Thursday, December 6, 2012
Quality in Confinement: An Ethical View
I can't imagine a place where there would be a "purpose" to limit quality; that is, aside from prisons where people go to be punished rather than living the high life. But does that mean that the quality perspective should be entirely overlooked? I think not...
It's no small decision to send someone to jail, for any time at all, let alone for life. So it should also be no small decision as to what they can/should/or have to do once there. Many questions and responses can be posed that shake the ethical foundations of the prison and confinement process. One such question: How high-quality of a life do they deserve? Or not deserve? They are there to be punished after all, so what do they really deserve, and how would the system be changed?
Quality teachings suggest looking to the customer for the answer, but using this methodology in this scenario doesn't make sense, so what then? If quality cannot be changed then what about time or productivity? Again quality methods don't seem to make sense, the "only" option left to consider is finding a way to reduce the costs, and this is where the ethical boundaries can begin to be pushed...
The high costs of the current prison system almost demands that something be done, but the ethical boundaries that wrap around the system slow progress. I propose the use of the prisoners for greater purposes than menial things like stamping out license plates or picking up trash from the side of the road. I propose changing the system to one that allows the inmates to grow and gain abilities and purpose. Help them find something to drive them towards good, and in that way, maybe their quality of life can be improved as well as of those around the person. From this, able bodied people would be able to be released from prison, potentially even early, and make an impact around them. This would potentially have a great impact on the system as a whole, but that idealism wouldn't last long, there are going to be those that fight changing to the very end, and with those people, the opposite direction could be taken. Their quality of life could be diminished and diminished until they reach a status little more than slaves; where free labor is all the value they hold, until maybe they find it in themselves to change. Until they find that it is better for them to come to the side of good where they can then not only find fulfillment in the world around them, but to also find a way to fulfill the world around them. The ethical boundary that makes us shy away from this, but I’ll pose the question again; what kind of quality of life do they really deserve? I believe that this scenario allows the inmates to choose their direction, and would ultimately look to joining the side of good.