A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

San Quentin Prison is located next to San Francisco, California, and is known as one of the most “humane and luxurious” prisons in the world.

It was founded in 1852 and now houses more than 4,000 prisoners, all of whom are men, including more than 700 death row prisoners. The prison system in the United States can be divided into four levels. The fourth level represents the most dangerous, and the prisoners have the lowest degree of freedom. San Quentin Prison mainly detains first- and second-degree prisoners. It is said that prisoners all over the United States want to enter the San Quentin prison after squeezing their heads.

The location of San Quentin Prison▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

In February last year, scholars from the East Asia Institute of the University of California, Berkeley organized an in-depth visit to San Quentin prison. The day before the departure, I made a special statement: pay attention to words and deeds during the visit, do not take pictures during the whole process, and do not irritate the prisoners. There are also requirements for dressing: only black, red or white clothes (to prevent color collision with prison uniforms) , no accessories, high heels, etc.

We were accompanied by a senior executive from a German prison, so the guide lineup is extremely large: a professional commentator, four to five inmate volunteers accompany us throughout the process, and provide puzzle-solving and chat services at any time.

San Quentin prison panorama

Photographer: Wikimedia Commons ▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

Overly comfortable environment

church

As soon as we entered the gate, we came to the Christian church inside the prison. Six prisoners stood up in front of us, telling us their stories and answering any questions we have. Coincidentally, they include yellow, brown, black, and white skin tones, and are of diverse races.

In their narration, we learned that San Quentin Prison is like a big school to them. Inmates can choose various clubs of their interest, form sports teams, publish publications, and even take free courses in some of the world’s top universities nearby. Courses, such as those at Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Davis, cultivate skills while cultivating sentiment.

The prisoners said: Living here is like heaven, they feel full and happy. However, if you want to enter this prison, you also need to rely on certain points. The specific calculation method is related to the number of years of sentence (the longer the more advantageous) , the learning ability, etc.

Inside the San Quentin Prison Church

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

The six prisoners talked freely, in good spirits, occasionally a little American humor, and the chat process was relaxed and relaxed. Our questions are also “direct to the soul”, most of which are about their crimes. Most of them committed homicide, robbery, and kidnapping before the age of 20 and needed to be detained for more than 20 years.

What impressed me was a handsome white boy who stabbed a man to death in a dispute at his girlfriend’s birthday party when he was 18 years old and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

American society has given a lot of care to the inmates in San Quentin prison. For example, sports stars and entertainers will come to visit in prison. The picture shows the Warriors visiting San Quentin Prison.

Picture: San Quentin State Prison▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

hospital

It is said that many prisoners rushed to the well-equipped hospital and medical security benefits in San Quentin Prison. The inmates in the hospital were dressed in prison uniforms, and they came and went freely, or chatted together, talking and laughing. The guards were sparse and relaxed, and occasionally joked and greeted the prisoners.

We came to the psychotherapy room, whose service purpose is to protect the mental health of the prisoners and face life positively. This time the prisoner responsible for the narration shot and killed a family of three people for robbery, and was eventually sentenced to 120 years in prison, which is actually tantamount to life imprisonment. He showed great regret and prayed for the family of three who died. He admitted that although he could not leave San Quentin for life, his life here was quite rich and he could do many things he wanted to do.

In addition to guaranteed medical care, medical workshops are sometimes held to teach health knowledge to some prisoners

Picture: San Quentin News▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

playground

Next we came to the playground inside the prison, which coincided with the time when the prisoners were released. They are enthusiastically exercising on various ball games and equipment courts, and many people are sitting lazily, lying down and basking in the sun. Inmate representatives introduced that their daily exercise time is from 8 in the morning to 3:45 in the afternoon. The prison organizes various sports competitions every year.

Here I have to introduce the well-known San Quentin prison basketball team in the United States. The team has won some championships, and there are many basketball players in the team, and some have even reached the level of the NBA’s second-level league NBDL. Some people have gone to the Golden State Warriors to try out. All members of the Warriors have also visited San Quentin Prison. There is a movie called “San Quentin Prison Basketball Team” based on these real people.

Healthy and sunny prison life

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

factory

If I remember correctly, all the inmates’ food, housing, medical and other activities in the San Quentin prison are free. In addition, they can actually earn money in the prison. The factory in the prison occupies a large area, which involves parts processing and other work. The prisoners were very engaged in their work, and they greeted us warmly when they saw us walking by.

The prisoner’s representative here is a young brother who is proficient in computers and other technological products who looks exactly like Iverson. At the age of fifteen, he shot and killed a gang boss in a street fight and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. It is now the 21st year. He proudly said that the minimum wage for working in a factory is sixty cents per hour, which can be as much as one dollar. He also showed us watches, ipads, and music discs he made with parts.

Working scenes of some prisoners

Picture: marinij.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

There is also library work, but be aware that not all work in prison is the same. There will also be kitchen, laundry or maintenance work.

Picture: marinij.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

High-end dormitory 

Finally, you can visit the core area of ​​the prison-the prisoners’ dormitory. The first is the two-person room for ordinary prisoners: each room is equipped with a TV, an open toilet, and a device for cooking and cooking. Apart from the narrow space, there are almost no other problems. At the end of the public corridor is the bathroom. I stopped and watched. The prisoners inside were humming and rubbing their bodies, enjoying it drunk.

As we walked in the aisle, the prisoners moved freely around us. Because their state was so natural, they could not even feel that they were guilty of sin. The prisoner volunteers around me told me: Actually, most of the prison life in the movie is fictional, and it’s actually not that dark.

The small bed in the double room doesn’t seem to fit Green

图:YouTube@Golden State Warriors▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

Then the guide took us to visit the isolation cell. Most of these prisoners held in single rooms have some emotional problems, such as large conflicts with roommates, and being deemed dangerous. Some of them were silent, some paced back and forth. Another is playing chess with his family members outside the cell attentively.

Isolation cell

Picture: sfexaminer.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

The highlight is visiting the dormitory of severe punishment/death sentence inmates. As soon as I entered the gate, I felt that the level of defense had increased significantly, the movement of prisoners had been restricted, the prison guards had live ammunition, and the number had also increased. Here are all single rooms, with pictures and information of the prisoners posted at the door of each room. Through the doors and windows, I saw that the executed prisoners were very calm. Most of them were using laptops, watching TV, or reading and writing. Some prisoners have reached the age of elders, and it is difficult to walk, and they need the support of prison guards.

There are also many discussions about the abolition of the death penalty

图:By KHALEDA RAHMAN FOR DAILYMAIL.COM▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

It is said that due to the very limited number of execution places in San Quentin, the progress of the death penalty has been extremely slow. Some prisoners on death row have waited for decades, and died in prison before they even waited for the death penalty.

The guide led us through the door of the death penalty injection room, which was a thick and solemn wooden door that was closed tightly.

Death Penalty Injection Device

Photographer: Wikimedia Commons ▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

After visiting the various types of cells, what impressed me the most was the comfortable living conditions of the prisoners and the harmonious relationship between them and the prison administrators.

One of the measures that subverted my perception of the concept of “prison” is that the San Quentin Prison grants prisoners who behave well the right to reunite with their families for two days at regular intervals. Therefore, they do not even see the pain of being in jail, but they have a strong positive preparation and yearning for a new life in the future.

Media department composed of prisoners and volunteers

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

You can see the electronic version of its publication on the official website

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

Crime and punishment 

“Humanization” is the biggest feature of San Quentin prison. And behind it is the “forgiveness” from the core spirit of Christianity.

So we can see that the original or final purpose of the San Quentin Prison is to help prisoners reflect on themselves, cultivate themselves, and improve themselves, so that they can better integrate into society and return to their families after being released from prison. In fact, many young offenders mentioned the root cause of their crimes, and the most talked about it was family factors—single-parent families or lack of parental care. Therefore, for the majority of mild criminals, society should really give them the maximum patience and give them a chance to re-behave.

Many prisons in California have adult schools, and universities usually participate in cooperation. Prisoners can accept courses and obtain relevant certificates after passing the assessment. The cooperative resources and achievements of San Quentin Prison are particularly outstanding.

According to a report in 2019, of the 4,320 men imprisoned in San Quentin Prison that year, 1,180 received various levels of education or training. Of these, 379 are participating in university courses, including 30 men sentenced to death. Figure 2 shows the graduation ceremony scene in prison.

Picture 1: marinij.com; Picture 2: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

San Quentin Prison also has art-related projects including music, art, creative writing, etc.

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?
A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

In fact, behind this kind of “humanized prison mode” is the assumption of “human nature is good”-people commit crimes just astray for a while, and prisoners still deserve to be cared for and respected. That’s why all forgiveness, tolerance, and reshaping make sense.

I discussed the issue of “forgiveness” with a Christian at the Holocaust Memorial in Houston for a long time. He said, “Even God forgave this murderer. What qualifications do you have not to forgive him?” It is true, in one. In a highly civilized society, I certainly agree with this humanized prison model, but its premise is that most criminals must be people with sound minds, mental health, normal spirits, and a high degree of self-discipline. Otherwise, it will be a great damage to social fairness and justice and people’s living environment.

Through this trip to San Quentin Prison, I questioned the choice of “crime and punishment” in the American judicial system. Even with this extremely humane prison model, the number of inmates in American prisons ranks first in the world throughout the year, and there are especially many cases of youth using guns to commit crimes. A more serious problem is that, according to the guide, the proportion of prisoners released from prison in the United States once committed a staggering 70%. Although it has dropped to 45% in 2019, it is still not optimistic. This result seems to be ridiculing: the role of prisons in probating and reshaping prisoners is actually quite limited and wishful thinking.

Excessive kindness to prisoners actually endangers social order and undermines justice in a disguised form. Prisoners need to pay a certain price for their crimes, and this price should start from the sentence.

Publications issued by San Quentin Prison pay tribute to death row inmates who died of new coronary pneumonia

Picture: sanquentinnews.com▾

A day trip to the most luxurious prison in the United States, what did I see?

“Forgiveness” should even come from the heart of the victim or the victim’s family-they forgive the perpetrator only for the reason of letting go of obsession and letting go of themselves, and must not be coerced by others or society. Any tolerance or forgiveness from non-parties seems absurd and ridiculous. This kind of generosity of others is really a hooligan-like a knife stuck in my heart, what right do others say that it hurts or doesn’t matter?

Secondly, there should be certain punishments and vigilance in prison. If the prison is as comfortable as heaven, and even prisoners can live a better life in prison than outside the prison, why should prisoners be afraid to commit crimes? Probation and education seem to be civilized, but they will only have an effect on some people. What is it that can work for everyone? It is fear.

Furthermore, the tolerance and benevolence advocated by the United States need to complement the majesty and punishment of the law, just like paying attention to individual living conditions while also taking into account the overall development effect of society. Every country needs to find a balance between severe penal laws and humane care, so as to protect the freedom and fairness of the majority of people.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-day-trip-to-the-most-luxurious-prison-in-the-united-states-what-did-i-see/
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