1. Travis Perry says:

    I’ve read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch. It’s instructional to realize that during Stalin’s time, a large percentage of Evangelical Christians in the Soviet Union were incarcerated basically for “just because” reasons. (The USSR had around two million Baptists at the time, who were the primary targets for the anti-evangelical persecution at that time.) Yeah, one thing history as a subject does show that if something has happened once, it can happen again.

    Good for you for volunteering at the local jail, by the way. Prisoners could use help (I visited a juvenile detention center for a number of years).

    So how is your local county jail different from what you would have expected it to be?

    • Mark Carver says:

      I suppose I had expected it to be more tense, like anyone could get shanked at any moment. The truth is, it feels more like a hospital than anything. A bunch of meek and despondent people shuffling here or there. Most of the people I interact with are low-level offenders, though I do meet with some guys houses in the pods for violent criminals, but I don’t feel any danger at all. We laugh and joke and talk about TV shows and books like we are at a barbecue. I never forget that I’m inside a jail but it doesn’t feel like it’s portrayed on TV, though I would imagine that prison would be a bit different (or perhaps not).

  2. notleia says:

    IIRC, America has more people in prison than even Russia or China, the supposed totalitarian police states. Y’all we ARE the dystopia in some respects.
    There’s an interesting discussion to be had about the purpose of imprisonment. Is it for punishment, or is it for rehabilitation? America as a culture pretty firmly believes in the punishment end of the scale. And it’s a broken system. Europe has developed a more rehabilitative approach and sees recidivism rates drop noticeably, whereas the American system is more like a revolving door.
    Not to mention we use prison as a substitute for the mental health care infrastructure we don’t have. [[[Your periodic subliminal message about M4A]]]

    • Well, people like Mark and Travis seem to have been involved in the rehabilitation end. I have a cousin that is involved in prison ministry too. And I think prisons should be for rehabilitation AND containment(like, if someone has committed dangerous crimes over and over, they need to stay in jail until they’re proven not to be a threat.)

      But dystopia isn’t just a matter of numbers. If one nation jails people primarily because they dared to speak negatively of the government or something, that government is probably a lot worse than one that primarily jails people for theft, rape and murder. Russia also has a much smaller population, so although prison numbers aren’t a direct correlation to nation population, it is a factor. It isn’t surprising to hear that Russia has less prisoners than us. But if a much more populous nation has less prisoners, that could be a bad sign in SOME cases. Like, maybe people are too afraid to do anything because their government is so extreme.

      I’m definitely not saying America is perfect or better in every way. And we definitely have a lot to fix, both in and out of our prisons. I’m just saying that prison population isn’t the sole determinant of which government is better, and even if America puts an emphasis on punishment, there are still lots of people in it that want to rehabilitate prisoners in a positive way.

      Rehabilitation is NORMALLY desirable in a good society, though in a tyrannical one it could have a horrible connotation of arresting anyone that doesn’t have the mindset and behaviors the government wants and using jail to ‘reeducate’ them.

      • notleia says:

        IIRC, we have the edge for sheer numbers and also percentage of total population.

        Poverty is criminalized here in a lot of ways. Certain parties want to deal with the homeless by putting them in camps.
        More poor people get jailed for crimes the richer skate on, like weed use.

    • Are you counting the Uyghurs in those numbers?

      • notleia says:

        Welp, the stats I looked at were before we started detaining Guatemalans, too, so we still probably have the edge.

What do you think?