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Cole Parker

This shows anything is possible

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I notice a lot of the comment there are about the problems with 'for profit' prisons. Sadly, it is NOT just prisons, but anything that is 'for profit' which is and should be treated as a public service. That goes from prisons to safety enforcement for workers, safety regulations and enforcement of food and products to air traffic controllers, police to fire, not to mention medical and environmental. Each time the profit bottom line is in conflict with the public good there is a risk, an enormous risk, to the public.

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Yes, this is usually the crux of the debate here in Canada whenever our government decides to privatize or contract out to a private business any service that has, in the past, been done directly by a gov't agency.

The people who like the idea typically talk of "efficiency" and how allowing capitalism and the market to run these things will lower costs and waste.

The people against the idea talk about how focusing on profit inevitably completely removes all impetus for the company to actually provide the service contracted. And how it de-humanizes these services. Since these are, inevitably, public services for the good of humanity, this becomes a problem very quickly.

The issue is this: Free market and capitalism works quite well in many areas, especially where a company markets and sells a product directly to its customers. Unfortunately, this is not the case in these types of situations, since the user of the public service is not the customer. The money goes from the gov't to the company. So the seller is the company, and the buyer (customer) is the gov't. Thus, the product (what the gov't is buying, and what the company is selling for its money) becomes all of us. The public. The average person using these services. Thus, these people, not being part of the direct business relationship, have little to no say or influence on the service being provided, but rather become pawns as the two sides attempt to further commoditize their "product" (us) to make it easier to sell, package, and work with.

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Gee whillickers, Gee Whillickers, that's scary. I think you may well be right, but the other aspect of this is that corporations, particularly large ones, are effectively immortal beings with no humanity and therefore their goals are not the goals of you, me, or any other human being, and they are effectively immune to any damage they cause unless either the populace or government slaps them down for it. Any punishments or reparations are simply the cost of doing business and if that cost is lower than the cost of 'doing it right' things will just get worse.

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A perfect example of what you both are saying is evident in the instant case. Here, kids were exploited for profit. Everyone knows that kids that go into these types of facilities do not come out the same as they entered. They come out cynical, jaded, disillusioned, and no longer kids. They have effectively lost their childhood and their innocence.

In this case, it happened for money. I'm not sure how adults can be this evil. Maybe I'm still too innocent.

C

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Everyone knows that kids that go into these types of facilities do not come out the same as they entered. They come out cynical, jaded, disillusioned, and no longer kids. They have effectively lost their childhood and their innocence.

What's particularly enlightening is reading some of the interviews they've now done with some of the kids (many now adults) that this judge put away, often for such things as the horrific crime of being an unknowing lookout while a buddy shoplifted a candy bar from a 7-11.

Many of these kids, pretty much regular kids beforehand, after being released dropped out of school, started being involved in other criminal activity, and the whole usual road to destruction.

Amazingly, some of them have pulled out of this since then. A couple in particular stand out because the person interviewed talked about how difficult it was to put their life back together and become a functioning adult. Yet they didn't express anger at, or really even blame, the judge himself. They somehow came to some acceptance of what happened. I suppose that's part of the process though of putting their lives back together.

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Yet they didn't express anger at, or really even blame, the judge himself.

Stockholm Syndrome?

I don't think it is healthy to not blame the person who was to blame, although it is unhealthy and self-destructive to hate that person. What bugs me about this is that it is effectively, if not in law, human trafficking and nearly slavery. I think the punishment should be much more severe. For that matter, punishment is most severe for things like murder, when the destruction of a person's living life is actually much longer and more painful. It's not that I cannot understand that terminating a life is permanent, but I think that the system puts too little stock in the damage done psychologically (and physically) by other so-called lesser crimes.

The fact is, the perpetrator actually doesn't see his/her victim as being human at all, seeing them as pieces to be used to his/her own advantage, and the system doesn't actually treat the victims much better, with most of those involved in the legal process treating the victims in a totally cavalier way, also as pieces to be used to their own advantage, from income to votes.

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Isn't a prosecutor who tries to keep evidence of innocence from being heard just as bad; isn't he doing exactly the same thing? They claim they believe the guy on trial to be guilty, as if that would assuage their guilt at using draconian, unethical and suspect measures to get him convicted.

They get promoted if they get convictions, and overlooked for promotions is they lose cases, so they have an incentive to convict with no regard to actual guilt or innocence. I don't think that's a just system. As Trab says. The man on trial is a means to an end for the prosecutor, not a real person.

C

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I'm sure he knows now how it feels.

I doubt it very much. Whereas he knows he's guilty as charged and is being dealt a moderately equitable blow, the kids he sentenced only had the knowledge that they'd been screwed over by the judge and the system, with no idea of how long this parody of justice would continue. It is NOT the same at all.

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You're right, E.J. I thought this had been considered in the forum before. You're better at ferreting out past discussion than I am. However, I think this is something well worth digging up again, and discussing again. It's fundamental to our justice system. We all need to be aware of what can happen. We all need to be disgusted, one more time.

C

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BTW, I got dibs on the story idea contained in all of this. So there!

(Just kidding of course. Have at it, all of you talented people out there.)

Sorry Gee and the rest of you, but the story has been shown on TV. One of the more recent Law and Order TV shows that (according to our local newspaper TV columnist) was based on the allegations in Pennsylvania. In the show a female judge was colluding with (I think) her brother or brother-in-law who ran a detention facility to do what this judge in PA was doing. She got hers even though she claimed (like the judge in the PA case) that she hadn't done anything illegal.

A story based on this case written from the perspective of one of the incarcerated kids would be interesting. So guys, go for it!

Colin :icon_geek:

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