Private Prisons against crime

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Hackfleischkannibale
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Private Prisons against crime

Postby Hackfleischkannibale » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:04 pm UTC

I was thinking about the American prison system, about how the prison companies' best interest is to incarcerate as many people as possible while spending as little as possible on each of them. And while normally I'd look for your average bleeding-heart, probably Scandinavian-tested solution to a problem like this, I had a different thought for once:

What if we made it the prison companies' best interest to reduce crime? How could we go about that?

Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby Forest Goose » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:14 pm UTC

How do prisons control crime, though? Even if the prison companies have all the incentive in the world to maximize "customers", short of illegal activity themselves, how would they be generating crime? The same for the opposite case?
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:51 pm UTC

The easiest way is probably to completely neglect rehabilitation. Repeat offenders account for a disproportionate number of crimes, but rehabilitation can make a big difference there. Making life generally miserable for inmates will probably make them more likely to engage in behaviours that will prevent them from getting parole. Looking the other way on drug use in prisons may leave inmates with dependencies issues when they do get out, which also may encourage a return to crime.

Also, private prison companies can lobby governments for "tough-on-crime" laws which would directly affect their bottom line.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:51 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby sardia » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:51 pm UTC

Forest Goose wrote:How do prisons control crime, though? Even if the prison companies have all the incentive in the world to maximize "customers", short of illegal activity themselves, how would they be generating crime? The same for the opposite case?

Pay off judges to send high schoolers to jail for minor infractions. They're young, so they can go to jail for a long time. Once they're in jail, they lose valuable skills and can't reintegrate. So they turn to a life of crime, and then get sent back to jail. More profit for the private prison.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:10 pm UTC

Hackfleischkannibale wrote:I was thinking about the American prison system, about how the prison companies' best interest is to incarcerate as many people as possible while spending as little as possible on each of them. And while normally I'd look for your average bleeding-heart, probably Scandinavian-tested solution to a problem like this, I had a different thought for once:

What if we made it the prison companies' best interest to reduce crime? How could we go about that?

Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?

The fixed amount of money is tricky because the prison companies can only affect their supply of inmates indirectly. They can't directly release inmates, and they can't turn away inmates; the only way they can affect their supply either way is through long-term measures like tough-on-crime laws (increasing supply) or rehabilitation (decreasing supply).

I'm all about using some economics and greed to make it work; I'm just not sure how well this could be implemented. If the fixed amount of money isn't sufficient to provide for all the inmates, things are going to spiral out of control. There would be no way for prisons to get more funding if they actually needed it....and if there was, you wouldn't have any incentive for them to reduce crime.

Of course, you could completely privatize the entire justice system, meaning that the prisons themselves would be able to release inmates willy-nilly. But that's probably not a good idea.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby olubunmi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:19 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Forest Goose wrote:How do prisons control crime, though? Even if the prison companies have all the incentive in the world to maximize "customers", short of illegal activity themselves, how would they be generating crime? The same for the opposite case?

Pay off judges to send high schoolers to jail for minor infractions. They're young, so they can go to jail for a long time. Once they're in jail, they lose valuable skills and can't reintegrate. So they turn to a life of crime, and then get sent back to jail. More profit for the private prison.


That sounds illegal. That happened, really?

All right. While I think that private prisons in general are a bad idea, there may be a way to make them benefit society.
The most straightforward is perhaps that states do not pay them for housing inmates (at least not enough to turn a profit), and hand out additional incentives for succesfull rehabilitation. So the prisons turn a profit when their inmates finish an education or get a job straight out of prison, or don't become repeat offenders within X years. Whatever parameter works best I guess.

Another way to make the system less awful is to heavily punish behaviour like bribing judges and probably forbid prisons from lobbying to politicians.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby jovialbard » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:36 pm UTC

see eran_rathan's post below :) he says it better
Last edited by jovialbard on Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:43 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:38 pm UTC

olubunmi wrote:
sardia wrote:
Forest Goose wrote:How do prisons control crime, though? Even if the prison companies have all the incentive in the world to maximize "customers", short of illegal activity themselves, how would they be generating crime? The same for the opposite case?

Pay off judges to send high schoolers to jail for minor infractions. They're young, so they can go to jail for a long time. Once they're in jail, they lose valuable skills and can't reintegrate. So they turn to a life of crime, and then get sent back to jail. More profit for the private prison.


That sounds illegal. That happened, really?


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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:40 pm UTC

olubunmi wrote:That sounds illegal. That happened, really?

All right. While I think that private prisons in general are a bad idea, there may be a way to make them benefit society.
The most straightforward is perhaps that states do not pay them for housing inmates (at least not enough to turn a profit), and hand out additional incentives for succesfull rehabilitation. So the prisons turn a profit when their inmates finish an education or get a job straight out of prison, or don't become repeat offenders within X years. Whatever parameter works best I guess.

Another way to make the system less awful is to heavily punish behaviour like bribing judges and probably forbid prisons from lobbying to politicians.


Judges are elected officials. I presume that means they need campaign funds and things like everybody else in the American system.

Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?


In some ways, private prisons already have this. Only, it's not a great implementation. Many private prisons have lock-up quotas, where, if the prison population drops below a certain (typically high, say, 90%) occupancy rate, the government guarantees that the prison will get paid that amount. If the prison has more than the quota, then they get paid the excess per inmate cost. What seems to end up happening is that because the quotas are so high, the government has little incentive to try to reduce the crime rates anyway because they still have to pay for full or nearly-full prisons regardless of how many prisoners they actually have.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby olubunmi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:23 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
olubunmi wrote:
sardia wrote:
Forest Goose wrote:How do prisons control crime, though? Even if the prison companies have all the incentive in the world to maximize "customers", short of illegal activity themselves, how would they be generating crime? The same for the opposite case?

Pay off judges to send high schoolers to jail for minor infractions. They're young, so they can go to jail for a long time. Once they're in jail, they lose valuable skills and can't reintegrate. So they turn to a life of crime, and then get sent back to jail. More profit for the private prison.


That sounds illegal. That happened, really?


Yes, that really happened.


Wow.
LaserGuy wrote:
olubunmi wrote:That sounds illegal. That happened, really?

All right. While I think that private prisons in general are a bad idea, there may be a way to make them benefit society.
The most straightforward is perhaps that states do not pay them for housing inmates (at least not enough to turn a profit), and hand out additional incentives for succesfull rehabilitation. So the prisons turn a profit when their inmates finish an education or get a job straight out of prison, or don't become repeat offenders within X years. Whatever parameter works best I guess.

Another way to make the system less awful is to heavily punish behaviour like bribing judges and probably forbid prisons from lobbying to politicians.


Judges are elected officials. I presume that means they need campaign funds and things like everybody else in the American system.


You're right. I was more thinking along the lines of politicians changing the law to harsher sentences.
But both factors are problematic if you want to reduce crime.

Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?


In some ways, private prisons already have this. Only, it's not a great implementation. Many private prisons have lock-up quotas, where, if the prison population drops below a certain (typically high, say, 90%) occupancy rate, the government guarantees that the prison will get paid that amount. If the prison has more than the quota, then they get paid the excess per inmate cost. What seems to end up happening is that because the quotas are so high, the government has little incentive to try to reduce the crime rates anyway because they still have to pay for full or nearly-full prisons regardless of how many prisoners they actually have.


Reducing those quota would only give incentive to the prisons to keep more people locked up to prevent loss in revenue.
I disagree that the state has little incentive to reduce crime, it may not change how much they have to pay the prisons, but a reduction in crime saves money in many other ways. Lower crime means improved safety, more working people etc.
So the question remains how to incentivize private prisons to reduce crime. At first glance, this is against their best interests; so perhaps a way can be found to make a merit system work, where prisons receive payment for successfull rehabilitation.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:31 pm UTC

Well, I think the easiest way is probably just to have prisons be public. Then all of your incentives line up properly quite easily. There don't seem to be any particular benefits to private prisons and a lot of ways that it can go wrong.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby jovialbard » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:35 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Well, I think the easiest way is probably just to have prisons be public. Then all of your incentives line up properly quite easily. There don't seem to be any particular benefits to private prisons and a lot of ways that it can go wrong.


Ridiculous! How's a man supposed to get rich off human suffering that way?
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby olubunmi » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:39 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Well, I think the easiest way is probably just to have prisons be public. Then all of your incentives line up properly quite easily. There don't seem to be any particular benefits to private prisons and a lot of ways that it can go wrong.


Ridiculous! How's a man supposed to get rich off human suffering that way?


Reality TV?

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:42 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Judges are elected officials. I presume that means they need campaign funds and things like everybody else in the American system.


Not everywhere. In Massachusetts, for example (where I live), they're appointed. And Federal Judges are also appointed. I've never seen a judge run for office.

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Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?


In this case, just as incentivizing them for more prisoners would be bad, I can totally imagine that incentivizing them for less prisoners would be bad. In that simply they might argue for sentences and passes that are in fact too short.

Personally I don't think prisons should be allowed to be privately operated. I believe prisoners should have to work to support themselves to the extent any normal person should, but that's just about the full extent I can see the private industry getting involved.

Although I suppose maybe it could be a system based not on the amount of prisoners, but perhaps the quality of reform? Of course, you have to factor out all of the "no hope" cases (complete pyschopaths and serial killers who will probably never see the light of day) but if I was to pay a prison for anything (to which I'm not inclined) it would probably be based on how good of a person my society recieves back after their incarceration.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:50 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Judges are elected officials. I presume that means they need campaign funds and things like everybody else in the American system.


Not everywhere. In Massachusetts, for example (where I live), they're appointed. And Federal Judges are also appointed. I've never seen a judge run for office.

Local judges run for office in a ton of places.

Djehutynakht wrote:In this case, just as incentivizing them for more prisoners would be bad, I can totally imagine that incentivizing them for less prisoners would be bad. In that simply they might argue for sentences and passes that are in fact too short.

Personally I don't think prisons should be allowed to be privately operated. I believe prisoners should have to work to support themselves to the extent any normal person should, but that's just about the full extent I can see the private industry getting involved.

I can't think of any system where some stage of the operation is not deincentivized to promote reform. I mean, police make their own work. They have to.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:55 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Judges are elected officials. I presume that means they need campaign funds and things like everybody else in the American system.


Not everywhere. In Massachusetts, for example (where I live), they're appointed. And Federal Judges are also appointed. I've never seen a judge run for office.

Local judges run for office in a ton of places.


I think the 'Judges running for office' thing is a southern/midwestern states thing - none of the states in New England do this, but I think New York does.

(I'm of the opinion that appointed judges are less likely to be corrupted by money, and the having popularity contests for judges is a HORRIBLE idea.)
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:59 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:I think the 'Judges running for office' thing is a southern/midwestern states thing - none of the states in New England do this, but I think New York does.

(I'm of the opinion that appointed judges are less likely to be corrupted by money, and the having popularity contests for judges is a HORRIBLE idea.)

It's a really horrible idea. Especially because it only takes one messy case to wreck everything. Let's say some judge denies a woman a restraining order because he has absolutely no credible evidence to support one....the next day, the woman's husband shoots her. Even though he followed the law (and even if he hadn't it probably wouldn't have made a difference) he still gets shredded come next election. So elections encourage judges to make the "safe" choice rather than the right choice, which leads to harsher sentences and more miscarriages of justice.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby addams » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:56 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:The easiest way is probably to completely neglect rehabilitation. Repeat offenders account for a disproportionate number of crimes, but rehabilitation can make a big difference there. Making life generally miserable for inmates will probably make them more likely to engage in behaviours that will prevent them from getting parole. Looking the other way on drug use in prisons may leave inmates with dependencies issues when they do get out, which also may encourage a return to crime.

Also, private prison companies can lobby governments for "tough-on-crime" laws which would directly affect their bottom line.

You seem to understand this issue.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:45 pm UTC

Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?
Problem here, of course, is that the easiest way to reduce the number of prisoners, is to just let them die. Whenever a prison riot breaks out, instead of sending in guards to calm the riot, just let the riot burn itself out. Instead of paying guards to searches for contraband for things like weapons, just take the sharpened toothbrush out of the dead inmate's neck. etc. That way, you save the cost of paying for guards and paying for prisoners.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby addams » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:12 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Say each state would pay their prisons a fixed amount of money. That would mean that they'd maximize profits by minimizing the number of prisoners. Now, that plan probably has some egregious flaw, but is the idea of using economics to fight crime workable/good?
Problem here, of course, is that the easiest way to reduce the number of prisoners, is to just let them die. Whenever a prison riot breaks out, instead of sending in guards to calm the riot, just let the riot burn itself out. Instead of paying guards to searches for contraband for things like weapons, just take the sharpened toothbrush out of the dead inmate's neck. etc. That way, you save the cost of paying for guards and paying for prisoners.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby johnie104 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:22 pm UTC

Isn't the USA the only country with privitized prisons?

Isn't the USA the country with the highest percentage of incarcerated prisiners? (Source)

Doesn't the USA have one of the heighest rates of recidivism (at least of western countries)?

I understand that correlation does not imply causation, but the system sure isn't helping.
I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).

Anyway, seeing as the USA does have private prisons I think the best solution here has been given by olubunmi: Giving money to private prisons when their ex-inmates do some good after their release.
Or semi-equivalently: If a prisoner is given a 10 year a sentence, you give the prison money for 10 years. If the prisoner is released and then commits another crime the prison isn't paid any money, because it was the responsability of the prison to deliver a good citizen. Sort of like a warranty: "We guarantee that are newly released citizens will work for at least 5 years."
Additionally to this, the government should have campaigns to promote the idea that criminals aren't evil, but are a product of a dysfunctioning society and that it is better to re-educate then to punish.

Btw, a good documentary on the problems with American prisons is The House We live In (It's actually about the War on Drugs, but it's kinda the same issue).
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby addams » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:51 pm UTC

johnie104 wrote:Isn't the USA the only country with privitized prisons?

Isn't the USA the country with the highest percentage of incarcerated prisiners? (Source)

Doesn't the USA have one of the heighest rates of recidivism (at least of western countries)?

I understand that correlation does not imply causation, but the system sure isn't helping.
I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).

Anyway, seeing as the USA does have private prisons I think the best solution here has been given by olubunmi: Giving money to private prisons when their ex-inmates do some good after their release.
Or semi-equivalently: If a prisoner is given a 10 year a sentence, you give the prison money for 10 years. If the prisoner is released and then commits another crime the prison isn't paid any money, because it was the responsability of the prison to deliver a good citizen. Sort of like a warranty: "We guarantee that are newly released citizens will work for at least 5 years."
Additionally to this, the government should have campaigns to promote the idea that criminals aren't evil, but are a product of a dysfunctioning society and that it is better to re-educate then to punish.

Btw, a good documentary on the problems with American prisons is The House We live In (It's actually about the War on Drugs, but it's kinda the same issue).

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:38 am UTC

johnie104 wrote:I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).
While I more or less agreed with the rest of your post....you do realize that private ownership of machine guns has been functionally illegal in the United States since before World War II, right?

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby morriswalters » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:58 am UTC

You should tell that to all the people that attend the Machine Gun Shoot at a outdoor range in my area. Attend, I hear it's a lot of fun. Here is a link.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby eran_rathan » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:35 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
johnie104 wrote:I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).
While I more or less agreed with the rest of your post....you do realize that private ownership of machine guns has been functionally illegal in the United States since before World War II, right?


Wrong. Its just difficult.

Here's a report from the State of COnnecticut, 2009, on what needs to happen for someone to own a machine gun: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/rpt/2009-R-0020.htm

relevant quote:
Under Connecticut law, private citizens may own machine guns, provided the firearms are registered pursuant to federal law and with the Department of Public Safety (DPS).


Edit: I could be wrong (and don't have the time to look right this second) but I think CA is the only state where the possession of full-auto weapons is illegal.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:32 pm UTC

johnie104 wrote:Isn't the USA the only country with privitized prisons?

Isn't the USA the country with the highest percentage of incarcerated prisiners? (Source)

Doesn't the USA have one of the heighest rates of recidivism (at least of western countries)?

I understand that correlation does not imply causation, but the system sure isn't helping.
I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).


Given that only two violent crimes have happened with legal machine guns in the last, what, eighty years, I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that additional laws w/regard to that have anything to do with crime. Machine guns are irrelevant to crime. Also, they're not really that relevant to current gun control debates, which are about an entirely different sort of firearm.

Prison system is relevant. We've not been very inclined to embrace rehabilitation. My state(MD), is currently going through a scandal regarding prisoners literally running a jail, with the guards running drugs for them, acting as prostitutes for them, etc. This is somewhere past the line of dysfunctional into "holy fucking shit, that's messed up". California's prisons are having people straight up die from overcrowding and lack of care. Such ridiculously drastic problems only garner a little attention. They're not main national issues. Nobody gives a crap about endemic issues like prison rape. Instead, it's merely joked about and accepted.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby johnie104 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:39 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
johnie104 wrote:Isn't the USA the only country with privitized prisons?

Isn't the USA the country with the highest percentage of incarcerated prisiners? (Source)

Doesn't the USA have one of the heighest rates of recidivism (at least of western countries)?

I understand that correlation does not imply causation, but the system sure isn't helping.
I also understand that making prisons public again wouldn't solve this problem as one of the causes is just that the USA has a very violent culture (I mean: People actually get upset if you try to create laws that prevent normal folk from buying fucking machineguns).


Given that only two violent crimes have happened with legal machine guns in the last, what, eighty years, I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that additional laws w/regard to that have anything to do with crime. Machine guns are irrelevant to crime. Also, they're not really that relevant to current gun control debates, which are about an entirely different sort of firearm.

I guess my jargon was a bit off. With machine-guns I meant the different kind of heavy-duty assault rifles (like the Bushmaster that was used for shootings relatively recently) that citizens would have no business having. Sorry for the confusion.


Tyndmyr wrote:Prison system is relevant. We've not been very inclined to embrace rehabilitation. My state(MD), is currently going through a scandal regarding prisoners literally running a jail, with the guards running drugs for them, acting as prostitutes for them, etc. This is somewhere past the line of dysfunctional into "holy fucking shit, that's messed up". California's prisons are having people straight up die from overcrowding and lack of care. Such ridiculously drastic problems only garner a little attention. They're not main national issues. Nobody gives a crap about endemic issues like prison rape. Instead, it's merely joked about and accepted.

Isn't this related to the fact that California is almost bankrupt? But yeah, that's really bad.

I think one of the reasons prisons are as they are in the USA is because of the idea of the American dream: You make your own luck, and if you do a crime then that is completely your own fault, so it doesn't matter that your punished, because it won't happen to people that are inherently good.

I'm sorry if I'm coming over as very biased. Of course not everyone in the USA thinks this way, but I do believe that it is the general message children are thought in school. In my eyes that is a problem.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:23 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:You do realize that private ownership of machine guns has been functionally illegal in the United States since before World War II, right?

Wrong. Its just difficult.

Here's a report from the State of COnnecticut, 2009, on what needs to happen for someone to own a machine gun: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/rpt/2009-R-0020.htm

Note that I said "functionally illegal". Under federal law, legal ownership of an automatic or selective-fire weapon carries so many restrictions, registration requirements, and exceedingly high fees as to make it prohibitive for pretty much anybody other than collectors. Like Tyndmyr said, there have only been two violent crimes committed with legally-owned machine guns since these laws went into effect, so it's really not much of a consideration.

johnie104 wrote:I guess my jargon was a bit off. With machine-guns I meant the different kind of heavy-duty assault rifles (like the Bushmaster that was used for shootings relatively recently) that citizens would have no business having. Sorry for the confusion.

Well, jargon problems here too. A legal AR-15-type Bushmaster is neither heavy-duty nor an assault rifle.

An assault rifle is something like an AK47, M16, or FNFAL with an option of fully automatic fire; it is basically a two-handed machine gun.

An AR15 (Bushmaster, etc) is nothing more than an ordinary, lightweight hunting rifle chambered in a small round good for shooting coyotes and woodchucks. It's too small to be used for deer hunting, and it does not have automatic or burst-mode fire. It looks menacing because it has the same black polymer pistol grip and overall appearance of a military battle rifle, but it's not actually any different from any other semiautomatic.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:30 pm UTC

johnie104 wrote:I guess my jargon was a bit off. With machine-guns I meant the different kind of heavy-duty assault rifles (like the Bushmaster that was used for shootings relatively recently) that citizens would have no business having. Sorry for the confusion.


A. Those are not machine guns.
B. Not sure what you mean by heavy duty. If you mean low-maint...well, ehhh. Let's say that opinions vary there. In terms of caliber, the firearm you are referencing is not particularly large.
C. It isn't a rifle. It's a carbine. Carbines are cut down rifles. Smaller rounds, smaller size.
D. What shootings, specifically? Note that Bushmaster is a brand, M-4 is a model, and AR-15 is a model, and they are not interchangeable.
E. Why, exactly, would civilians have no business using them?

To put this in perspective, it's like someone complaining about all the car accidents happening with ford racecars. Trying to view car accident issues through that lens is...strange.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby oxoiron » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:13 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Well, jargon problems here too. A legal AR-15-type Bushmaster is neither heavy-duty nor an assault rifle.

An assault rifle is something like an AK47, M16, or FNFAL with an option of fully automatic fire; it is basically a two-handed machine gun.

An AR15 (Bushmaster, etc) is nothing more than an ordinary, lightweight hunting rifle chambered in a small round good for shooting coyotes and woodchucks.
You're correct about AR-15 variants not being assault rifles. However, it is disingenuous to state that the 5.56 NATO rounds they chamber are good for small animals. For almost four decades, that ammunition has been NATO's choice for killing people (generally NOT considered small animals).
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:37 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Well, jargon problems here too. A legal AR-15-type Bushmaster is neither heavy-duty nor an assault rifle.

An assault rifle is something like an AK47, M16, or FNFAL with an option of fully automatic fire; it is basically a two-handed machine gun.

An AR15 (Bushmaster, etc) is nothing more than an ordinary, lightweight hunting rifle chambered in a small round good for shooting coyotes and woodchucks.
You're correct about AR-15 variants not being assault rifles. However, it is disingenuous to state that the 5.56 NATO rounds they chamber are good for small animals. For almost four decades, that ammunition has been NATO's choice for killing people (generally NOT considered small animals).

Technically, the 556 is NATO's choice for wounding people. The 556 was originally a small varmint round and is still used in this capacity in terms of hunting. You don't hunt deer with a 556; you hunt squirrels and rabbits and coyotes and woodchucks, because the round's too small to reliably kill anything much bigger than that.

NATO decided to use the 556 because a varmint-killing round makes a good person-wounding round. In symmetric warfare, wounding is preferable to killing because a wounded soldier has to be protected, which slows down the enemy much more than a dead soldier.

But because the AR-15 is not selective-fire, it's typically considered a hunting rifle. And you wouldn't want to hunt anything larger than varmints with it.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:59 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:Well, jargon problems here too. A legal AR-15-type Bushmaster is neither heavy-duty nor an assault rifle.

An assault rifle is something like an AK47, M16, or FNFAL with an option of fully automatic fire; it is basically a two-handed machine gun.

An AR15 (Bushmaster, etc) is nothing more than an ordinary, lightweight hunting rifle chambered in a small round good for shooting coyotes and woodchucks.
You're correct about AR-15 variants not being assault rifles. However, it is disingenuous to state that the 5.56 NATO rounds they chamber are good for small animals. For almost four decades, that ammunition has been NATO's choice for killing people (generally NOT considered small animals).


It's generally not legal for hunting deer, because the caliber is too small. Deer hunting rifles are typically larger. 5.56 is among NATO calibers, yes. It is not unique in this, as NATO countries use many different calibers in a very large variety of arms. Historically, the caliber does decent from varmit rifles, and it has been in common, widespread use for that since then. It certainly isn't a particularly heavy-duty round by any reasonable metric, though. It's a decently fast small caliber round.

Also, I should note that while 5.56 NATO and .223 are functionally identical in most respects, they are not EXACTLY identical. In short, while either *will* shoot the others rounds, for safety reasons, you shouldn't normally shoot 5.56 out of a firearm only rated for .223, but the reverse is generally fine. Both chamberings are very common, ballistically similar, and I doubt that the difference has any real significance to mass shootings or to prison culture. The relevance of the military connection is pretty tenuous. Nobody cares that the .30-06 is a standard hunting rifle because it was the US Army's primary rifle round for roughly fifty years. Like the 5.56/223, the 30-06 is also not very commonly involved in crimes, because neither is a common pistol caliber.

Personally, I'd be more inclined to blame the war on drugs for the state of prisons.

Also, I'm a bit confused as to why the forum edited "car" to "cat". Shows up right when I edit it. Odd.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Both chamberings are very common, ballistically similar, and I doubt that the difference has any real significance to mass shootings or to prison culture. The relevance of the military connection is pretty tenuous. Nobody cares that the .30-06 is a standard hunting rifle because it was the US Army's primary rifle round for roughly fifty years. Like the 5.56/223, the 30-06 is also not very commonly involved in crimes, because neither is a common pistol caliber.

The whole misconception hinges on the idea that the horrific-ness of certain types of crime have some significant dependence on the caliber and design criteria of the firearms used to commit them. But this does not reflect reality.

Tyndmyr wrote:I'm a bit confused as to why the forum edited "cat" to "cat". Shows up right when I edit it. Odd.

Because this. According to a new study, witnesses after the last election allegedly saw a senator getting into his car. He had Google Glass and was using an electric smartphone to demonstrate space age technology that congressional leaders want to use to rebuild Iraq. Homeland security could not be reached for comment.

(According to a ne.w stu.dy, witne.sses after the last elec.tion alle.gedly saw a sen.ator getting into his ca.r. He had Goo.gle Gla.ss and was using an ele.ctric sma.rtphone to demonstrate sp.ace age technology that congre.ssional lea.ders want to use to reb.uild Iraq. Homela.nd securi.ty cou.ld no.t b.e re.ached f.or c.omment.)

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby oxoiron » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:58 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:Technically, the 556 is NATO's choice for wounding people.

NATO decided to use the 556 because a varmint-killing round makes a good person-wounding round. In symmetric warfare, wounding is preferable to killing because a wounded soldier has to be protected, which slows down the enemy much more than a dead soldier.
When the US military was training me to kill* people, my instructors told me the same thing. They also told me that torso and head wounds produced by those tumbling rounds are almost invariably fatal without rapid treatment. The incapacitating wound is a feature, death is the ultimate aim (no pun intended).

*We weren't being taught to maim, we were being taught to kill. If the 5.56 NATO round isn't for killing, why were we using it?

This firearm discussion has veered w-a-a-a-y off-topic. If you'd like to continue it, please PM me or let's find/start another thread.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:05 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:This firearm discussion has veered w-a-a-a-y off-topic. If you'd like to continue it, please PM me or let's find/start another thread.

Sorry for the derailment. I just had to take exception to the earlier claim that a lightweight semiautomatic rifle is a "fucking machinegun". :D

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby oxoiron » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:50 pm UTC

You didn't derail it by yourself. I was right next to you, putting crap on the track.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby johnie104 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:15 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
oxoiron wrote:This firearm discussion has veered w-a-a-a-y off-topic. If you'd like to continue it, please PM me or let's find/start another thread.

Sorry for the derailment. I just had to take exception to the earlier claim that a lightweight semiautomatic rifle is a "fucking machinegun". :D


Yep, sorry for instigating the derailment. It was a remark that probably wasn't needed and which I know way too less about (as you've shown).

So yeah let's get back to discussing prisons.

PS: The shooting related to the Bushmaster that I referenced is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby davidstarlingm » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:24 pm UTC

johnie104 wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:
oxoiron wrote:This firearm discussion has veered w-a-a-a-y off-topic. If you'd like to continue it, please PM me or let's find/start another thread.

Sorry for the derailment. I just had to take exception to the earlier claim that a lightweight semiautomatic rifle is a "fucking machinegun". :D


Yep, sorry for instigating the derailment. It was a remark that probably wasn't needed and which I know way too less about (as you've shown).

So yeah let's get back to discussing prisons.

PS: The shooting related to the Bushmaster that I referenced is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Gotcha. And sorry if I went too ballistic (no pun intended) in my exception-taking.

The thing about Sandy Hook is that the weapon used really made no difference. An elementary school classroom is pretty much equally endangered whether the shooter uses a pair of pistols, a shotgun, an AR-15, or even an actual machine gun.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby addams » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:42 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
johnie104 wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:
oxoiron wrote:This firearm discussion has veered w-a-a-a-y off-topic. If you'd like to continue it, please PM me or let's find/start another thread.

Sorry for the derailment. I just had to take exception to the earlier claim that a lightweight semiautomatic rifle is a "fucking machinegun". :D


Yep, sorry for instigating the derailment. It was a remark that probably wasn't needed and which I know way too less about (as you've shown).

So yeah let's get back to discussing prisons.

PS: The shooting related to the Bushmaster that I referenced is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Gotcha. And sorry if I went too ballistic (no pun intended) in my exception-taking.

The thing about Sandy Hook is that the weapon used really made no difference. An elementary school classroom is pretty much equally endangered whether the shooter uses a pair of pistols, a shotgun, an AR-15, or even an actual machine gun.

What??!
Are you two planing a crime??
Picking out your guns??

Have you chosen your prison? That might be a good step in your planing process.
What US prision is the Best for the Inmates? What US prision is the Worse?

What Prison do you want to go to? How do you get into that one?
Is it a matter of what crime you commit? Or; Is it a matter of where you commit your crime?

What one do you want to go to? They each and everyone have a name or a number.
Pick your prison, first. Then you can finish up the details of your crime.

Did you not live with the Old Addage:
If You Don't Know Where You Are Going; You Will Probably End Up, SomeWhere Else.

Well? You seem to be experts in how to commit the crime.
What would be useful to you and to the Thread is for you to pick your Prison.

Let me know. Who runs the Big Ones?
Have you ever heard of Pelican Bay? (scary music)
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Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Private Prisons against crime

Postby johnie104 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:48 pm UTC

addams wrote:What??!
Are you two planing a crime??
Picking out your guns??

Have you chosen your prison? That might be a good step in your planing process.
What US prision is the Best for the Inmates? What US prision is the Worse?

What Prison do you want to go to? How do you get into that one?
Is it a matter of what crime you commit? Or; Is it a matter of where you commit your crime?

What one do you want to go to? They each and everyone have a name or a number.
Pick your prison, first. Then you can finish up the details of your crime.

Did you not live with the Old Addage:
If You Don't Know Where You Are Going; You Will Probably End Up, SomeWhere Else.

Well? You seem to be experts in how to commit the crime.
What would be useful to you and to the Thread is for you to pick your Prison.

Let me know. Who runs the Big Ones?
Have you ever heard of Pelican Bay? (scary music)


I really don't know wether you're serious or not. Anyway, if I would have to pick a prison I would want to go to Norway. You know, so I'm treated like a human being, instead of something that is only hurting society and it would be better for everyone if you were simply dead.
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