17 September 05

CO3 Roberts

Earlier this year Zen suggested that I should seek viewpoints about the prison system from ADOC staff. When I was recently escorted to the CIP building, I quizzed CO3 Roberts in the following manner:

“What do you think about America having the highest incarceration rate in the world?”
“Its terrible. More people should be on house arrest.”
“Do you think an emphasis on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment would be a better approach?”
“To rehabilitate people we’d need meaningful programs. Programs cost money. Society wants its prisoners out of the way at least cost possible. The system we have now is designed to shock prisoners into not wanting to do crimes. Although we have had some directors who’ve discussed it, there is no meaningful rehabilitation.”
“What’s the recidivism rate?”
“I think its over seventy percent.”
“For the State of Arizona?”
“Yes. What’s happening is, for a lot of prisoners, this becomes all they know. They have little or no education, and the code they use in prison doesn’t work in the outside world. When someone’s been down for ten or fifteen years, he’s institutionalised and unable to function in society at all. Especially the old gangsters - they just come right back. Outside they’re nobodies, but in here they’re somebodies.”
“So you’re saying they form identities while in prison?”
“Yes.”
“Europeans are flabbergasted by the size of the US prison population. The world hasn’t seen mass incarceration like this since Stalin’s gulags.”
“Drugs and gangs are a big impetus.”
“Is the rate of mass incarceration sustainable?”
“No. People who are in prison who could be at home and employed, and contributing to society, these people should be released and closely supervised. They shouldn’t be locked up.”
“There were seven-hundred-thousand people arrested for marijuana offenses last year, don’t you think that’s obscene?”
“It depends, a person with three hundred pounds of marijuana is different from a personal user.”
“Nine out of ten of them were arrested for petty possession. The Supreme Court has ruled against the use of medical marijuana, enabling the police to raid the clinics.”
“I did notice that ruling.”
“It seems that people are being rounded up to fill all of the prisons they’re building.”
“Yes. They’re building one right down the street. A federal prison which should be open soon.”

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool blog man – keep yourself safe
Cheers
Gareth

Ynot said...

Joe A came into the pub last night, God he looks old and frail, and we had an interesting conversation about his visit to England, the BBC interview, British sarcasm, my voting record and your two year stay in his house of pain.

While I was happily enjoying our discourse, and Joe's voice was starting to attract the attention of people around us by slowly rising in volume, his aide (whose name I forget right now) was virtually tugging his arm to get him out of there.

The outcome of our little tête à tête was that Joe appreciated my honesty and candor about the failings of his office's fiscal responsibility, was a little upset that I, as a Republican, would rather vote for a deer tick than him in any election, agreed that he was a victim of his own press, was astounded that I gave him the bill for his meal with an 18% grat added with a straight face and could quite understand your, and your parent's, anymosity towards him.

All-in-all I came to the conclusion that the man's not all there.