Is incarceration incoherent?

Have a look at this report, which passes on news that at the end of 2006, one in every thirty-one US adults was in prison or jail or on parole.  At the moment, more than 1% of America’s population is incarcerated.  Here’s further news that the US’s prison population dwarfs that of other countries (China and Iran are offered up in comparison).  The US has about 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the people on the planet who are in jail are in jail in the USA.

You can wonder what could possibly justify a state locking up so very many of its citizens.  Philosophers and others go on about deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, protecting the masses and other things in this connection.  Maybe I’m half-convinced by Nietzsche’s claim that we lock other people up for a long list of changing, incoherent reasons.  It’s possible that there’s no general justification for the practice, because it’s not a single practice at all.  If this sort of incoherence is built into our supposed justification of punishment, it’s likely that the consequences of punishment are a hodgepodge too.  If Nietzsche is right, probably we don’t mean to do anything in particular when we incarcerate a large chunk of the population, and probably, therefore, we don’t achieve anything in particular either.

if we look away from justifications, anyway, we might be reminded of the fact that not all human beings in our past and present have taken to locking each other up with such enthusiasm.  Jail isn’t in the natural course of a human life — probably we do better and have done better by doing other things.  Whatever it is, incarceration is something which happens when nearly everything else goes wrong.  Maybe those statistics point to something which is going very wrong in lots of American lives.  Maybe there’s no single thing to be explained at the back of that, either.

(tratto da )

Che dire? In primo luogo, che non esiste il diritto – inteso come diritto naturale – neppure da parte dello stato, di privare un essere umano della propria libertà; caso mai, è più corretto definire questa usanza come potere arbitrario, esercitato dal più forte per riaffermare la propria supremazia.  In secondo luogo, il c.d. "fine rieducativo della pena" è pura ipocrisia di schietta derivazione ecclesiastica: inquisizione docet. Da ultimo – parlo per me – preferirei che mi condannassero a morte piuttosto di venir segregato in carcere per trent’anni.


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