As anybody can clearly see, the prison system, and really the justice system on the whole, completely sucks in the United States. It manages to hit the horrific balance of being simultaneously too harsh (in terms of the bulk of prisoners being people who are in jail for non-violent offenses such as drug possession, giving America the highest incarceration rate in the world since the mid 1970s), and too lenient (in terms of prisons being breeding grounds for a thriving gang culture that has extended its tentacles well outside the walls of prison). Not to mention other little oddities like female prison guards being placed in men’s prisons, where the inevitable tends to happen – but you already know that.
Indeed, on the subject of “quirky miscarriages of justice”, it’s not entirely unheard of for homeless people to commit minor felonies with the express intent of getting thrown in prison for the winter, among other financial abuses of the justice system. It seems that whether prisons are state-funded or for profit, there’s something for everybody to hate about the prison system.
So what is to be done? Leftists will argue that America can totally just adopt a Scandinavian style prison where prisoners are basically treated like paying tenants at mid-level hotels. After all, we have enough money in America, and economics are literally the only thing that determines how a nation and its people function, right?
I don’t mean to sound, well, mean, but I don’t see that happening—ever. To be blunt-Scandinavian countries are (or rather, were) countries full of nice, well-behaved white people that could largely be socially shamed into becoming good productive citizens of a happy, ethnically and racially homogenous nation state.
I emphasize ethnic and racial homogeneity, as while too much homogeneity can be said to have its drawbacks (the devastation wrought upon pre-Columbian cultures via disease comes to mind), it does work wonders for social cohesion and forming “high trust societies”—simply put, a white prisoner is going to be much more trusting and cooperative towards a white guard than an authority and subordinate of two different races, and the same would go for any other race.
America is, of course, the most racially diverse nation on the planet, and it’s scarcely an exaggeration to say that the races in America are encouraged to be as tribal as possible, and this “rainbow coalition” is barely held together with hatred towards white men. And while I as an anthropologist would never refer to one group as being “superior” or “inferior” to another, it is a documented fact that different groups have different levels of time preference and theory of mind, and thus I would theorize that some groups may have difficulty in grasping concepts like “actions have consequences” or “social shaming”.
And I’ll be blunt again: The United States has a hell of a lot more of these “high time preference” people then Scandinavia does…or maybe not, as the fabled European prison systems are slowly starting to feel the pressure of increased Non-Asian Minority immigration and, er, “refugees”.
The point is, a Scandinavian soft prison would be a complete disaster in the United States. But clearly, the comparatively harsh style we use isn’t cutting it either—recidivism is quite high, and one could very convincingly argue that the prison gang culture is stimulated by the harshness of prison (inmates feel threatened and turn to those of their race for protection).
So, what is to be done?
I can practically hear your pearl-clutching, but hear me out: I truly feel that introducing flogging to the American justice system, and using flogging to replace prison/forced labor for non-violent crimes, would be a marked improvement to the system.
An example of how I would go about doing things—say you possessed drugs or shoplifted. These are two minor, non-violent crimes. In this case, 10 lashes in the town square would be performed on the offender, immediately after being caught, and…that would be it. No holding cell, no prison, no permanent record, just the eternal scars of your flogging. Naturally, it would have to be adjusted based on the degree of crime (I don’t think it’s unreasonable to posit that production and sale of drugs would require more lashes, to cite one very specific example). Repeat offenders could get more lashes or perhaps a heavier whip such as a cat-of-nine-tails. Canes are also an option. Violent offenders (or those otherwise deemed menaces to society, it’d have to be judged case by case) would of course be sent to prison.
If you really want to be humane about it, you could give those prisoners that are eligible for flogging an option in court. “You can take 50 lashes and get out of here today, or do 5 years in prison, with all the baggage that prison entails”. I’d take the whip, myself.
“But what about the 8th Amendment?” you might ask. And I too have a question to ask: Which punishment is more “Cruel and unusual”: Being locked in a cage full of the savage dregs of humanity who will taunt, beat, rape, and occasionally kill you, and assuming you make it out of prison you’ll have your sentence put on your permanent record, preventing you from getting a decent job and most likely you’ll end up back in prison again because your only option is crime? Or getting severely beaten over the course of a couple of hours, and then being sent home?
If nothing else I hope to “Start a conversation” on prison reform, as the leftists like to say…