Thursday, September 18, 2014

"For profit" prisons

I see a lot of people complaining about the vile concept of "prisons for profit". The implied "solution" they seem to be suggesting is to make governments run them all again "non-profitably".

That's a non-solution.

That's like saying since murder-for-hire is a bad thing, we should have "tax"-funded murders instead (oh, wait...). Or charity murders. The root problem isn't always how you pay for something; sometimes it's the thing you are paying for.

Prisons are the problem, not whether they are for profit or "tax" funded.



  1. "We" gotta do something with law breakers...

    Here's my friend JD's idea

  2. I've always supported the idea of the perp paying reparations + damages to the victim, or to his estate if the victim is deceased. The reasoning is as follows.

    Say I get mugged. On a typical day at work I don't carry much cash, but I'll have my backpack containing lunch, an Android tablet and a few sundries. The perpetrator gets away with perhaps $50 in cash plus stolen goods which he can sell for perhaps another $50 if he's lucky. Total profit to the criminal, $100 or so.

    However, I've lost not just my cash and the tablet, but also my wallet, backpack and sundries. My replacement costs are much higher than his profit, say $500. Sending the perp to prison might give me a moment of schadenfreude, but it doesn't reimburse my $500.

    Of course, if I resist then I may end up needing new shoes or a new overcoat, adding to the cost. I could be injured and incur medical expenses or loss of earnings, which sends the cost skyrocketing. In the end it's not impossible I could be out of pocket to the tune of $10,000 or more, all for a mugging where the criminal makes a paltry $100.

    The present system punishes the criminal but does nothing to help the victim. Even if some form of victim compensation existed, you can bet it would be paid for from taxation (i.e. more theft from people who haven't committed a crime against me) and not by the actual perpetrator.

    I think a just system would force the perpetrator(s) to reimburse the victim(s) based on their losses, then apply punitive damages, again payable to the victim, based on the perpetrator's ability to pay. That way, if I'm wealthy but my hobby is beating up rough sleepers, my victims are reimbursed, by me, based on THEIR material losses (slight) but MY ability to pay damages (large).

    If the perp pays up, fine. We're done and dusted. Everyone goes home. Only if the perp refuses pay or is considered a flight risk should actual incarceration occur, and even then it should only be incarceration while he works off the debt.

  3. A free market would easily discourage absconders, and it might yet do it despite the state.

    Statists will scream at this, but here goes:

    Imagine a dark net version of kickstarter or indigogo.

    Some little shitbag costs you, and you don't want to waste time with the useless statist cops, who won't catch him anyway.

    for five minutes and a small fee (perhaps it'll be refunded when the creep comes to his senses) you enter the description and the place.

    Suddenly little creep has a price on his head, his knee caps, his hands or whatever else. He now has a few hours to make contact and start negotiating compensation.

    perhaps the site bombs social media users in your area with "wanted" notices and the reward amount.

    If the miscreant hasn't made contact within the allotted time, some very nasty people will be sharpening up knives or charging up cordless drills.

    let's say that a small fee from each contract goes into a kitty, to richly reward anyone who hunts down the murderer of a client of the site.

    I suspect that miscreants would be very few and far between, and most would be very keen to pay compensation, taking out high interest loans to do so if that is necessary.

    1. One thing I'm quite sure of is that none of us can imagine, fully, the solutions that will be put into action. Personally, I would avoid anything that smelled like revenge or punishment. It would be too easy to end up owing the bad guy compensation of his own. But, others might not be too worried about that.
      I do think "social media", or whatever comes after it, will play a big role in any future justice assurance.

    2. I agree fully, that predicting the free market future is like trying to predict women's fashions five years from now.

      We know there will be womens' fashions, but we are not central planners, decreeing what different designers will be coming up with and individual women choosing to buy - or to leave in the shops. so we are going to get big chunks of our guesses wrong.

      There will always be nasty stuff going on (I know I'm stating the obvious and that neither you nor any other libertarian has ever claimed that bad deeds and bad people will somehow vanish), but at least without a state, it won't be on such a large scale, and without central banks and their counterfeiting, and without taxes, it will be far less funded.

      Though I personally disagree with vendetta, the idea of compensation for loss suffered, plus a punitive element, is not inconsistent with the price for buying off the desire to indulge in vendetta.

      That potential for vendetta is certain to focus the mind of any miscreant with an IQ of greater than about 70