Is it possible to abolish the prison?

Should we abolish prisons?

Imagine if there were no more prisons. Murderers, robbers and rapists could roam free - and maybe live or work next to you. But what if that led to less crime and not more?

This is the conviction of the former prison director Thomas Galli. "The doubts about the system have grown stronger over the years," he says in the podcast. "It is obvious and ultimately undisputed in the professional world that the bottom line is that it does not have a socializing effect when people are locked up in these closed institutions as punishment." In prisons, subcultures would form with values ​​and rules that contradict our values ​​and rules for society as a whole. The majority of offenders also become offenders again after being released.

Farewell to the urge to retaliate

Galli advocates alternative forms of punishment that do better justice to the individual cases. Courts should only determine the amount of the injustice, but not the penalty. To do this, we as a society would have to break away from the urge to retaliate. Wishing prisoners the worst out of pure revenge would not get us any further as a society, nor would it prevent further criminal offenses. The aim of punishment should always be rehabilitation and reparation. Only in a few individual cases, for example for sadistic or multiple murderers, should life imprisonment be imposed, says Galli. But even these could be accommodated in more humane conditions. (Philip Pramer, April 2nd, 2021)

Thomas Galli worked a total of 15 years in the German penal system, the last few years as a prison director. He quit in 2016 and has been working as a lawyer ever since. He has published several books in which he criticizes the judicial system, most recently "Locked up. Why prisons are of no use."

"Edition Future" is the STANDARD podcast about life and the world of tomorrow. Editors: Fabian Sommavilla, Jakob Pallinger, Philip Pramer | Editing & Production: Philip Pramer | Music: Tristan Linton / polkadot | Logo: Wolfram Leitner

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