Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Maybe AOC is on to something with all this Prison Abolition talk

 

A few days ago, AOC called for the abolition of prisons.

She is correct that there are far too many people in prisons for nonviolent offenses, but as a socialist, she is, of course, blind to the root of the problem. Who is it that is throwing all of these people into prisons? Why it’s the people calling themselves the government, that’s who. But as with all socialists, the last institution to blame is always socialism’s most sacred cow: the government. The free market didn’t throw all those people in the slammer. It is no coincidence that as the State gets bigger, the prisons get fuller.

Prisons are the backbone of socialism. I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income. Instead of filling up with people committing petty offenses, in AOC’s America, they would fill up with political prisoners.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 36 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Stad Thatcher

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income.

    It’s clear she hasn’t thought that far ahead. Or maybe she intends to form re-education gulags . . .

    • #1
    • October 10, 2019, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Doug Watt Moderator

    Click on the link for some stats from the Bureau of Prisons. The crime categories do not tell the entire story. Releasing non-violent offenders is one thing, but each inmates case should be reviewed before releasing them. AOC is not interested in individual cases, nor does the media care to ask her for a detailed plan. She is interested in mass releases, and disarming you so can’t defend yourself. When these poor oppressed inmates are released they will return to poor neighborhoods and begin to re-engage in oppressing their neighbor’s.

    • #2
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Seawriter Member

    The crimes committed by politicians – fraud, corruption, influence-peddling, and bribe-taking – are nonviolent crimes. Is it any wonder AOC want mass release of non-violent offenders?

    • #3
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:18 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Click on the link for some stats from the Bureau of Prisons. The crime categories do not tell the entire story. Releasing non-violent offenders is one thing, but each inmates case should be reviewed before releasing them. AOC is not interested in individual cases, nor does the media care to ask her for a detailed plan. She is interested in mass releases, and disarming you so can’t defend yourself. When these poor oppressed inmates are released they will return to poor neighborhoods and begin to re-engage in oppressing their neighbor’s.

    Even non-violent offenders may have originally been charged with violent crimes, but had those charges drop because of plea bargaining.

    • #4
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    AOC is an ignorant agitator who claims prisons were invented in America to oppress people.

    CJ: She is correct that there are far too many people in prisons for nonviolent offenses

    I don’t know if there are “too many”, but I don’t think our “corrections” system is working well. We are spending too much money and have too many citizens that are not producing for society.

    We need to bust free from our current paradigm and choose a new system that optimizes for cost, crime prevention, and citizen productivity. The current system separates bad guys from society, but too often produces worse people as an output. General population is very bad. I prefer a system where inmates are kept/stored continually isolated from other inmates and receive daily training on morals, civics, and marketable skills. Some people need boot camp to mature and get their lives in order. Some just need a detox. Some are defective and need to be blackholed. Mental health has to be integral to any system that is going to achieve optimal performance.

     

    • #5
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. PHenry Member

    Apparently the left’s new voter base is illegal immigrants and convicted felons. 

    Pander to your base! 

    • #6
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    DonG (View Comment):

    I don’t know if there are “too many”, but I don’t think our “corrections” system is working well. We are spending too much money and have too many citizens that are not producing for society.

    We need to bust free from our current paradigm and choose a new system that optimizes for cost, crime prevention, and citizen productivity.

    Most people in prisons are low income and/or low IQ. Their inability to be productive is in many ways a function of the policies of those who call themselves the government (Herrnstein and Murray address this to some degree in The Bell Curve).

    Here are some of the policies undermining their ability to be productive:

    • Compulsory government schooling and child labor laws – this prevents the non-academically inclined from getting the head start they need on work experience. Instead they are sent to prisons for children where their self worth is beaten down from the inflated value that schools place on raw cognitive ability.
    • Minimum wage laws – this shifts work from manual labor, that people of low IQ could do, to machines.
    • Other government regulations – this makes it near impossible for people of average IQ to run their own business. It’s a huge advantage to the cognitive elite, who can navigate the byzantine regulatory system.
    • Overproduction of government roads – thanks to urban sprawl, it has created a greater dependence on the automobile in order to remain employed. Maintaining an automobile and keeping up with the various regulations and fees and licensing is not a burden for most of us, but it is much more so for people in poverty.

    Having largely destroyed their ability to be productive, the government has given them two terrible consolation prizes: Welfare and Prisons.

    • #7
    • October 10, 2019, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Hugh Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income.

    It’s clear she hasn’t thought that far ahead. Or maybe she intends to form re-education gulags . . .

    Isn’t that what she thinks South Dakota is for? You could put up a wall….

    • #8
    • October 10, 2019, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Click on the link for some stats from the Bureau of Prisons. The crime categories do not tell the entire story. Releasing non-violent offenders is one thing, but each inmates case should be reviewed before releasing them. AOC is not interested in individual cases, nor does the media care to ask her for a detailed plan. She is interested in mass releases, and disarming you so can’t defend yourself. When these poor oppressed inmates are released they will return to poor neighborhoods and begin to re-engage in oppressing their neighbor’s.

    Yes, you can’t just say, “Everyone in jail for ‘x’ should be released.” This would need to be on a case by case basis.

    Whenever possible, for truly non-violent offenses I would like to see large financial fines with the bulk of those fines going to the victims.

    • #9
    • October 10, 2019, at 8:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Click on the link for some stats from the Bureau of Prisons. The crime categories do not tell the entire story. Releasing non-violent offenders is one thing, but each inmates case should be reviewed before releasing them. AOC is not interested in individual cases, nor does the media care to ask her for a detailed plan. She is interested in mass releases, and disarming you so can’t defend yourself. When these poor oppressed inmates are released they will return to poor neighborhoods and begin to re-engage in oppressing their neighbor’s.

    Yes, you can’t just say, “Everyone in jail for ‘x’ should be released.” This would need to be on a case by case basis.

    Whenever possible, for truly non-violent offenses I would like to see large financial fines with the bulk of those fines going to the victims.

    I think the issue with that is the majority of the people in for non-violent offenses don’t have any money. Levying a big fine against an empty bag doesn’t get you anything. 

    I’ve often imagined a new kind of system that changed the distribution of taxpayer dollars from prisoners to victims of non-violent offenses. In other words, instead of paying for a person to be incarcerated for X amount of years, which costs $Y, we shorten that sentence dramatically and focus on rehabilitation. The tax money that would have been spent on incarceration instead goes to a victim’s fund which covers the cost of whatever property damage was done, etc etc. I’m sure the math and logistics are nearly impossible to figure out, but it’s an interesting intellectual exercise nonetheless. 

    • #10
    • October 10, 2019, at 8:50 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The crimes committed by politicians – fraud, corruption, influence-peddling, and bribe-taking – are nonviolent crimes. Is it any wonder AOC want mass release of non-violent offenders?

    Dumb criminals break the laws.

    Smart criminals make the laws.

    • #11
    • October 10, 2019, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CJ: Prisons are the backbone of socialism.

    I can imagine a reply along the lines of, “No, no, no. Re-education camps are a completely different thing. And climate change deniers are not non-violent, they hurt the planet.”

    • #12
    • October 10, 2019, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Full Size Tabby Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income.

    It’s clear she hasn’t thought that far ahead. Or maybe she intends to form re-education gulags . . .

    Well, at least she’s consistent. She has yet to make any statement that indicates she has thought farther ahead than her next Tweet. 

    • #13
    • October 10, 2019, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Full Size Tabby Member

    Discussions about prison populations should take into account that there are very large differences between the populations of federal prisons and the populations of state prisons. 

    I could not find the link @dougwatt suggested in comment #2, but my understanding is that since state governments prosecute what most of us think of when we think crime (the killing, assaulting, robbing, burgling, general drug dealing, the prisoners tend to be the not-very-bright, poor, etc., and relatively violent. As noted, when declaring prisoners should be released if they were convicted of “non-violent” offenses, as others said each case should be examined, as we would need to consider that many of the convictions for “non-violent” offenses were the result of plea deals in which the “non-violent” charge was a reduction from an initial charge for a violent offense. 

    Prisoners in federal penitentiaries are more likely to be there for violating some of the many federal laws that @cj notes come with bigger government (and that people like AOC want to pass more of), or the prisoners are there for more sophisticated versions of street crime (fancy versions of stealing, large scale drug dealing (trafficking), etc.), who may not themselves have committed acts of violence, but whose criminal enterprises may have depended on violence or the threat of violence. My understanding is that federal prisoners tend to be much smarter than state prisoners. 

     

    • #14
    • October 10, 2019, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Full Size Tabby Member

    Getting to the core issue of the OP (that more government parallels more laws that people are more likely to violate, thus resulting in more people in prison) brings to mind that post-conviction long term incarceration is a relatively recent phenomenon. 

    Previously, conviction generally resulted in either execution (if the crime was a felony) or physical punishment (flogging, a few days in the stockades, and maybe branding for permanent shame). 

    How about reducing the prison population by making execution or physical punishment the only permitted punishments for violations of the law. A legislature cannot pass a law making an action criminal unless the legislature is willing to say that the action deserves either execution or physical punishment. If the action is not worthy of that type of punishment, the action should not be a crime. 

    • #15
    • October 10, 2019, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income.

    It’s clear she hasn’t thought that far ahead. Or maybe she intends to form re-education gulags . . .

    Well, at least she’s consistent. She has yet to make any statement that indicates she has thought farther ahead than her next Tweet.

    Underrated comment right here. 

    • #16
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Front Seat Cat Member

    When did drugs become a non-offense as well as defecating on the streets and setting up large tent cities become normal? Who decides what is a petty crime and then decides no more incarceration for petty crimes. Just keep on doing it. The last administration, that’s who… Yes – AOC is a socialist so her common sense on how a Republic works, and maintains law and order is not on her radar.

    • #17
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    When did drugs become a non-offense as well as defecating on the streets and setting up large tent cities become normal? Who decides what is a petty crime and then decides no more incarceration for petty crimes. Just keep on doing it. The last administration, that’s who… Yes – AOC is a socialist so her common sense on how a Republic works, and maintains law and order is not on her radar.

    A lot of the street defecation is probably mental illness within the homeless population, which then leads to a permission structure for the non-mentally ill to follow suit. Couple that with cops who have been told to let it go and you have a perfect recipe for filth and disease. And that, kids, is what we call “California”. 

    • #18
    • October 10, 2019, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. JosePluma Thatcher

    Stad (View Comment):

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income.

    It’s clear she hasn’t thought that far ahead.

    FIFY

    • #19
    • October 10, 2019, at 10:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Click on the link for some stats from the Bureau of Prisons. The crime categories do not tell the entire story. Releasing non-violent offenders is one thing, but each inmates case should be reviewed before releasing them. AOC is not interested in individual cases, nor does the media care to ask her for a detailed plan. She is interested in mass releases, and disarming you so can’t defend yourself. When these poor oppressed inmates are released they will return to poor neighborhoods and begin to re-engage in oppressing their neighbor’s.

    Yes, you can’t just say, “Everyone in jail for ‘x’ should be released.” This would need to be on a case by case basis.

    Whenever possible, for truly non-violent offenses I would like to see large financial fines with the bulk of those fines going to the victims.

    I think the issue with that is the majority of the people in for non-violent offenses don’t have any money. Levying a big fine against an empty bag doesn’t get you anything.

    I’ve often imagined a new kind of system that changed the distribution of taxpayer dollars from prisoners to victims of non-violent offenses. In other words, instead of paying for a person to be incarcerated for X amount of years, which costs $Y, we shorten that sentence dramatically and focus on rehabilitation. The tax money that would have been spent on incarceration instead goes to a victim’s fund which covers the cost of whatever property damage was done, etc etc. I’m sure the math and logistics are nearly impossible to figure out, but it’s an interesting intellectual exercise nonetheless.

    I think we do fairly badly with rehabilitation now a days. but I do find that an interesting suggestion. My sense is the subjective anything goes moral code the SJW’s advance is probably not conducive to rehabilitation. I wonder if we did better when penitentiaries were more based on Christian morality.

    • #20
    • October 10, 2019, at 11:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Bethany Mandel Editor

    This is very interesting and worth chewing on more. Thanks for this post! 

    • #21
    • October 11, 2019, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “If the king did not, without tiring, inflict punishment on those worthy to be punished, the stronger would roast the weaker, like fish on a spit”

    –the laws of Manu, circa 200 BC

     

    • #22
    • October 11, 2019, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. D.A. Venters Member

    CJ (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The crimes committed by politicians – fraud, corruption, influence-peddling, and bribe-taking – are nonviolent crimes. Is it any wonder AOC want mass release of non-violent offenders?

    Dumb criminals break the laws.

    Smart criminals make the laws.

    Reminds me of a line from a Dylan song, “Steal a little and they throw you in jail / Steal a lot and they make you king.”

    • #23
    • October 11, 2019, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. Housebroken Thatcher

    CJ: I’m curious where AOC plans to put all those people who choose not to turn in their guns, or decline to turn over their hard-earned income. Instead of filling up with people committing petty offenses, in AOC’s America, they would fill up with political prisoners.

    Yes, clearly she has found a way to make room for those evil NRA members.

    • #24
    • October 11, 2019, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Housebroken Thatcher

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Discussions about prison populations should take into account that there are very large differences between the populations of federal prisons and the populations of state prisons.

    I could not find the link @dougwatt suggested in comment #2, but my understanding is that since state governments prosecute what most of us think of when we think crime (the killing, assaulting, robbing, burgling, general drug dealing, the prisoners tend to be the not-very-bright, poor, etc., and relatively violent. As noted, when declaring prisoners should be released if they were convicted of “non-violent” offenses, as others said each case should be examined, as we would need to consider that many of the convictions for “non-violent” offenses were the result of plea deals in which the “non-violent” charge was a reduction from an initial charge for a violent offense.

    Prisoners in federal penitentiaries are more likely to be there for violating some of the many federal laws that @cj notes come with bigger government (and that people like AOC want to pass more of), or the prisoners are there for more sophisticated versions of street crime (fancy versions of stealing, large scale drug dealing (trafficking), etc.), who may not themselves have committed acts of violence, but whose criminal enterprises may have depended on violence or the threat of violence. My understanding is that federal prisoners tend to be much smarter than state prisoners.

    You bring up a good point when you discriminate between Federal and State prisons.

    That pesky tenth amendment is clearly for the trash heap.

    • #25
    • October 11, 2019, at 10:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    I do think it’s important that we be specific when we’re talking about “non-violent offenders.” Both the left and right talk about non-violent offense as a monolith. There are many non-violent offenders that I absolutely believe belong in jail. 

    “Overpopulation” of jails is also a term that needs to be unwrapped. What’s the right amount before we are over-populated? What is the alternative to overpopulation? If we put criminals in jails, that means we have rule of law. Isn’t that a good thing? Who specifically does not belong in jail and why?

    Incarceration is easily the most generalized political hot button. And the most difficult one to have an honest conversation about.

    • #26
    • October 11, 2019, at 11:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    JamesSalerno (View Comment):
    I do think it’s important that we be specific when we’re talking about “non-violent offenders.” Both the left and right talk about non-violent offense as a monolith. There are many non-violent offenders that I absolutely believe belong in jail. 

    You do bring up a valid point. We could distinguish, for example, between non-violent crimes, and victimless crimes.

    One problem I have with jail is that it’s purely punitive, and doesn’t do much to restore the victim, or rehabilitate the offender. I’d prefer a system of restitution and/or social ostracism. I get the argument that punishment is a deterrent, but that doesn’t per se make it just. 

    JamesSalerno (View Comment):
    “Overpopulation” of jails is also a term that needs to be unwrapped. What’s the right amount before we are over-populated? What is the alternative to overpopulation? If we put criminals in jails, that means we have rule of law. Isn’t that a good thing? Who specifically does not belong in jail and why?

    Another good point. As I mentioned in a prior comment, I think criminality is partly due to government policies that rob people of below average intelligence from opportunities to be productive. There’s no way to know to what extent dysfunction in poor communities is attributable to government policy, but it should be considered. That is, it’s difficult to measure how much excess criminality this or that government policy creates.

    The other thing to think about is, how has criminality in certain groups evolved over time? Have certain groups exhibited a consistent level of criminality across time? If not, what’s changed?

    • #27
    • October 11, 2019, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Full Size Tabby Member

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    I think we do fairly badly with rehabilitation now a days. but I do find that an interesting suggestion. My sense is the subjective anything goes moral code the SJW’s advance is probably not conducive to rehabilitation. I wonder if we did better when penitentiaries were more based on Christian morality.

    The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has done some impressive work with a population of mostly life sentence prisoners by applying the Christian concept of dignity of the person and the potential for redemption in the eyes of God. Although few of the prisoners are ever released from the prison (a “life sentence” in Louisiana is a life sentence), the prisoners do work for the benefit of people outside the prison (restoring wheelchairs for distribution to people who can’t afford to buy one is one activity), and work to hold up the human dignity of their fellow prisoners.

    • #28
    • October 11, 2019, at 12:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. D.A. Venters Member

    CJ (View Comment):

    JamesSalerno (View Comment):
    I do think it’s important that we be specific when we’re talking about “non-violent offenders.” Both the left and right talk about non-violent offense as a monolith. There are many non-violent offenders that I absolutely believe belong in jail.

    You do bring up a valid point. We could distinguish, for example, between non-violent crimes, and victimless crimes.

    One problem I have with jail is that it’s purely punitive, and doesn’t do much to restore the victim, or rehabilitate the offender. I’d prefer a system of restitution and/or social ostracism. I get the argument that punishment is a deterrent, but that doesn’t per se make it just.

    This is a good point. Most prisons will have some rehabilitative components available to inmates – mental health services, counseling, classes, a certain amount of job training, access to religious services, etc… but those things seem to be sub-par, from what I can tell, and are not broadly successful in rehabilitating inmates. Not only does prison usually fail to improve an inmate, they often become places where people get worse. It can be a giant networking opportunity for criminals – they learn from each other there. There are, of course, exceptions to this. I have certainly heard some people say that going to prison was a good thing for them, turned them around. But given the number of repeat felony offenders, it is apparent that that is not a typical result.

     

    • #29
    • October 11, 2019, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. Housebroken Thatcher

    I will just say – I would send lawbreakers to prison to be punished, not to “rehabilitate” them. If some nongovernmental agency wants to try to rehab a prisoner, more power to them: I might even support one.

    • #30
    • October 11, 2019, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • Like