@Dusan I largely agree, although I don’t see how exactly they’re suffering while living off the back of society. Of course, I’ve never been in prison and it probably also very much depends on the conditions and practices there (f.e. how often is solitary confinement practiced, which does indeed seem to cause serious mental anguish in normal/sane people).
As for the pettier crimes, not to mention the formal ones, I think prisons are not only not working, but are counterproductive, even the “hotel” ones. In such cases I think social measures and psychological guidance would be much more effective (plus, of course, lightweight forced labour, aka communal service). Because right now our prisons (or at least in my country) tend to serve as “schools” for criminals where they exchange the secrets of their “trades” and they come out not only with even fewer chances of getting a normal job, but also with the skills and the contacts for further progress in their criminal “career”. Even if they got in for a small offense like possessing a bit of pot.


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