I have asked the question before & I will ask it again. What actually is the point of locking up so-called miscreants? We are all together on this planet in a remote part of the Universe. We might be alone in it, who knows? Until there is evidence to the contrary I shall continue to harbour the thought there we are alone. Nobody asks to be born. Some of us are more fortunate than others in the circumstances of our birth & existence. Those who are deemed criminals are mostly from broken homes & more often than not, not white.
As soon as someone is born or soon after anyway, they are deemed to be good or bad. People have to conform. They have to please parents, other relatives, teachers at school, employers, police, etc etc. The question has to be asked, did they ask to be born. If life is so valuable, why do people lead such unfortunate lives.
Politicians & others talk about people who don’t want to work. Excuse me, Gordon Brown & others, they didn’t ask to be born. People who have children should be held accountable. They should ask themselves what their motives are for bringing a life into the World.
Myself, I was sent to boarding school in 1954 at the age of 8. I (& everybody else there) suffered terribly. The boys in the school were made to feel worthless. Corporal punishment in one form or another was rife. It was a brutalising experience.
Back to the subject of prison. Punishment is what society does to supposed miscreants. In some societies it is dissent. In other societies it is for more serious things. But there is little done to prevent crime in the first place. Punishment whether it be prison or whether it be execution or the stocks or fines or other tortures is society’s way of dealing with supposed miscreants. But in the year 2011, after 2 millennia of supposed civilisation nobody has thought this through. It could be that the human is so genetically disposed that it is irredeemable. The achievements of the human race have been immense. It all begins with language. From that has arisen art, music writing, technology, cosmology, science, philosophy, society, thought, religion & mythology even. But somehow the ideas of civilisation haven’t included what to do with miscreants besides making them suffer.
You know something? Buddhism is the answer. Buddhist societies are normally more harmonious & peaceful than non-Buddhist societies.