Re: No Federal Parole.

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 13:26:36 MST

On Mon, Jan 29, 2001 at 11:29:33AM -0800, Brian D Williams wrote:
> What's wrong with people who commit crimes serving their full
> sentence?

Three things:

1. It makes it hard for prison officers to maintain order. (If your
   prisoners hope to get time off for good behaviour, they have
   a positive incentive to behave themselves. This is a very useful
   lever if you're thinking in terms of getting criminals to reform.
   It also makes it less likely that an inmate will attack a prison

2. Where parole is abolished, it is seldom accompanied by a reduction
   in sentencing guidelines. If a regime exists where parole of up to
   25% of the sentence is available, and parole is then abolished, this
   is almost never accompanied by a 25% reduction in sentences handed
   out by the courts. Thus, the net effect is to increase the severity
   of sentencing significantly.

3. It also _really_ pisses off and demotivates any inmates who've been
   behaving themselves in hope of qualifying for early release, just in
   time to be shafted by a change in the law -- see outcome #1 above.

Basically, as long as an inmate has something to *hope* for, they have
an incentive to reform, behave themselves well, and return to civil
society. Take away all rewards for cooperation, and why should they bother?

-- Charlie

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