Inside the walls of Ireland's most progressive prison

Jan 2007
I used to be a real "hang-em-high" type, especially related to any violent crimes. And my gut reaction still goes that way. But a criminologist who actually studied these things convinced me that prison, and the threat of prison is not a deterrent to those types of people. Either they commit their crimes in a highly emotional state where they don't even consider consequences, or they are so conceited they think they will not get caught. And logic just isn't a part of the decision making process.

His proposed solution is intensive therapy and continued study. But he admits that at present, the failure rate is huge. I suggested the violent ones just be dragged to the nearest dumpster and a small object be inserted behind their left ear at high velocity. Better known as a .22.

He didn't like my alternative.
At some point what do you do with repeat violent offenders? They have no place in society. Honest good people do not deserve to be victimized by this repeat criminal behavior.
Jan 2007
Then you would be killing a ton of young minority males who probably don't have any father figures in their life and have chosen to join a gang instead to fill that void. Most likely at ages as young as 12 or 13.
Bad choices have consequences , repeating bad choices is unacceptable.
Jan 2007
Which does suggest that is the real design.

Out of sight, out of mind, until the next jingo is needed.

People do not want the problem. So instead they ignore it in the vain hope it will simply go away, and when it does not (predictable), they go for the simplest solution that costs the least and keeps it - i.e., the problem - away from them as long as possible. And then, when the convicts get out, they are punished more, which contributes a great deal to recidivism. A never-ending vicious cycle.

So while the problems might be solvable, as you say most people do not want to actually solve anything.
At some point the criminal has to decide to go straight and utilize whatever is available. It gets down to personal decisions.
Feb 2010
Sunny Bournemouth, Dorset
I recall a docu about a US maximum security prison, where an inmate barricaded himself into his solitary cell, smeared the walls with feces and jammed the sink, flooding the floor, basically for something to do to pass the time. The extraction team went in, battered him to the floor and manacled him securely before transferring him kicking and screaming to another solitary cell. The jarring note was the passing mention that he was due for release in a week or two!
Likes: 1 person


Council Hall
Sep 2014
No argument there. We take a problem, then react to it ("solve" is too strong a word) with something that creates more problems, then just implement the same broken solution ad nauseum.

Taking the initial assumption to be true, we need to figure out why that is the case so we can put in place some kind of support system to replace whatever is missing so as not to perpetuate the cycle. We incarcerate the criminal (through an imperfect system which convicts many innocent people), but ignore the effect on the family and the social cost that goes with it.

(Also keep in mind, there are going to be cases where putting the father in prison might be doing the family a favor, even apart from domestic violence crimes in which that is unquestionably the case.)
One of the things we could do is evaluate the background check once they are released from prison. Felonies on a background check will eliminate most from obtaining a good job. If they can't work, they resort back to a life of crime. I have seen background checks come back with issues from 20 years ago when a person was young, then at 40 prevent them from moving forward when they have changed their whole life. I call it "felons to soccer Mom's" syndrome. Once you pay your debts to society and are event free for X amount of employer should not be able to see your past because it may not be relevant to your future.


Apr 2010
Pittsburgh, PA
I mostly agree but again your post begs two questions. Do we then just give fathers who broke laws a pass so they can go back to ignoring their kids?

If not, then what solution do you see for this problem?

I think that forcing disadvantaged kids to somehow get a decent education would be a great start but with no home support or peer support it is mission impossible.

There is lots of data that shows that taking kids from dysfunctional homes and sending them to residential schools doesn't work either.

What can we do?

Canada still doesn't have the same inner city problems you have but the situation with many of our First Nations reserves is very analogous. And we don't have a fix either.
A lot of these guys go in for non violent drug offenses. There are plenty of alternatives to prison for dealing with those kind of offenders. Mandatory sentences cause a lot of problems. They might not be non violent going in. But prison has a way of making people into violent offenders when they get back out. And also, prisons have to let out actual violent offenders to make room for mandatory drug sentence offenders.
Likes: 2 people

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
At some point the criminal has to decide to go straight and utilize whatever is available. It gets down to personal decisions.
That is not the subject, here. The subject is the overall problem we have as a society, not your (or anyone else's) conception of moral rectitude.
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