Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Modern Panopticon

This Atlantic article describes tentative steps along what strikes me in general as a very desirable path in which incarceration for non-violent offenders is replaced by electronic supervision. Public Money is saved and fewer people spend time in the dehumanizing schools for crime than many prisons have become.

The article hints at some dark concerns, but it seems to me that most of what it worries about does not have to do with the choice between monitoring and incarceration but rather with the fact that in the US too many things are illegal, such as marijuana and prostitution and that our justice system is a bit heavy-handed more broadly. That is a separate, but very real problem. The two issues are linked in the sense that some reform to laws regarding the employment of certain types of felons would aid convicts in a monitoring regime in finding gainful employment.

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