Frequently the complaint is made that prison to too soft on prisoners, especially young prisoners. They have Playstations! And TVs! And a pool table! Now some of these criticisms are probably valid but some of them seem to stem from the idea that prison should be necessarily worse than the outside world. If the young people actually prefer prison to the outside world, the logic goes, then surely we’re doing something wrong! For the person who thinks that, here is how you’d make prison worse than the outside world for some young people.
- Verbally abuse them by telling them they’re scum who are hated by everyone who’s ever met them, especially their dad.
- Hit them around the head regularly. Every now and again punch them in the gut.
- For meal times leave a bit of milk and some cereal in their cell. Also leave a note saying that if they want anything else they’ll have to get it from the shop. Feel free to have a shop nearby they can access, but don’t leave them any money.
- Don’t stop prison fights. Wait till it’s over then only give the attacker a further sentence 25% of the time.
- Regularly throw them out of their cell for a few nights, forcing them to sleep in the canteen.
- Fine them whenever they break any rules and then choose one guard whose job it will be to threaten injury, death, and the harming of their loved ones whenever they walk past them if they don’t pay those fines tomorrow.
If you want to make prisoner harder for some young people than their outside life, you can’t just do one of these things. Accomplish all of them and you may just succeed in making their life worse.
It’s not so much that prison is soft on people, it’s more that life is astonishingly hard on some.