Now what, exactly, are prisons for?

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 5, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Doing away with prisons may work in a Zion-society... but we live in an imperfect world.

    There are MANY things that would work well in a Zion-society that we don't do as a Nation... because they don't work in the world we live in.

    We need to deal with the world we actually live in. There are people who need to be removed from society and rehabilitated. Not all these people want to be rehabilitated. We will not be successful with all of them. But many thanks to those who try.


    I don't know how some twist this back into the "Republicans making money off the prison move" conspiracy again... but whatever.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 4, 2014 8:39 p.m.

    @Shawnm750 - Actually neither apply.

    Those who do crime are sent to jail not 'for punishment' or 'as punishment.' They are sent there to get them out of society to reduce or eliminate the chance they will commit the crime again. At least for as long as they're in prison.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 6:03 p.m.

    Good Question, needs thoughtful response.

    I suggest that we as a society consider that every one is constantly observing and if you will learning from our environment. If so, prison has potential to provide positive life information to prisoners. Whether they take advantage of it is another matter, but I think we have the obligation to present information on a better life style and encourage the prisoner to adopt it.

    I admit I am skeptical of the legislators motivations for moving the prison. I feel there is money involved and as someone once said, "Money is the mother's milk of politics" hence I think the legislature has sold out philosophically to move the prison, which will make some connected people wealthy and inconvenience a lot of citizens, employees and inmates (who are people too). There isn't any Silicone Corridor, coming to Point of the Mountain. Maybe they are planning a mining operation, in the process the public gets the shaft budget-wise to cover the cost of the move.

    We elect these people folks, we are responsible and are left holding the bag.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    @WRZ - "We send people to prison for both reasons. There is no difference between the two." There is a difference between the two. The author is posing the questioning what is the intent of incarcerating criminals? It's like when a child gets sent to their room. The punishment is the act of being removed from the activity they were doing before they got in trouble, not being in their room. That's what he means by "as punishment." Sending a child to their room "for punishment" would imply that some form of discipline would be exacted upon them once they got there. To use another example, the misbehaving child is sent by its mother to its father "for punishment" or in other words: to receive punishment.

    So the question the author poses is: Is the act of sending a criminal to prison their punishment? Or do we send them to prison with the expectation that once there, they'll receive their punishment?

    To further simplify it, is our intent in sending them to prison that removal from society will motivate them to change and rejoin as better people? Or do we simply want them removed?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 4, 2014 1:18 p.m.


    Very well said. Thank you.

  • LifeLongLearner Orem, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    Joseph Smith made opposing prisons part of his presidential run. Why? Because locking people up is about the worst way to create any positive change in behavior. If it was possible to punish people into good behavior, there wouldn't be a need for prisons in the first place. Punishment isn't the answer. Real consequences are. Real consequences have learning experiences built into them that lead to growth in useful skills. Prisons teach all the wrong lessons. God bless people like this man, who are trying to help criminals create real, positive, lasting change. Who cares where the prison is located--it's always going to be a huge waste of money and human potential until more people care about the PEOPLE who have made such terrible decisions and get thrown away by a society that just wants to forget that they ever existed.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 4, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    "The question is, do we send people to prison for punishment or as punishment?"

    We send people to prison for both reasons. There is no difference between the two.

    Of course prisoners should be learning something while they're locked up. Especially if they will get out some day. And the first thing to learn is not to do crime again. Those in for life with no possibility of parole don't need training of any kind.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    "The question is, do we send people to prison for punishment or as punishment?"


    I hope the main reason is to simply remove from society people who are likely to harm other people. If it's also possible to make them less likely to harm other people when/if they get out, great, I'm all for that. But, in the meantime, just keeping them from harming others while they're locked up is a good first step.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    As a recycling center... it probably does it's job pretty well. You never hear about the success stories of the success rates. But with the guy who got released early and ended up shooting 2 police officers last week, and the rates at which recycled people end up returning to the prison... I don't know if the recycling analogy is working as good as some may think.

    If they keep being released and just re-offending and going back... maybe we should make it a place where they don't want to go. And be sure they are ready before releasing them back into society.

    That violent guy who served only a fraction of his sentence for attempted murder (only missed being "murder" because the guy wouldn't die), then he was violent and attacked other inmates while in prison... and they thought that meant he should be released back into society (where he continued his trend of violence)... Maybe he wasn't quite recycled yet.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    Feb. 4, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Procuradorfiscal, You hit the nail on the head! Point of the Mountain prison is simply a land holding operation until a handful of the very connected can enrich themselves at the hands ( and wallets) of the taxpayer. This will cost a BILLION plus.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 4, 2014 7:18 a.m.

    Re: "Now what, exactly, are prisons for?"

    That's an easy one.

    They are for holding worthless land until it becomes valuable enough to the Gov's real estate buddies that he'll force the state to spend untold millions to move it, so they can develop the land.

    And they're for providing good-paying jobs to Tooele County.

    Nothing more.