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.
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.