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Date: 05/08/12 06:00 AM

52 Responses to Stephen Fry On The American Prison System

  1. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36866 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:50 am
    Link: Stephen Fry On The American Prison System - Congratulations, America--you have successfully reinvented the slave trade.
  2. Profile photo of tedgp
    tedgp Male 30-39
    3287 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 6:17 am
    Apart from the conspirarcy based youtube account, he is 100% correct.
  3. Profile photo of jtrebowski
    jtrebowski Male 40-49
    3362 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 6:39 am
    And it`s only going to get worse. The Republicans, including our own Gov. Ricky Scott here in Florida, are pushing for privatized prisons, which means, the more people that are incarcerated, the more money the corporation that owns it makes.
  4. Profile photo of CrakrJak
    CrakrJak Male 40-49
    17514 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 6:42 am
    Saying "3 crimes" per se is rather incorrect.
    The 3 strikes law is for felonies.

    Thing is is if you commit a felony, get out on parole and violate the conditions of your parole, like stealing cookies, that misdemeanor becomes another felony.

    Parolees are warned of this danger up front, there is no surprise "Gotcha!", it`s part of the conditions of their early release from prison.

    If you can`t do the time, don`t do the crime.
  5. Profile photo of Grendel
    Grendel Male 40-49
    6269 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 6:48 am
    Contrary to what these idiots would have you believe, it`s really amazingly simple to NOT end up in prison.
  6. Profile photo of McGovern1981
    McGovern1981 Male 30-39
    14268 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:16 am
    Slaves never had a chance prisioners had a choice I suppose we should pay for them to sit on their ass and lift wieghts.
  7. Profile photo of edana42
    edana42 Female 50-59
    2509 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:35 am
    easy solution - quit committing crimes. Laws are for the idiots that don`t know how to live and behave civilly.
  8. Profile photo of badwolf56
    badwolf56 Male 50-59
    11 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:36 am
    The people in jail are there because they committed crimes. What do you want? "You killed someone. Go to jail...no, wait, there`s too many prisoners. Never mind, carry on!"
  9. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:36 am
    are pushing for privatized prisons, which means, the more people that are incarcerated, the more money the corporation that owns it makes.

    Whilst I agree with the statement, I`ll just say it`s not capitalism but rather crony capitalism.
  10. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:37 am
    it`s really amazingly simple to NOT end up in prison.

    There`s the phrase "easier said than done".
  11. Profile photo of jtrebowski
    jtrebowski Male 40-49
    3362 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:40 am
    McGovern1981: "I suppose we should pay for them to sit on their ass and lift wieghts."

    I`d rather do that than have manufacturing jobs taken away from decent hardworking folks.
  12. Profile photo of Reignblazer
    Reignblazer Male 18-29
    2334 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:47 am
    Still better than our revolving door prisons/hotels.
  13. Profile photo of unmercyfuldu
    unmercyfuldu Male 18-29
    762 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:49 am
    Anyone who makes the false connection between all US prisoners and murderers has nothing of value to add to this conversation. The vast majority of prisoners are incarcerated on petty crimes. Victim-less crimes. And other countries don`t have the same rates we do because they can correctly address the issues as public health problems and get people the help they need instead of costing tax payers billions housing prisoners over petty crimes.
  14. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:51 am
    Still better than our revolving door prisons/hotels.

    Oh right because the SCOTUS never ordered California to do something about their overcrowded "hotels".
  15. Profile photo of moose76
    moose76 Male 18-29
    20 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 7:59 am
    I know Brits love to hate on Americans, but there was some shoddy fact generating. 2.3 million is not almost 3 million, and if there are 2.3 million people in US prisons, and there are ~300 million people in the US (not counting people not registered to the census) then that is not "more than 1 in a hundred American Adults." in very rough terms, it would be one out of every 130.4 Americans. Still high, but at least they could report the facts correctly. Also, who told them that we spell jail with a G?
  16. Profile photo of motleystew
    motleystew Male 18-29
    48 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:04 am
    I think we can agree that people who commit murder should go to jail. The problem is that over half of the prison population in the U.S. is in there for nonviolent crimes. It is sad when we have more inmates in this "free" country than a repressive government like China. Yes, we even have political prisoners here.
  17. Profile photo of bankvole
    bankvole Male 30-39
    959 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:04 am
    Moose76, there are 311 million people in the United States. I would guess that at least 81 million of these are children. Hence more than 1 in a hundred adults.
  18. Profile photo of Frankii
    Frankii Female 18-29
    437 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:17 am
    Moose76 No-one said you spell jail with a `g`, we spell it gaol over here
  19. Profile photo of patchgrabber
    patchgrabber Male 30-39
    5812 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:24 am
    Parolees are warned of this danger up front, there is no surprise "Gotcha!", it`s part of the conditions of their early release from prison.
    Quite a good example of how deterrence measures such as 3 strikes don`t deter crime.

    The people in jail are there because they committed crimes. What do you want? "You killed someone. Go to jail...no, wait, there`s too many prisoners. Never mind, carry on!"
    That`s a false dichotomy. Besides, as unmercifuldu pointed out, most prisoners are there for smaller crimes.
  20. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:26 am
    You killed someone. Go to jail...no, wait, there`s too many prisoners. Never mind, carry on!

    Actually in Texas you can get paroled without even seeing a day in jail.
  21. Profile photo of Shelworth
    Shelworth Male 50-59
    389 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:34 am
    Let`s send all our prisoners to England! But only if they promise not to commit any more crimes.
  22. Profile photo of patchgrabber
    patchgrabber Male 30-39
    5812 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 8:48 am
    The American prison system is broken. Unfortunately, ours is not much better. Your sentences are longer and you have more violent crime, but there are specific deficiencies with our prison system as well. Both need to be reformed, imo.
  23. Profile photo of eddy666
    eddy666 Male 30-39
    523 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am
    "are incarcerated on petty crimes." Still crimes nonetheless. They could have just as easily avoided it.
  24. Profile photo of bataleon27
    bataleon27 Male 18-29
    1178 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 9:03 am
    @Moose - believe it or not, not every country uses the same spelling... http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gaol
  25. Profile photo of Grendel
    Grendel Male 40-49
    6269 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:13 am
    Cajun247-"There`s the phrase "easier said than done"."

    Believe it or not, the majority of people manage to go their whole lives without going to jail and/or prison.

    So yes, it is relatively easy.
  26. Profile photo of McGovern1981
    McGovern1981 Male 30-39
    14268 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:19 am
  27. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    33142 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:38 am
    Don`t think of it as "three strike" think of it as "three CHANCES":
    You get 3 chances to be a good, law-abiding citizen. Don`t commit a felony (a serious crime) and you`re UN-likely to spend time in jail.
    Blew your first chance? Well, now you`re on chance #2 and have more serious consiquences if you commit another crime.
    Un-oh, did it again? well you get ONE more chance! But don`t blow it, or we throw away the key.

    See? THREE CHANCES to keep your butt out of prison. I`ve managed it!

    Sadly, there are other forces involved in Canada & the USA: mental institutions and the War On Drugs.
    In the 60`s JFK suggested shutting down some "insane asylums" because modern medicine was curing so many crazy folks. Over the years this changed into "replacing" ALL the asylums with out-patient care.
    Fast forward to today: crazy people off their meds living on the streets.
    cont
  28. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    33142 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:41 am
    There are NO asylums to put them anymore. The few that are left are packed with violently insane folks.
    So they get put in jail. In jail they get their meds and get off the booze, they get better!
    So they`re paroled. Back on their own with very limited support, they go off their meds, back on the booze and presto! back to crime.

    It`s a tragic cycle that could be avoided if we incarcerated insane people in proper medical facilities, not mixing them with hard-core criminals.

    The War on Drugs puts pot smokers in prison, it`s just beyond belief.

    Thanks for reading! Back to being bored...
  29. Profile photo of patchgrabber
    patchgrabber Male 30-39
    5812 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:46 am
    MeGrendel: Believe it or not, the majority of people manage to go their whole lives without going to jail and/or prison.

    So yes, it is relatively easy.


    5cats: See? THREE CHANCES to keep your butt out of prison. I`ve managed it!

    A lot of mind projection fallacy/causal oversimplification going on here. You`re assuming that because you avoided the justice system that it`s just as easy for everyone else to do it.
  30. Profile photo of bongsmoka420
    bongsmoka420 Male 18-29
    290 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:59 am
    Hey MeGrendel, i got arrested for riding a LEGAL mini-bike about 700 ft down a road. (I checked the laws next day) When I tried to explain it was legal to the cop he accused me of "givin him lip", which I wasn`t, i was being very respectful, so he arrested me. I was 17 at the time and they still locked me up for a night, I only got out cause of bail. Lost a bunch of money and time, and a mini-bike. YAY AmericA! land of the free...
  31. Profile photo of LordJim
    LordJim Male 60-69
    7068 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 11:05 am
    Surely the question is not about `He commited a crime, his own fault.` but more about asking if the system works. If all you are doing is locking up more and more people then it clearly isn`t working to reduce criminality. It may be working to increase profits for a few people but that is surely not what it should be for.

  32. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 11:38 am
    MeGrendel

    The question isn`t about if you can get into prison, the question is who is in prison. For most Americans there are people in jail really shouldn`t be in jail in the first place. The wasted tax dollars are too much and effect on crime is too little.
  33. Profile photo of burbclaver
    burbclaver Male 50-59
    878 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm
    If the US system stinks so much, why has crime consistently fallen for the last 30 years? Maybe because the criminals aren`t on the street but locked up?
  34. Profile photo of patchgrabber
    patchgrabber Male 30-39
    5812 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm
    @Lordjim: Exactly.
  35. Profile photo of Izaq
    Izaq Male 30-39
    173 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm
    @burbclayer
    You ought to read the book Freakonomics (http://www.freakonomics.com/). They test all sorts of explanations to why crime levels are dropping. They are found to be invalid. Except the very striking correlation between the year the abortion became legal and 16 years later the crime levels of young americans suddenly drop sharply.

    Most crime is committed by people in horrible conditions (financially, socially etc). To fight crime, you are right, you can remove the people by putting them in jail. Or you could improve their living conditions.

    In my country (Denmark) we try the latter solution: Help them out before they become criminals. We have some of the lowest crime levels in the world.
  36. Profile photo of Cajun247
    Cajun247 Male 18-29
    10742 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm
    This WSJ demonstrates Patchgrabber`s point excellently.
  37. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36866 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    There are so many thousands of felonies now that every day I`m sure I commit at least one without knowing it.
  38. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36866 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Good book

  39. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36866 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @ McGovern - that`s a GREAT worlds-most-interesting-man pic! ha!
  40. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    33142 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm
    "There are so many thousands of felonies now that every day I`m sure I commit at least one without knowing it."

    @Gerry1 makes a good point, @Cajun`s link too: So many laws, so little freedom! And WHO wants more laws? Democrats! And WHO wants more freedom? Tea Party! Not the Repubs, lolz! They had their chance and blew it.

    @Izak: that`s an interesting theory that I`ve come across before.
    Izak`s Link to the site, not the article he mentions.
  41. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36866 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    5Cats "So many laws, so little freedom! And WHO wants more laws? Democrats! And WHO wants more freedom? Tea Party!"
    Yes, your Tea Baggers want small government. Just small enough to fit in my bedroom. When they talk of freedom they don`t mean freedom for "those people". Only freedom for their type of people.

    Democrats are just as bad. They don`t really believe in free speach. If you say anything they don`t like they criminalize it and call it "hate speach".
  42. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    33142 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    @Gerry1, My "Obama`s position on Gay marriage" post is comming tomorrow :-> huzza!

    Funny how many of my submissions get put up now that @madest doesn`t delete them, eh??? Bless you @FancyLad!

    But we agree: Both the Dems and the Reps have had and blown their chance at governing responsibly...
  43. Profile photo of shaustin
    shaustin Male 18-29
    143 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm
    people who make the laws profit off the prisons, therefore trivial crimes, eg: marijuana possession = jailtime
  44. Profile photo of HOBYandy
    HOBYandy Male 18-29
    3060 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm
    Anybody else catch this?

    "There are more 17 year old black men in prison than in college."

    This may be true. However, most people aren`t in college until they are 18. It doesn`t make his argument invalid, but it is a pretty skewed statistic.
  45. Profile photo of Fancysucksss
    Fancysucksss Male 18-29
    1048 posts
    May 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm
    Man I miss that show. Hell I miss the country. Baby come back
  46. Profile photo of slimofswiv
    slimofswiv Male 30-39
    116 posts
    May 9, 2012 at 4:42 am
    america is one drated up country, and i`m afraid my country is going the same way, america you have a lot to answer for
  47. Profile photo of sutra46
    sutra46 Female 40-49
    2550 posts
    May 9, 2012 at 8:12 am
    Fry is so fly & NDT in one day!
    IAB so ejumakeshanul.
  48. Profile photo of 8BitHero
    8BitHero Male 18-29
    5414 posts
    May 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    @HOBYandy
    I`m also confused about that statistic but, here in the UK you finish secondary school/high school at 16
    You then go onto 6th form/ college (very different to American college)/ work/ nothing/ end up on Jeremy Kyle. So for Stephen to use a British education system on an American one is confusing, unless I`m wrong here on what US education terms are.

    Even still the point of the video is pretty disturbing. Also the dude making jokes is Jimmy Carr.
    Haven`t watched QI in a month.
  49. Profile photo of drawman61
    drawman61 Male 50-59
    7751 posts
    May 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm
    No doubt all those black men are completely innocent of any crime and it`s all the fault of whitey.
  50. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    33142 posts
    May 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm
    vv @HOBYandy: Great catch! I raised an eyebrow when he said that, but never gave it any thought.
    17 year olds in college? lmao!

    @8BitHero: Ah, that explains it a little, still a big boo-boo, fact-wise.
  51. Profile photo of andybme
    andybme Male 50-59
    296 posts
    May 10, 2012 at 8:44 am
    A large part of it is pot prohibition.
  52. Profile photo of mcboozerilla
    mcboozerilla Male 30-39
    646 posts
    May 13, 2012 at 3:43 am
    Do conservatives ever feel deeply ashamed about being wrong about absolutely everything?

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