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Representation in prison
Should everyone send a relative or a friend in there?
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2014/04/11
9:37am
Robert
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‘Representation’ is according to some plan.  You might represent someone/something,  or you put someone/something forward for that purpose.

Nowadays they talk about ‘prison representation,’  as if  ethnic groups are so proud to be represented by their own members in there.  Actually it’s not a so new  usage,  but it sounds all wrong.

But I don’t know a good word for when a group is too concentrated in an environment, relative to others, against their own free will.

2014/04/11
10:45am
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I don’t know a single word.

But, according to recent news reports, several of our (U.S.) Reprentatives may be sent to prison.

2014/04/11
1:18pm
deaconB
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It seems to me that you’re  obsessing on one definition of “representation” to the exclusion of the other nine. 

A representative need not be a proxy. It may simply be a stand-in.

A pushpin on a map might represent a arsonist. A tin soldier might represent a battalion.  A lapel pin might represent the donation of 40 units of whole blood.

If you think that people are generally pretty much the same, from group to group,  then the over-representation of males and other oppressed minorities and the under-representation of banksters in prison suggests the constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” isn’t working.  If you think you and yours are only in conflict with the law when the legislators goofed, and there should be more of the dregs of society in prison, it means something else.

2014/04/12
8:14am
polistra
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I don’t see how “against their own free will” enters into the question.  People end up in prison for acts they committed by their own free will, knowing that prison was among the possible consequences.  Professional criminals have an acute and highly objective measurement of risk versus benefit.

We make reasonable exceptions for extremely slow-witted people who truly don’t understand what they’re doing, but in general those people are already in some kind of institution.

Some criminals know that they are exempted from prison by their ethnicity or age, which tends to give them a sense of freedom.  But if they run wild based on this expectation, sooner or later they run beyond even the limits set by the ACLU, and may have to endure a brief probation or pay a small fine.

(Note: I served time in OSR, the “Shawshank” prison, back in the ’60s, so I know what I’m talking about.)

2014/04/12
8:52pm
deaconB
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polistra said
I don’t see how “against their own free will” enters into the question.  People end up in prison for acts they committed by their own free will, knowing that prison was among the possible consequences. 

Perhaps in the country you live in, but not in the USA. As a former newspaper editor/publisher, I regularly saw people end up in prison, convicted of crimes they did not commit.

The prosecutor has almost unlimited resources to investigate and prosecute crimes.   But if you were locked up and couldn’t work, how long could you even keep paying the rent?  Mounting a successful defense for a felony would pay for a pretty snazzy house, and when you’re found not guilty, you don’t get that money back.  So if it’s a choice between going to prison or having one’s kids raped in foster “care” because you can’t care for them, living on the streets, what does the loving and responsible parent do?

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