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Why Nicer Prisons Make The Rest Of Us Safer

They're not just good for the prisoners.

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Harsh prisons turn minor offenders into serious criminals.

williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu

A 2006 study found that "harsher prison conditions cause higher rates of post-release criminal behavior, behavior which is also measurably more violent."

Prisons are recruitment centers for terrorists.

thesleuthjournal.com

“Extremist groups have long viewed the prison as fertile grounds for recruitment. The historical record shows that prison converts to Islam have gone on to commit acts of terrorism ... Adherents of white supremacy religions—specifically, Christian Identity and Odinism—have also turned to terrorist action upon release.”

- Indiana State University

Look at Norway.

static.guim.co.uk

Norway has prisons where offenders— even violent ones — live in cottages, prepare their own food, work, earn money, and go to therapy. Convicts are treated with respect, and guards act as social workers. It sounds weird, but just 16% re-offend, compared with around 70% for prisons across the rest of Europe and the US.

This is probably because ...

Treating prisoners like honest, hard-working citizens teaches them to be honest, hard-working citizens.

rosenfeldinjurylawyers.com

In prisons like Norway's, offenders learn trades, work through mental and psychological problems, and are respected. Once freed, they have the skills to live peacefully and honestly. Which is good news for people who don't want to be victimized by recently released convicts.

So we have to ask:

Is it more important to protect innocent people or punish criminals?

sparkplugging.com

Scenario 1: A criminal assaults a man and goes to prison, where he’s punished harshly. When he gets out, he assaults someone else. Innocent people hurt: 2

Scenario 2: A criminal assaults a man and goes to prison, where he’s rehabilitated. He gets out and never hurts anyone else. Innocent people hurt: 1

A lot of research shows that this is the choice we face. Which is better?

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