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Chain Gangs To Return to Roads of Alabama: State Hopes Revival Will Deter Crime

NCJ Number
Keepers' Voice Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: (Spring 1995) Pages: 25-26
R Bragg
Date Published
2 pages
Alabama's Prison Commissioner Ron Jones believes that prison should be difficult for inmates and plans to put 400 inmates in leg irons and set them to work on Alabama's roadsides, despite protests that leg irons represent an outmoded part of the United States correctional system.
Jones said that deterrence of crime among youth is the main reason for chain gangs. The program will involve 12-hour days of stoop labor by repeat offenders, who will be shackled to four other men by 8 feet of chain. The chain gangs will work in groups of 30-90, under guard. The shackles will not be as bulky as the old leg irons. The chain gangs are part of a new kind of prison reform. Mississippi plans to dress inmates in striped uniforms to humiliate them; prisons all over the country are denying inmates television, tobacco, and even visits. Capital punishment is also receiving new acceptance, and legislators are considering the benefits of caning. Human rights advocates argue that argue that chain gangs are inhuman. They also argue that the threat of punishment has never produced deterrence, because most street crime is committed by people who think they will not be caught. Other arguments are that inmates will respond with violence and that correctional guards will be put at risk. Photograph


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