Re-education camps are on the way.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by DKSuddeth, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20031225_172.html

    Fla. Gets Nation's 1st Faith-Based Prison
    Florida Gets Nation's First Faith-Based Prison; Inmates From Nearly 26 Faiths Attend Dedication

    The Associated Press

    LAWTEY, Fla. Dec. 25 — Nearly 800 inmates from 26 faiths attended the dedication ceremony of what Gov. Jeb Bush called the nation's first faith-based prison a facility focused on encouraging the spirituality of inmates of all faiths.
    Along with regular prayer sessions, the Lawtey Correctional Institution will offer religious studies, choir practice, religious counseling and other spiritual activities seven days a week. Participation is voluntary and inmates are free to transfer out.

    "This is not just fluffy policy, this is serious policy," Bush told the crowd on Wednesday. "For the people who are skeptical about this initiative, I am proud that Florida is the home to the first faith-based prison in the United States."

    Marlin Cliburn, inmate No. 575042, recently transferred to Lawtey, where he is serving 6 1/2 years for aggravated assault, auto theft and fleeing officers. "My life was headed down the wrong road," said Cliburn, a Baptist. "I've kind of seen the light. I've been screwing up my whole life. I see this as a turning point in my life."

    Other prisons and programs have used religious thinking to try to turn inmates away from crime. The Prison Fellowship Ministries runs its Christ-centered InnerChange Freedom Initiative in prisons in Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa and Texas.

    The idea of promoting God behind bars has a long history. From 1829 to 1913, for instance, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia used a Quaker-inspired system in which prisoners were isolated from each other and made to perform labor in hopes of encouraging spiritual reflection and change.

    Inmates at the Lawtey prison in north Florida were told more than a month ago that it would be completely converted to a faith-based institution, prompting 111 to transfer out. But their beds were quickly filled with volunteers from other prisons.

    "We've developed a cocoon, a place where they can practice their faith and not have the severe negative pressures and interactions that naturally take place in some of our institutions," said Correction Secretary James Crosby Jr.

    Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called the prison part of "a major constitutional showdown" over government funding for religious programs.

    The ACLU is weighing the possibility of filing a lawsuit, waiting for the results of a test case challenging a state voucher program that gives students taxpayer money to attend religious schools.

    But officials hope the program will lead to fewer repeat offenders.

    The governor said about 38 percent of Florida's released inmates will be back in prison at some point.

    "Wouldn't it be nice if we could figure out a way to lower that 38 percent closer to zero percent, for your family and your community?" Bush asked to rousing applause Wednesday.

    During the dedication ceremony, many prisoners jumped to their feet and clapped in rhythm as a gospel singer sang "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." Some shouted "Sing it!" and "Amen!"
     
  2. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    The ACLU are licking there chops at this. I would say that if the per deim per inmate stayed the same as "reg" prision why not let her rip and see if it turns a neg into something pos. it cant be a club med type prision. that would be my only problem, spend the same money as elsewhere and track those released to see if the return to prision was lower than the 38% quoted. if it is than the aclu needs to go stick there nose up someone else's ass.
     
  3. nbdysfu
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    nbdysfu Member

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    All I can say is "Lawtey! Lawtey! Lawtey!":D
     
  4. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    far be it from me to speak badly of people who have found god and all that... but ive seen way too many who "find" god while they are prosoners only because it loosk good on their case files when it comes to parole. if its for real, then great, but you can never tell with them type of people. lets face it, you dont get to prison for being a nice guy.
     
  5. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    this is true but I am not going to knock the concept if it #1 helps SOME inmates.....#2 lowers the rate of returning, 2 and 3 timers #3 cost the same money per deim as normal prisons.... you have to say that they are really thinking out of the box in Florida......
     
  6. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    I myself seriously doubt all religions- I'm just an atheist at heart. However, if the people in these prisons are choosing to be there, rather than someone forcing it on them, than perhaps it will help. I doubt it will hurt. And, like someone said, if it halts recidivism because it's giving these guys/gals something else to believe in, I say go for it.

    The ACLU may be salivating at it, but I haven't heard them grumbling about the all gay high school my tax dollars are supporting in NYC.
     
  7. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    what everyones concern should be with this is the inevitability of this program being labeled a 'success' because a couple of inmates actually turned their life around and now we'll see these programs instituted around the country while the governers extoll the almighty virtues of christianity and how it saves people.
     
  8. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    according to the post there are 26 faiths represented by almost 800 in-mates. also stated to be a faith based prisopn. where did they say only christianity ? The sky is not falling Dk.
     
  9. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    If it stops crime, helps inmates rescue their lives and thus helps their families and society, I don't think whether they are religious should be our concern. Whatever works is fine with me. This is a voluntary program...how can that possibly be a concern? And, I may add, where does it say that Christianity is the only faith being supported????
     
  10. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    I've done a little research into this program and I was pretty happy to find that:

    In the program, volunteers will act as personal mentors, offering support to each inmate both during their incarceration and as they settle back into the community after serving their sentences.

    Inmates will participate in all the usual day-to-day prison activities, but during evenings and at weekends will undergo extra classes examining issues such as anger management, good parenting, and the effect of crime on victims, run by representatives from a variety of faiths including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

    As of today, 26 religions will be represented among Lawtey's population. Belief in a god is not a requirement of the program. But a commitment to self-improvement is. Of the 819 prisoners housed at Lawtey when the scheme was announced in early December, less than 100 have indicated that they do not wish to take part; they have been moved to facilities elsewhere in the state.


    Furthermore, there is some evidence that using faith can change the recidivism rates in a statistically important way. Right now, recidivism in Florida is roughly 50%. That's an unacceptably high number by anyone's standards.

    But advocates of the scheme say there is proof that a faith-based approach to criminal rehabilitation can cut recidivism, citing the Iowa project - the Inner Change Freedom Initiative - as an example.

    Results of a two-year study, released in June by the University of Pennsylvania and the conservative Manhattan Institute, showed that Inner Change graduates were 50 percent less likely to be arrested and 60 percent less likely to be re incarcerated than those who did not take part.


    I'll admit that this program is different than the one in Florida because it's strictly Christian and requires church membership afterwards. But, it shows a light at the end of the tunnel. If the new program can have similar results that would be a good thing for all involved: society, the incarcerated and their families.
     

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