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The Solution Isn't Kindler, Gentler Prison


The Solution Isn't Kindler, Gentler Prison

Laura Flanders

What got a person locked up – no matter what - in 1790? Piracy. Period. At the birth of the republic mandatory minimum sentences were a rare and targeted thing. Attacking and robbing ships at sea got you life, no ifs, ands or buts.

What gets you a mandatory minimum sentence today? Any one of 261 different crimes.


At the root of the problem is the profit motive in the "corrections" process. Once the privatization ball got rolling first through outsourcing services such as meals and medical care, the privateers pressured the politicians to create more demand and the politicians complied. Now that many states have prisons that are completely private, the political stress is even greater, usually with guarantees of high occupancy rates. The correction process needs to be recaptured by the public and reoriented to rehabilitation and minimization of recidivism.


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Here In Canada our own Stephen Harper tried to expand on our own mandatory sentencing laws as he was a big fan of the US model. Quebec resisted strongly and a number of Provinces lukewarm to the idea so it did not go to far.

The big kicker was a Supreme Court decision that ruled the laws put in place by Harper as violations of the Charter of Rights and freedoms. Indeed Harper and his Conservatives lost a number of cases over laws they enacted at the level of the Supreme Court. What this suggests to me is the issue in the USA is much broader then the corruption of the Democrats and the Republicans. It at the level of the SCOTUS itself. That body has been completely compromised.


Actually, piracy got people executed.


What happens when words no longer carry their intended meanings?

We are living in an era where food may say things like "all natural" on its label, but prove anything BUT natural.

Media marches lockstep in a fashion all to reminiscent of Hitler's Third Reich to produce and repeat narratives that are 180-degrees removed from the actual TRUTH of events.

So when a phrase like this is used, one must ask--what has Liberal come to mean? Could it be that those who use this title have purposely DESTROYED the term's intended meaning?

When I was a kid, it was liberals who were anti-war, and liberals who supported Civil Rights and Women's Rights, and liberals who championed the environment. Liberals did not advocate FOR capital punishment or the MIC or war or the destruction of the natural world.

Michael Moore pointed out that Clinton was the nation's best REPUBLICAN president. In other words, policies that were typical to the right side of the political spectrum were those he enacted. To then call him a Liberal, and by his deceits taint "the entire brand" is to accept the propagandized distortions done unto language in order to produce a paralyzing form of cognitive dissonance.

“The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties… 100,000 cops. The liberal wing of the Democratic party is for 124,000 new state prison cells.”

Just as both political parties now serve the MIC, big banks, big polluters, and big energy... almost exclusively, with both appearing to champion everything from war to the destruction of the biosphere; how can the original premise of the Liberal--one who sought to make life more beneficial to more persons--still apply?

My point is that language has been purposely poisoned, or at minimum, adulterated to such a drastic extent that words apply to illusions; formerly distinct teams, they have been fully divested of meaning.

Very little in the political or public sphere (that is, when it's controlled by elites) is real, honest, natural, or what it purports to be.

I mean... take the "War on terror" which itself consists of nothing more than spreading terror... and then consider how those with power have long understood the "power of the pen or press," and therefore have adulterated language. Universally understood meanings for words have been purposely rendered as difficult to understand as are today's faux food labels.

Rule by graft, coercion, corruption, nepotism, military might, financial pressure, and the Grand Bamboozle. What a menu! Just label it all "liberal" like those "natural" food labels.


The contradictions in your various comments are puzzling, and I don't have the time to analyze them bit by bit.

However, to make broad characterizations about so-called "Anglo thinking" without once mentioning the preponderant power of the WASP ethic, and Protestantism (particularly Calvinism), in general is to pose a very threadbare argument.

I never read John Stuart Mill's take, but MANY times I have referenced the perspective of South American shaman and one of their spokespersons, Dr. Alberto Villodo in his explaining that the Judeo-Christian Biblical story of Creation is the ONLY one (from around the world) that tosses the lovers OUT of the garden to thereby set up an antithetical relationship between human beings and nature.

I have also often mentioned the findings of Wilhelm Reich as to why it was that so many Germans went along with so brutal a patriarchal father figure--as in Hitler. And his conclusion had a lot to do with repressed sexuality (and other natural urges), and the church-state's capacity to manage citizens' behavior through emphasizing sin AS carnal desire.

Matthew Fox's replacing Original Sin with Original Blessing had him excommunicated.

People don't come by their predilections and peculiarities in a vacuum. And to use the frame of nation (Anglo) without any religious or historical backstory provides for a very narrow and in my view, superficial analysis.

Oh, and there's no such word:

"in an essentialistically prudish culture..." You probably meant essentially.

You and Wiseowl seem to have a penchant for making up long words in an attempt to come off as glib. Luckily, an English teacher happens to be standing by. George Carlin was hip to the ways that big words could bamboozle... since illiterate persons wouldn't know them from an elbow.

I can't recall the person who coined the phrase that Next Gingrich was a stupid person's version of a smart man... but it gives life to how these hybridized terms are meant to come off.


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You confuse what males assign as philosophy to the great scope of things. Anyone who'd suggest that I "suffer from materiality" is inane or an idiot, or both. I have had more mystical experiences in a year than you likely have had in a lifetime.

Reich was hardly a quack. His penetrating insights shook the establishment founded on the control of populations' behaviors via the premise of SEX as sin. Like Rajneesh, who arrived at a similar conclusion from a completely different spiritual/cultural/ethnical background, he was essentially rendered persona non gratis and further harmed.

The witness of males--exclusively--and what they have generated in terms of worldview--ranging from science, to religion, to philosophy, to economics--are all predicated so intently upon left brain rationality dicta that they cannot see past their own rigid, asymmetric paradigm.

You remind me of some guy (I can't recall his name) who posted similar comments. He also had a background--or so he said--in clinical psychology, lived in Canada, and his comments were suffused in sexism.

You list your sources. I have mine.

Essentialistically is not in any dictionary, nor was the word conceived of by Wise owl.


Calling neoliberals "liberals" is like calling conservationists "conservatives", their opposites.