Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
This morning, Thom Hartman (Free Speech TV, a national public TV station) read an article written by someone who visited the German correctional system. What he read from this report was phenomenal! I can’t quote because I heard it only once and wasn’t taking notes but I can summarize pretty accurately. He reported that the number of people incarcerated is 10% of the US. The incarcerated live in small apartments, cook their own food and grow some of it, pay rent from fair earnings from vocational activities, and are expected to take responsibility for their behavior. They have phones with free access to calling their families. “Guards” are carefully trained. Only a small percentage of applicants are accepted into the two year training program. There has been no incident of prisoner or guard assault in the last two years. Sentences are rarely more than two or three years. Solitary confinement is also used rarely and then only for a day or two and never more than a month. Most people convicted of a crime are not sentenced to prison, but instead are fined an amount based on ability to pay.
As most of you probably already know, violence begets violence. Violence interferes with attachment. Attachment builds respect. Respect builds attachment. Respect and attachment breed cooperation. Violence breeds resistance and oppositional behavior. It appears the German’s understand and apply these basic ideas effectively. I am tempted to preach. I am attempted to rant. I don’t think that will be effective here. Just let this roll around in your minds. Talk it over with others. Enjoy knowing there really is a better way and we don’t have to be stuck in this mess we have created of mental health and prisons.
Love works far better than revenge. The Germans apply this: So can we. I would like to add, the Norway system is very similar to the German penal system.