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Penal Reform needed? (USA)

The United States has more people (per capita) in prison than any other country in the world. What, if anything, should be done?
Have you ever been in jail/prison?
Yes, sentenced to serve time.
Yes, at least overnight.
Yes, arrested and held, but not overnight.
Who do you know that has been sentenced to serve time?
Member of immediate family.
Member of extended family who lived in my home.
Close friend.
Casual acquaintance who I liked.
Person I knew.
If you clicked one of the choices in the previous question, did that person deserved to be sent to jail?
Yes, mostly.
Not sure.
Probably not.
Definitely not.
What do you think of overall conditions in American prisons and jails.
Should be harder---prisoners are coddled.
Just about right.
Should be less harsh---prisons are inhuman.
How many of the current USA prisoners actually ought to be in prison, for the good of society or themselves?
Every one of them and more.
Almost all of them with a few exceptions.
Most of them.
Maybe about half.
Less than half. Most could safely be released.
Relatively few of them really need to be incarcerated.
None. Prisons should be abolished in favor of other methods of reform.
Do you think the USA judicial system does a good job of determining who should be in prison and who should not?
Yes, the system fairly determines sentencing.
As good as can be expected.
No, the system is unfair and needs to be fixed.
What is the reason, do you think, why America sends more people to prison than any other country in the world?
America is rich enough to be able to afford lots of prisons.
Many prisons are private enterprises, and American suppports private enterprise.
Americans are fundamentally less law-abiding than other countries.
Americans are more vindictive and less compassionate than other countries.
The freedom of owning guns makes Americans commit more serious crimes.
The US gap between rich and poor makes more people angry about their poverty.
American has a cultural tradition of solving social problems with imprisonment.
Americans are racists, and take delight in sending Blacks to prison.
Americans lack the imagination to find other ways to solve societal problems.
Americans believe law-abiding people have a right to have criminal-free communities.
Too many minorities, who are born criminals
What do you think should be society's most important reason for putting people in prison?
To punish them.
To rehabilitate them.
To get them off the streets.
To provide income and jobs in the prison industry.
Who do you think is in control of the prison environment?
Knowledgeable and responsible prison authorities.
Abusive and sadistic guards.
A power structure among the prisoners.
Nobody--it's chaos and anarchy inside.
Which of the following do you think are widespread within the prison population?
Casual homosexuality.
Dangerous/lethal weapons.
Sadistic guards.
Sadistic prisoners.
Untreated psychiatric illness.
Innocents, wrongly convicted.
This poll was created on 2004-09-26 11:12:41 by jtur88