Amazon.com Widgets

What would you say to, instead of a long prison sentence for criminals, we waterboard them for a week.

Asked by: REmixer
  • The prison system has to change

    People who have committed a crime, great or small, can be sentenced to a long term stay with real offenders who deserve to be imprisoned. This can put their lives in danger, cause irreparable damage to their lives as a whole. So what if there was another way to reform prisoners without holding them in prison for years

  • Crime, Punishment and Prison Alternatives.

    Committing a crime doesn't always mean doing time. While a criminal conviction usually carries a sentence of some sort, there are alternatives to prison. Sometimes alternative methods are used alone, or are combined. The object stays the same, which is to provide punishment, preserve the best chance for rehabilitation, and to serve the best interest of the public.





    Have a criminal law question?

    Submit your question confidentially.
    It's simple, free and safe.
    Ask a Lawyer
    Find out about alternatives to prison, how and when they are used, and about benefits to society.

    Reasons for Prison Alternatives

    Crime is expensive, from the impact on victims, costs to society and to the criminal. Dollars and cents expenses are a primary driving force behind prison alternatives. Some options cost dollars per day, and can't even be compared with the cost of keeping someone in prison.

    Program costs may even be low enough that fees charged to those participating in the plans make a difference in operating budgets. State law may require a convict to pay monthly administrative fees, and a portion of wages earned while serving a sentence.

    Part of the rationale behind criminal sentences is rehabilitation. Often programs outside prison walls have the highest success rates and keep those convicted from getting into more trouble with the law.

    Qualifying for Prison Alternatives

    Federal and state law govern prison alternatives and define which offenders are eligible and specific programs. Prisons and local jails aren't the same. Prisons are maintained by federal and state governments, and are generally used to confine people convicted of a felony for one year or longer.

    Eligibility criteria varies, but may require:
    •No mandatory prison sentence for the offense
    •An offender's agreement to enter an alternative program
    •Conviction or a plea besides not guilty to a nonviolent felony offense
    •A qualifying score on an assessment test, called a Level of Services Inventory, that measures risk of recidivism


    Types of Alternative Programs

    Prison alternatives are aimed at turning offenders into lawful citizens. Many options are more intense and carry stricter conditions than probation alone. Probation is the suspension of a prison sentence, subject to someone following conditions. Probation can be part of an alternative prison program, however.

    A sentence can consist of one alternative or a combination of two or more methods.

    Fines and Restitution

    Payment of money is an option to prison, and this option is often seen for those convicted of financial crimes. Fines are paid to the government, while restitution is paid to victims for their losses.

    Community Sentencing or Control

    Community sentencing or community control refers to placing an offender in some form of highly controlled custody within a community. Conditions are much more restrictive than probation. Programs are tailored for the goals and needs of each offender. Plans may include:
    •Intense and frequent supervision by program officers, who have limited caseloads
    •Drug treatment or mental health program participation
    •Education and vocational training, including behavioral classes
    •Residential placement in a noninstitutional or home setting

  • Alternatives to incarceration.

    An alternative to incarceration is any kind of punishment or treatment other than time in prison or jail that can be given to a person who is convicted of committing a crime. Alternatives can take the form of restorative justice, transformative justice, or the abolition of incarceration entirely. Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts. The United States’ prison population topped 2 million inmates for the first time in history on June 30, 2002. By this time, America’s jails held 1 in every 142 U.S. residents. Since 1997, there has been a 5.4% increase in prison inmates and the numbers will continue to rise unless alternatives to what are adopted.

    New York City, the largest city in the United States, has created an important alternatives to incarceration (ATI) program for its prison system. Judges have the option of sending those with misdemeanors or felonies to this program instead of giving them a prison sentence. The program has four categories: general population, substance abusers, women, and youth. The program has a 60% success rate, which is relatively high. Offenders who fail the program receive a mandatory prison sentence, which gives them good incentive to succeed. Those who don’t succeed tend to have a past with incarceration. As the biggest city in the United States, New York City is often a trendsetter for other cities. This program could be the first of many in the United States, which could help lower incarceration rates.

  • It won't teach them the lesson.

    As mentioned previously, water boarding is very much torture and against the 8th amendment of the Constitution. Also, this would never work in terms of getting the prisoners to change. After waterboarding them for one week, they will have developed an even further hatred of the government and system, and many people will have sympathized with them. Besides, water is a precious resource.

  • Not if you're a constitutionalist

    Sorry man, but there is no way I can condone this. First of all, water boarding is torture, something that the Eigth Ammendment protects you from ("cruel and unusual punishment"). For the US to condone this, we would have to be totally OK with torture as a sentence. And that's what dictators do.

  • That's inhumane and torture.

    Lol is this a joke? How is torturing someone going to lead to reform? I guess it's possible for the prisoner to gain stockholm syndrome if done right and rigorously but still it is pretty inhumane. If anything this would only cause criminals to hate the system even more and then they would actually get sympathizers who would back them up. From there everything goes to the ground.

  • This is nonsensical

    So we torture criminals for a week and then release them unrehabilitated and in all likelihood very angry.

    Here's my proposal, keep prisons open for inmates who want to one day rejoin society, send those who opt for it or who misbehave one too many times while behind prison walls to an island where they have enough resources to survive but where they will be left to handle things as they want as long as they do not leave. And before being sent there vasectomies and tubal ligations will need to be performed so that no children have to be born into this place.

    If they ever manage to form a nice stable and reasonable society there (doubtful) then consider letting them back in to our society (except those they have locked up). For those getting life in prison then the island opportunity would be the only possibility of rejoining our society (in the off-chance they manage to build a stable and reasonable society, thus proving they can be trusted).

    I say and reasonable because if it's 'stable' but it's a society where they own half the population as slaves then they have shown they are too unlike us to rejoin.

  • Isn't this considered unusually cruel punishment?

    This would be unacceptable. And not to mention inhumane. Waterboarding is definitely considered cruel and unusual punishment, which is specifically stated in #8 of the 10 amendments (nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted). A long prison sentence appeals to me a lot more than being waterboarded, since you would be less likely to die from it than this form of torture. Not only is this unethical, it goes against our basic principles of our rights.

  • Only one week

    Anyone can endure anything if they know it is only for one week. One week is not a long enough punishment. Also its unconstitutional. You know, the whole no cruel and unusual punishment thing. Maybe instead of them being tortured they should have to work on projects that will better society, like cleaning up garbage. Maybe they should turn prisons into sweatshops...


Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
No comments yet.