Rehabilitating Violent Criminals.

Paul Hughes (
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 13:38:49 -0800

John Clark wrote:

> I'd like to talk about what would be done with violent criminals
> in a libertarian world of Anarchy. I can think of 4 reasons we
> even bother to punish bad people at all.
> 2. Rehabilitation.
> This would be wonderful if we knew how to do it but we don't. In
> the real world we take a person who grew up in a bad environment
> and lock him in a horrible prison environment and expect him to reform.
> The only thing on our side is time, for some reason older people
> tend to be less violent than younger ones.

I completely disagree here. There was a prominent study done at the Maryland State Penitentiary in 1961, where 80 hardened criminals of all stripes were put through a series of LSD sessions. Since this study was conducted by Timothy Leary & Company, the most sensitive measures were taken to assure the criminals were given the best 'set' and 'setting' possible. Although many of the criminals were initially suspect, Tim Leary was very patient in establishing a trusting bond before any LSD sessions took place.

After six weeks, the overwhelming number of prisoners became distinctly aware that their are many alternative 'realities' to that of crime and struggle. As of 1977, 67 of the initial 80 had been released, with only 2 ever going back to prison. Lets see, 2 out of 67 gives us ~3% recidivism. I'd say that was a pretty darn good success rate for only *one* study!

The fact that today, prisons are:

  1. Overpopulated with non-violent drug users.
  2. Admittedly designed by prison architects to disorient criminals.
  3. And run as a means to punish, rather than rehabilitate.

I'd say the prisons have absolutely no desire to rehabilitate anyone; and in fact are the chief *cause* of crime, not a deterrent. If we spent half the money on education, we do now on prisons, this supposed "high crime" rate we see today would be seen as the joke that it really is.

Speaking of brainwashing TV propaganda, the latest TV statistics show that the number of stories covering violent crimes has increased five fold since 1990, while the actual violent crime rate, according to the FBI, has dropped. Doesn't that make you wonder? I'd say the prison construction lobby has a vested interest in seeing more people being locked up behind bars, and longer sentences being applied to more people.

Paul Hughes