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Thread: Abolish Prisons & Replace With....?

  1. #1

    Abolish Prisons & Replace With....?

    Many people (myself included) are highly critical of imprisonment as a punishment. It's expensive, it transforms petty criminals into serious criminals, it encourages the growth of organized crime, and it's simultaneously too lenient for some convicts and inhumane for others. If you share that view, what do you think should replace imprisonment?

    The normal libertarian position (which is also my own) is that restitution should be the basis for punishment: i.e. the criminal ought to be forced to make the victim whole through financial compensation, with an additional premium for deterrence (e.g. Rothbard's "two teeth for a tooth" formula, where the first "tooth" makes the victim whole and the second provides deterrence). Restitution ensures that crime is not profitable (for those criminals who get caught, anyway).

    However, not all crimes are motivated by profit. There are people who enjoy crime (esp. violent crime) for its own sake: from guys who like to start bar fights to serial killers. On a Rothbardian restitution model, these people would only have to pay monetary compensation, such that, if they had enough money, they could effectively buy the right to commit violent crimes. If you think that's a problem, as I do, then there must be some other deterrent, such as some form of corporal punishment (but not imprisonment). I think Singapore's solution (public whipping) is a sensible one for violent crimes which fall short of warranting the death penalty.

    I'll stop there, as I'd like to hear your thoughts.



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  3. #2
    Personally, I have no problems with prisons. My problem is more with why people get sent there.

    Ideally, there would be a wide range of prisons and other punishments that a judge or jury could choose from so that the punishment could be individualized for the crime and the person committing it. As always, one size solutions never fit all. Do I have faith that a judge or jury would select the appropriate punishment for an individual? No. But someone's got to do it and it shouldn't be the perpetrator nor the victim.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  4. #3

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Personally, I have no problems with prisons. My problem is more with why people get sent there.

    Ideally, there would be a wide range of prisons and other punishments that a judge or jury could choose from so that the punishment could be individualized for the crime and the person committing it. As always, one size solutions never fit all. Do I have faith that a judge or jury would select the appropriate punishment for an individual? No. But someone's got to do it and it shouldn't be the perpetrator nor the victim.
    My thoughts exactly.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    Personally, I have no problems with prisons. My problem is more with why people get sent there.

    Ideally, there would be a wide range of prisons and other punishments that a judge or jury could choose from so that the punishment could be individualized for the crime and the person committing it. As always, one size solutions never fit all. Do I have faith that a judge or jury would select the appropriate punishment for an individual? No. But someone's got to do it and it shouldn't be the perpetrator nor the victim.
    Pretty much this^^The only people who belong in prison are those who are too dangerous to be allowed out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  7. #6
    @CaptUSA @Swordsmyth

    The current prison system doesn't bother you? The billions of taxpayer dollars spent incubating street gangs?

    To make it apropos, I think MS-13 would run home if they found themselves publicly whipped and/or hanged.

    ...contra living in prisons which they effectively own.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    @CaptUSA @Swordsmyth

    The current prison system doesn't bother you? The billions of taxpayer dollars spent incubating street gangs?
    It does, read what Capt said, SOME people need incarceration, some should spend less time some should spend more, some should only spend time in JAIL not PRISON, too many that are locked up shouldn't be, some shouldn't be punished at all others should be punished some other way.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    It does, read what Capt said, SOME people need incarceration, some should spend less time some should spend more, some should only spend time in JAIL not PRISON, too many that are locked up shouldn't be, some shouldn't be punished at all others should be punished some other way.
    Please elaborate

    ...that being the topic of the thread.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    @CaptUSA @Swordsmyth

    The current prison system doesn't bother you? The billions of taxpayer dollars spent incubating street gangs?
    It bothers me greatly. Bob steals Sally's $5,000 car and wrecks it, may pay owner back or may not actually, probably can't. Bob gets locked up for 5 years. Neighbor Joe, Larry, Jim, and even Sally are all forced to pitch in 20-60K per year to subsidize Bob's break from society. Who suffers? Everybody, actually. Sally potentially suffers because Bob is in prison instead of paying for a new car, plus she's paying for his prison time. Joe, Larry, and Jim would never have been affected by the theft, but are roped into pitching in to pay for Bob's cell, guard, and food. Actually Bob is the only one who might not suffer, he might enjoy prison, there are guys who have. Or he might get a terrible disease and cost Larry, Joe, Jim, and Sally even more with his medical bills.

    Seems to me the only logical and just thing would be for Bob to pay Sally over $5,000, maybe $10,000 for her car and trouble and leave the rest of society out of it if at all possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    It bothers me greatly. Bob steals Sally's $5,000 car and wrecks it, may pay owner back or may not actually, probably can't. Bob gets locked up for 5 years. Neighbor Joe, Larry, Jim, and even Sally are all forced to pitch in 20-60K per year to subsidize Bob's break from society. Who suffers? Everybody, actually. Sally potentially suffers because Bob is in prison instead of paying for a new car, plus she's paying for his prison time. Joe, Larry, and Jim would never have been affected by the theft, but are roped into pitching in to pay for Bob's cell, guard, and food. Actually Bob is the only one who might not suffer, he might enjoy prison, there are guys who have. Or he might get a terrible disease and cost Larry, Joe, Jim, and Sally even more with his medical bills.

    Seems to me the only logical and just thing would be for Bob to pay Sally over $5,000, maybe $10,000 for her car and trouble and leave the rest of society out of it if at all possible.
    Yes, for property crimes, restitution is appropriate.

    And for those who lack the funds to pay restitution (of which there would be many), debt slavery would suffice.

    But violent crime?

    Bill Gates gets bored. He walks down the street chopping off people's arms with a samurai sword.

    He only pays compensation..?

    No, he should be thrashed in public.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Many people (myself included) are highly critical of imprisonment as a punishment. It's expensive, it transforms petty criminals into serious criminals, it encourages the growth of organized crime, and it's simultaneously too lenient for some convicts and inhumane for others. If you share that view, what do you think should replace imprisonment?
    Generally restitution.
    The normal libertarian position (which is also my own) is that restitution should be the basis for punishment: i.e. the criminal ought to be forced to make the victim whole through financial compensation, with an additional premium for deterrence (e.g. Rothbard's "two teeth for a tooth" formula, where the first "tooth" makes the victim whole and the second provides deterrence). Restitution ensures that crime is not profitable (for those criminals who get caught, anyway).
    Yep.

    However, not all crimes are motivated by profit.
    Correct.

    There are people who enjoy crime (esp. violent crime) for its own sake: from guys who like to start bar fights to serial killers.
    Yeah, but the two types of guys you mention are pretty different cases. If you break someone's bone in a fight and it was not self defense I think you should pay for his medical bills and time and then some. Serial killers should not be allowed in society, seems to me if you take 5 innocent lives you have signed away your own.
    On a Rothbardian restitution model, these people would only have to pay monetary compensation, such that, if they had enough money, they could effectively buy the right to commit violent crimes.
    Exactly my problem with it. Some of these free market guys suggest turning violent crime into essentially a government controlled market. Baffling to me. You can't pay enough money to get away with murder or rape of someone's loved one, no way. The only other at all serious solution is chaining them up for life. But that again is subsidized by innocent people as they wait for the scumbag to die a normal death. And of course you need lots of taxes and government to provide that punishment but I guess that's what most people here are for.


    If you think that's a problem, as I do, then there must be some other deterrent, such as some form of corporal punishment (but not imprisonment). I think Singapore's solution (public whipping) is a sensible one for violent crimes which fall short of warranting the death penalty.

    I'll stop there, as I'd like to hear your thoughts.
    I don't know. I can't think of any particular crime myself where restitution or some form of losing your life, whether through life imprisonment or death isn't the more obvious solution. I just didn't see how whipping would be better than restitution for the bar fight thing, and I'm not sure how effective it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    Exactly my problem with it. Some of these free market guys suggest turning violent crime into essentially a government controlled market. Baffling to me. You can't pay enough money to get away with murder or rape of someone's loved one, no way. The only other at all serious solution is chaining them up for life. But that again is subsidized by innocent people as they wait for the scumbag to die a normal death. And of course you need lots of taxes and government to provide that punishment but I guess that's what most people here are for.
    Not I..

    I don't know. I can't think of any particular crime myself where restitution or some form of losing your life, whether through life imprisonment or death isn't the more obvious solution. I just didn't see how whipping would be better than restitution for the bar fight thing, and I'm not sure how effective it is.
    Whipping is the better solution because it doesn't victimize the taxpayer (one professional whipper is much cheaper than a prison).

    ...and this doesn't turn modest criminals into serious ones, and doesn't encourage organized crime, and is fundamentally more just.

    While we're on the topic. Murderers, rapists, and kidnappers should simply be executed - by public hanging - so that solves that problem.

    So, the flogging would only be for the other, relatively less serious violent criminals.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Not I..
    I feel we are in the minority on this. Even the more AnCap type people here seem to oppose capital punishment but not have a problem with prison as a theory.

    Whipping is the better solution because it doesn't victimize the taxpayer (one professional whipper is much cheaper than a prison).

    ...and this doesn't turn modest criminals into serious ones, and doesn't encourage organized crime, and is fundamentally more just.
    I understand that part of your point but I still don't see where it's place is. Guy starts bar fight, breaks other guy's shoulder. Are you saying he is whipped instead of compensating the guy? or in addition to or what? Is it a deterrent? I just don't know whether it would accomplish anything or not, it might but I'm not sure.

    While we're on the topic. Murderers, rapists, and kidnappers should simply be executed - by public hanging - so that solves that problem.
    I don't have a problem with that.

    So, the flogging would only be for the other, relatively less serious violent criminals.
    OK but can you give a list of specific crimes where you think it is the best single or additional punishment and what you think it would accomplish?
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    I feel we are in the minority on this. Even the more AnCap type people here seem to oppose capital punishment but not have a problem with prison as a theory.
    Some thoughts are less well developed than others.

    ...(timosmanface)

    I understand that part of your point but I still don't see where it's place is. Guy starts bar fight, breaks other guy's shoulder. Are you saying he is whipped instead of compensating the guy? or in addition to or what? Is it a deterrent? I just don't know whether it would accomplish anything or not, it might but I'm not sure.
    Guy starts bar fight - first he makes his victim whole (e.g. medical bills, lost work, etc), then he gets whipped in public.

    I don't have a problem with that.
    Good

    OK but can you give a list of specific crimes where you think it is the best single or additional punishment and what you think it would accomplish?
    The penalty for all property crimes should be straight double indemnity (Rothbardian) restitution.

    Murder, rape, and kidnapping should be capital offenses.

    Other violent crimes should be handled with a clear schedule of whippings:

    e.g.
    punch, otherwise harmless = 1 lashing
    break a jaw = 20 lashings
    etc

    And, yes, the corporal punishment for violent crimes should be in addition to compensation.

    ...and if they haven't the funds to pay, they go to a work farm.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    Yeah, but the two types of guys you mention are pretty different cases. If you break someone's bone in a fight and it was not self defense I think you should pay for his medical bills and time and then some. Serial killers should not be allowed in society, seems to me if you take 5 innocent lives you have signed away your own.
    Exactly my problem with it. Some of these free market guys suggest turning violent crime into essentially a government controlled market. Baffling to me. You can't pay enough money to get away with murder or rape of someone's loved one, no way. The only other at all serious solution is chaining them up for life. But that again is subsidized by innocent people as they wait for the scumbag to die a normal death. And of course you need lots of taxes and government to provide that punishment but I guess that's what most people here are for.
    A rational legal theory includes amethod for determining if a person is actually unsafe to roam free.Current legal theory doesn't. Anarchists (mostly anarcho capitalists) are, AFAIK, the only oneswho even try to deal with this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    I feel we are in the minority on this. Even the more AnCap type people here seem to oppose capital punishment but not have a problem with prison as a theory.

    I understand that part of your point but I still don't see where it's place is. Guy starts bar fight, breaks other guy's shoulder. Are you saying he is whipped instead of compensating the guy? or in addition to or what? Is it a deterrent? I just don't know whether it would accomplish anything or not, it might but I'm not sure.

    I don't have a problem with that.


    OK but can you give a list of specific crimes where you think it is the best single or additional punishment and what you think it would accomplish?
    I seem to recall you're aConstitutionalist, yes? You're supposed to oppose “cruel and unusualpunishment”-which hanging is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    I seem to recall you're aConstitutionalist, yes? You're supposed to oppose “cruel and unusualpunishment”-which hanging is.
    Wrong, my heavenly friend.

    Hanging was the method of execution in the 18th century. It's also instantaneous if done properly.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    A rational legal theory includes amethod for determining if a person is actually unsafe to roam free.Current legal theory doesn't. Anarchists (mostly anarcho capitalists) are, AFAIK, the only oneswho even try to deal with this.
    I don't understand who pays for the prisons without a tax, and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I advocate for taxation I just don't see how prisons would be funded in anarchy. I think prisons are the most useless punishment and a burden on all moral people. But if you rule out capital punishment I guess prisons are pretty much all that's left for serious crimes.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    I seem to recall you're aConstitutionalist, yes? You're supposed to oppose “cruel and unusualpunishment”-which hanging is.
    I believe returning to the Constitution would be a good course for our elected officials. I wouldn't excuse them for implementing something I thought violated the constitution, but I don't think hanging is cruel and unusual and I'm not aware of the authors of the constitution opposing it. I imagine you consider any execution cruel and unusual?

    But fwiw I'm not even advocating hanging. R3v brought it up as an option and I didn't object. That's all.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  23. #20
    Unless one is opposed to capital punishment altogether, what are the options?

    Lethal injection, the gas chamber, and the electric chair; the latter two, at least, are extremely inhumane.

    All are extremely expensive.

    There's the guillotine, but I oppose this on principle; after the bolsheviks were polished off, no one should ever die that way again.

    Firing squad? No, similarly it smacks of Stalinist murder.

    Hanging is the traditional English method; in public: in the neighborhood where he committed his crime.

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    I seem to recall you're aConstitutionalist, yes? You're supposed to oppose “cruel and unusualpunishment”-which hanging is.
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Wrong, my heavenly friend.

    Hanging was the method of execution in the 18th century. It's also instantaneous if done properly.
    I prefer the firing squad.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I prefer the firing squad.
    a. It smacks of Franco or Hitler or Stalin (i.e. not justice)

    b. Rope is cheaper

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    a. It smacks of Franco or Hitler or Stalin (i.e. not justice)
    I don't care about "Image", if used by a liberty oriented society it would soon lose any connection to tyranny.

    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    b. Rope is cheaper
    Ammo is cheap enough.

    Hanging has too much that can go wrong, too many victims were strangled or snapped in two or merely brain damaged.

    P.S. I disagree with the sissy firing squads where most of the guns are loaded with blanks.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I don't care about "Image", if used by a liberty oriented society it would soon lose any connection to tyranny.

    Ammo is cheap enough.

    Hanging has too much that can go wrong, too many victims were strangled or snapped in two or merely brain damaged.

    P.S. I disagree with the sissy firing squads where most of the guns are loaded with blanks.
    Well, as a practical matter it doesn't make that much of a difference; hangings went wrong were a result of inept hangmen.

    But symbolism is important. Every communist butcher of the last, bloody century lined people up in a row and shot them.

    I couldn't approve of that, under any circumstances.



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Well, as a practical matter it doesn't make that much of a difference; hangings went wrong were a result of inept hangmen.

    But symbolism is important. Every communist butcher of the last, bloody century lined people up in a row and shot them.

    I couldn't approve of that, under any circumstances.
    So we don't line people up in a row for mass executions, we execute one murder/rapist/etc. at a time after due process.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Well, as a practical matter it doesn't make that much of a difference; hangings went wrong were a result of inept hangmen.

    But symbolism is important. Every communist butcher of the last, bloody century lined people up in a row and shot them.

    I couldn't approve of that.
    There have been plenty of atrocities involving hanging as well.....
    I'm not a fan of any particular method. Taking life isn't pleasant.
    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    It's a balance between appeasing his supporters, appeasing the deep state and reaching his own goals.
    ~Resident Badgiraffe




  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    So we don't line people up in a row for mass executions, we execute one murder/rapist/etc. at a time after due process.
    People convicted of conspiring to perpetrate bolshevik atrocities, in a pinch, fine. Do anything at all to them.

    Normal criminals, no.

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    There have been plenty of atrocities involving hanging as well.....
    I'm not a fan of any particular method. Taking life isn't pleasant.
    No it is not, but it can be necessary, and the firing squad is the best way.

    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    People convicted of conspiring to perpetrate bolshevik atrocities, in a pinch, fine. Do anything at all to them.

    Normal criminals, no.
    I really don't know what to say, you are letting your heart get in the way of your head, and this is not a subject where that is even remotely beneficial.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by William Tell View Post
    There have been plenty of atrocities involving hanging as well.....
    I'm not a fan of any particular method. Taking life isn't pleasant.
    That's true. But, at the same time, the ancap fingers in ears approach doesn't help.

    It should be discussed honestly, for those of us who think it's necessary.

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I really don't know what to say, you are letting your heart get in the way of your head, and this is not a subject where that is even remotely beneficial.
    No, my head's position is pretty clear: hanging for all murders, rapists, and kidnappers.

    If, in a pinch, one must execute some bolsheviks on the spot, by your preferred method, well okay.

    That does not apply to genuine soldiers in an honest war: the distinction I was making.

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