Justice

Ben Carson is Concerned Our Prisons Are Insufficiently Hellish and Dysfunctional

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Like President Obama, Republican presidential candidate and esteemed doctor Ben Carson has also visited a federal prison, but he had a wildly different takeaway from the experience.

Carson agrees that we lock too many people up, but the bigger problem, in his view, is that the ones we do lock up have it too good on the inside.

"I was flabbergasted by the accommodations -- the exercise equipment, the libraries and the computers," he said. He said he was told that "a lot of times when it's about time for one of the guys to be discharged, especially when its winter, they’ll do something so they can stay in there." [...]

"I think that we need to sometimes ask ourselves, 'Are we creating an environment that is conducive to comfort where a person would want to stay, versus an environment where we maybe provide them an opportunity for rehabilitation but is not a place that they would find particularly comfortable?'" he told reporters.

Access to information and education through books and computers is one of the only avenues to rehabilitation that are available in prison.

I was going to crack wise about Carson proposing that all inmates become religious monks, but that too would require access to the books contained in a library. Libraries are bad, right?

Absent the opportunity to exercise or gain knowledge, it's not clear what Carson's alternative path to rehabilitation would be in his Victorian dungeons.

  • BillWestern

    Maybe the good doctor could commit some minor traffic infraction somewhere in the South so he can get some first-hand experience of jail.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I was flabbergasted by the accommodations — the exercise equipment, the libraries and the computers,

    Are we creating an environment that is conducive to comfort where a person would want to stay, versus an environment where we maybe provide them an opportunity for rehabilitation

    Newsflash, Doc. It’s the libraries and computers that help make the rehabilitation possible. Sticking felons in their cells with no means of gathering useful knowledge or skills is guaranteed to return them to prison.

  • muselet

    Something over twenty years ago, I heard a radio report out of Orange County about a move by a group of concerned citizens who thought the prisoners in the county jails were being treated too well. They pissed and moaned about the inmates having televisions and a law library and exercise equipment—basically the same nonsense currently falling out of Ben Carson’s piehole—and proposed making the jails as barren as possible (not only so those evil people would be properly punished! but to Save Money).

    Asked for comment, the sheriff explained in the tones of a man whose patience has worn dangerously thin that if the inmates had nothing, he had nothing to take away to discipline them. I believe he also pointed out that a lot of the people in county jails had not been convicted of anything: they couldn’t make bail and were awaiting trial.

    Stupidity never goes out of style for some people, does it?

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    So many levels of awful. “… a lot of times when it’s about time for one of the guys to be discharged, especially when its winter, they’ll do something so they can stay in there.” That’s not because prison is like a cushy resort. It’s because upon release a former inmate: 1) may not have a job and the means to support themselves, 2) may face discrimination or lack the skills to find work, 3) may not have access to livable housing, 4) may face re-addiction to alcohol/drugs, 5) may not have access to needed medical or mental health treatment, 6) may not want to freeze to death on the streets, 7) and this list goes on forever. More and more, the GOP seems to me to be comprised mainly of people without compassion.

    • aynwrong

      “More and more, the GOP seems to me to be comprised mainly of people without compassion.”

      Yeah, they call that Christianity.

    • Nefercat

      “More and more, the GOP seems to me to be comprised mainly of people without compassion.”
      ———————————————–
      As well as intelligence, education, common sense, and sanity.

    • JMAshby

      I know someone who spent 18 years locked up and even though he had a great deal of mechanical expertise and business experience, no one would hire him. If not for family and old friends he wouldn’t have anything today. Not everyone who gets out has family or friends they can depend on.

      • gescove

        Exactly. Why anyone takes Mr. Carson’s preposterously shallow policy “analysis” seriously is simply beyond me.