires (possibly full-time) labor (possibly at zero wage). This would be balanced out by providing prisoners with well-run rehabilitation programs that allow the prisoners to succeed upon release. Essentially, incarceration would serve as punishment, rehabilitation would serve as aid, and labor would be a catch-all of paying for living expenses + paying for the education they get from the rehabilitation. Then everyone, including the prisoners, end up better off.
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:37 am

You've actually hit on something that might be a great idea! Forced labor + "free" college classes = a situation that still sucks for the criminal and doesn't cost the taxpayer any money, but releases educated and employable citizens into the workforce. While there would be people opposed to that solution, most of the objections would amount to "but who gets to profit from this."

Another thing that would help out tremendously is expanding the "ban the box" legislation, which would make it illegal for most employers (excluding certain industries, obviously) to ask about someone's criminal history. With few exceptions, this question is asked for no other reason than to fuck over convicted criminals by denying them any kind of decent job. Employment discrimination is a particularly insidious form of social oppression, because it enables the oppressor to portray their victims as lazy and shiftless. Bonus points for criminals, because when they inevitably turn back to crime as the only way to earn a dignified living, we get to portray them as "habitual offenders" and demand our due and proper in the form of... you guessed it, more forced labor. That must feel pretty ironic, to be turned away from job after job only to be FORCED to work after you go back to selling drugs again... which you had to do because no one would hire you and you can't get public assistance anymore.

It's really a vicious and insidious cycle that few people in power are interested in breaking. After all, there's money to be made from lawbreakers, so how could it benefit the rich and powerful to have fewer criminals? The fact that it gives the rest of us someone to feel better than pretty much seals the deal!
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:02 am

As to the unspoken insinuation that everyone behind bars deserves to be treated like a rented farm animal, it bears reminding that there are a holy shitload of innocent people sitting in jail for crimes they didn't commit.

I know it wasn't your intention to suggest that there are no innocent people in prison, but what about them - do we just shrug off the innocent as collateral damage and hope that maybe they appreciate being taught how to sew in the form of being forced to make McDonald's uniforms in order to finance their own kidnapping?

Putting people in prison shouldn't be cheap and self-funding (much less profitable) for society. The easier it is to just stash away the "undesirables" and forget about them, the more you KNOW society is going to take advantage of that power!
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Re: Louisiana Sheriff sulks about releasing "good" prisoners

Postby DanteHoratio » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:34 am

I think it's clear that our current prison system just does not work. The way it SHOULD work is they serve out their term, and while they are serving their term, they have people there who help the prisoners to find a better life when they do finish their term and allowed out.

But the way it is now, prison is very cruel and violent, where prisoners are treated worst than animals. All this does is insures that the prisoners will remain criminals when they get out, that they won't be able to survive out there or find a job and feel like they HAVE to go into a life or crime.

We NEED to rethink our prison system.
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