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Is imprisonment meant to be a means of punishment, a means of rehabilitation, or a means of preventing crime?

Does it work in any of these aims?


it's used as punishment - especially for "white collar crimes"
is there a better way? does it waste public money to keep those with money incarcerated because they abused their power?

it keeps the dangerous away - Charles Manson could not be allowed to wander around

in a few places it is used for rehabilitation - this would seem to be a more productive use of the money

but the truth - most people like the idea of punishment
we have come along way from "drawing and quartering" and public hangings
but not far enough!
As punishment it works.
Imprisonment is a method of keeping "them" away from "us". The problem is that many of "them" are actually supposed to only be separated for a finite period of time, after which they are supposed to be reintroduced into the society they left - without money, support systems, employable skills, and any prospects. It's no wonder that "they" often commit more crimes and return to prison. It might be hell, but it's a familiar hell which provides meals, warmth, and a set schedule.

Is imprisonment effective? For many people, no. Not particularly.

- Erulisse (one L)
well said
much of the time imprisonment solves nothing and leads to wasted money and further expense
ours is a society that puts a monetary value on everything
but refuses to see imprisonment logically
it is still an emotional response wanting punishment
Is there any other way or ways of dealing with the matter that might be more effective? Maybe the French had the solution!
depends on the crime
some violent people obviously must be kept from committing more violence - incarceration is necessary

white collar crime could be dealt with at home confinement

addicted people need treatment!
many many now in prison need basic education and job skills
we don't need people to be back in prison - it isn't cost effective and it isn't good for "victim" or perpetrator

prison reform is a perpetual problem and a perpetual need