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Monday, April 04, 2016

ANOTHER TYPE OF PRISON

In the good ol' USA,  we believe in second chances. Except when it comes to crime and punishment. Then it's lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key.  With  5% of the world's population, the US has 25% of the world's prisoners. We spend 80 BILLION dollars a year on incarcerating prisoners in the US. 

Germany does it differently, as was detailed on Sunday night's 60 Minutes episode.  You can view it and the web story here. 

In Germany, prison isn't meant to punish, it's designed to mirror normal life as much as possible. Among the privileges enjoyed by German prisoners: immaculate facilities, organized sports, video games and keys to their own cells. Inmates can wear street clothes and can freely decorate their own cells -- keeping all sorts of household objects that American prison guards might consider dangerous. Prisoners who demonstrate good behavior can even leave prison for work or weekend getaways. Average Americans may balk at this level of freedom for convicted criminals, but prisons in Germany cost less and produce far fewer repeat offenders than U.S. prisons. 
...


In Germany, 75 percent of prisoners sentenced to life are paroled after 20 years or less, even Bernd Junge, a contract killer who shot a woman to death. Should Junge, who Whitaker meets on an unsupervised weekend furlough, be offered a future? "Yes, he should," says Joerg Jesse, a psychologist and the director of prisons in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Jesse says German inmates deserve rehabilitation, not retribution, during their prison stays.
The real goal is re-integration into society, train them to find a different way to handle their situation outside, life without further crimes, life without creating new victims," says Jesse. "We cannot see the sense in just locking people up for their whole life. Your prisons will fill up and you'll have to build new prisons and so on and I think that was the situation in the U.S.

Germany spend less than the US per capita on it's prisoners and the recidivism rate is 50% less than the US. 
So Germany does it better and cheaper. And the main difference is that Germany believes the primary goal of prison is NOT punishment, but rehabilitation.  And that lack of "red meat" punishment can't make Bible-worshiping Republicans happy. After all, the bible says nothing about forgiveness and the goodness of people, right? 

See You In Court. 




11 comments:

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...

Watched the story on 60 Minutes. Real eye opener. Chances of it happening in Florida are about the same as Obama getting elected to a third term. That as Florida now has over 100,000 inmates in State prison alone. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Germany prisons sound nicer than the projects, make these beautiful prisons here and crime will sky rocket so people can get in

Anonymous said...

I'd be fine with a complete overhaul of our prison system, wherein the vast majority of those convicted of certain crimes never get locked in cages, and instead are treated for addiction, impulse control, mental health issues, deficient education, vocational training, etc.... SO LONG AS some other categories convicted defendants could be summarily executed swiftly and publicly the week after conviction.

No one benefits from 30 or 50 years in state prison. Rehabilitate the person humanely or, if this is not possible given the egregious nature of the offense -- firing squad.

Anonymous said...

America's bloodlust for treating people poorly will not succumb to German (or generally any European nations) ideals. Plus, if we reduce our prison population what will we be #1 in?

Claude Erskine- Browne said...

Saw on this morning's news that FLA DOC has put out a press release announcing 4500 new positions as prison guards

Juniper said...

Rumpole, you are off base with your "bible worshiping Republicans line." I understand you live in the lovely and conservative State of Florida where gators and Republicans are allowed to roam free and perhaps, run for public office. I can assure you that in the very bluest of blue states, California, prisons are no better and some of them are worse i.e, we have Pelican Bay. The truth is that "tough on crime" and lack of funding for rehabilitation are by and large non-partisan issues because for just about every politician red, blue, or green they are easy fodder. Democrats have had a majority in our state legislature it seems like forever and have been largely uninterested in making changes. If you actually read (or watch)the Rumpole of the Bailey series, I suggest you look at "Rumpole and the Reform of Joby Johnson." The government official's remarks about the state of prisons are analgous to current conditions. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

William Coday got one of those German "prison cells" and after they released him he came here and murdered my friend.

http://florida-issues.blogspot.com/2008/05/killer-bleeds-to-death-on-death-row.html?m=1

Not JAFI much longer said...

Would we be willing to do what it would take to hammer our culture into that of Germany?

Anonymous said...

Gemany's model will never work here. We have too many thugs and gangbangers. Our class of criminals is the lowest in the world.

Anonymous said...

Private prison contracts call for 90% occupancy rates, hence, minimum mandatory sentences and prison-for-everyone systemic attitudes.

Anonymous said...

The primary purpose of incarceration/sentencing in most (all?) states is punishment--not rehabilitation. With the touchy exception of drug crimes, people choose to do bad things and should be punished for them. Sentencing's primary purpose isn't a deterrent. It isn't to make people better. It is retribution for the wrong they have done to society and to their victims. If it turns out that, as a secondary objective, we can make unwell people better, great.