Best Rehabilitation / Recidivism Reduction Method For Prisoners

I would like to propose what I believe would be the best rehabilitation / recidivism reduction method for most criminals. Prisoners should be made to work for real businesses and be allowed to save the money they earn there. This would allow them to learn real skills that will give them hope after they are released and reduce the risk of them reoffending. Further, it will give them a bank account with money they can use to help in their transition after release. They will also have a resume with years of useful work experience to point to when they try to get jobs when they get out.

How it would work:

  1. A criminal commits a crime and is tried and sentenced (this system would apply for anyone with a sentence over 3 months, shorter than that would just be in a cell).
  2. The prisoner has the option of either sitting in a cell with no privileges (no books, TV, gym equipment, entertainment of any kind) or they can enter the work system.
  3. The prisoner would register in the work system and list off any education, skills, and work experience they have. This would be a public online auction system. Any company could bid an hourly rate for that prisoner’s work. Rebidding would happen every 3 months for each prisoner. There could be an option for the prisoner to select from any of the top bidding companies for the type of work he would most prefer.
  4. The winning company would then have the prisoner transferred to a jail near the work site.
  5. Each day (up to 5 days a week, 8 hours a day) the prisoner would work for the company. That might be doing anything from gardening to fast food service to accounting depending on the prisoner’s skills. All other time would be spent in the jail facility. The prisoner would have access to a free online education, gym, group TV room and other privileges like that.
  6. All funds earned by the prisoner would be paid into a bank account. Up to 50% of the earnings could be used for victim restitution, the rest would be the prisoner’s savings for when they get out. Prisoner’s would not be allowed access to funds until release. Prisoner funds would be kept in a inflation protected, FDIC insured bank account. VERY IMPORTANT: The state would never be able to take any amount of this money as reimbursement for court or jail expenses. If this happened the system would just turn into slavery. Better to shut down this system then allow the state to take any money at all.
  7. If the prisoner attempted to escape, he would lose the right to work and lose the right to any privileges for a period of time (maybe 3, 6, or 12 months?). He would sit alone in a cell with nothing to do all day except eat meals. The same penalty would apply for any prisoner who used drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most prisoners could be allowed to go to work without restraints or guard supervision. For example, a bus could pick up prisoners and take them to work at a McDonald’s each day and the state would not need to pay for a guard or for restraints.
  8. Companies would write a monthly review of the prisoner’s work performance. A company that was found to be dishonest or even inaccurate would have to pay triple for prisoner services in future bidding for one year. This work record would be public for other companies to review in the bidding process, and for the prisoner to use as his resume after release.

The benefit to this system is that everyone wins:

  • The victim gets MUCH more reimbursement than most victim’s do currently. Say a criminal was convicted of armed robbery and stole $20,000 and spent it. That prisoner would eventually fully repay this amount through their work during the 10 year prison sentence. Even the families of a murder victim would approve this, as the judge could put a reimbursement value for the family – probably something like $2,500,000. During the prisoner’s 25 year murder sentence, that prisoner would be repaying the victim’s family while rehabilitating themselves and learning real skills.
  • The state would save a ton of money in guarding prisoners, mental health costs from prisoners being locked up with nothing to do but fight or do drugs, education costs in trying to train prisoners, and in future court costs for repeat offenders.
  • The prisoner would learn valuable real-life work skills in a protected environment. The prisoner would also build up a bank account so that he could get his life restarted after release. The prisoner could also just continue doing the job they had been doing in prison while they transition back to real life.



Prediction: HBO Subscribers Cancel En Masse

I have a prediction that HBO is going to lose a huge proportion of their subscribers now that Game of Thrones is finished and especially since it finished in a way that was the dissatisfying for so many people. I for one am canceling immediately. I actually thought the ending was okay, but HBO has nothing left that interests me.

What Truly Brings Happiness For Me?

For many years now I have meticulously tracked in a spreadsheet all the important things to me that I did that day. It looks like this (and extends out with many more columns and rows):

Today, I decided to correlate one column – Happiness – with each of the other columns. I have rated Happiness on a scale of 1-10 for years each day. I have also rated a number of other things on a scale of 1-10 each day for years.  I used Google Sheet’s =correl function to see how Happiness varied in conjunction with other things like sex, workouts, work hours, naps, bed time, caffeine and alcohol use, learning, etc. I applied it for every day of September 27, 2018 through today May 17, 2019… a period of about 8 months.

One important note is that correlation is not causation. I do find it helpful to see what behaviors and daily activities most strongly correlate with happiness though. I also correlated happiness the next day with activities to see which activities cause happiness the day after doing them.

Here are my results:

  1. The activity with the highest correlation to happiness both the day of (0.52) and the day after (0.24) surprised me… it is how well I got along with my wife Laurel. Apparently the saying “Happy wife, happy life” has some real roots!
  2. Going to bed at an early time and getting a good night’s sleep had a correlation of 0.27 same day and 0.23 day after happiness.
  3. The next activity was my workout – the harder workout I did, the happier I was. Same day correlation was 0.24 and day after correlation was 0.09.
  4. The next activity that truly surprised me was Positive Feedback – giving encouragement and appreciation to people around me was strongly correlated with same day (0.23) and next day (0.20) happiness.
  5. Personal Reflection, which is a somewhat blurry activity consisting of how thoughtful I was had a correlation of 0.20 same day and 0.12 next day happiness.
  6. Social interactions were next with a same day correlation of 0.15 and a next day correlation of 0.0.
  7. Learning new things had a correlation of 0.13 same day and 0.16 next day happiness.
  8. Caffeine usage had a light positive correlation to happiness at 0.13 same day and 0.0 next day.

Alcohol usage had a strong NEGATIVE correlation to happiness with same day happiness of -0.13 and next day happiness of -0.26. Apparently I should never drink since I am less happy when I do and much less happy the next day.

Activities with very low or no correlation to happiness included Work Hours, Income Growth, Sex, and Blog Posts.

Future Predictions from 2019

I think it is a helpful idea to make predictions about the future then see in a year if they have come true or not. Here are my predictions:

  1. By June 2020, the trade wars Trump started along with the extremely high amount of quantitative easing put in place by central banks worldwide will cause inflation to rise sharply and the US economy to slow down or even start shrinking.
  2. AI will have made major advances outside of Starcraft / image recognition / speech to text and will be used in major new areas once considered the reserve of only humans. This will include many types of factory jobs / security jobs / anything repetitive involving light judgement. People will still say this is not true general intelligence as the line continues to be moved here.
  3. The United States will have had military conflicts with a nation – probably Iran or maybe North Korea or China. Trump has surrounded himself with war hawks. My guess is a combination of investigations into his deals with Russia / Saudi Arabi and obstruction of justice will hurt his 2020 election prospects and he will be looking for a distraction. My guess is the conflict will come from a Chinese – American conflict in the South China Sea. China will buzz a US airplane or ship and will be shot down. Something similar could happen near Iran.
  4. Venezuela’s dictator Maduro will have used military support from Russia along with his own internal security to shut down the revolution there and will have strengthened his hold like Al-Assad did in Syria.
  5. My golf handicap will go to 10 by June 2020 from it’s current 19.
  6. Diseases once thought cured will expand much further due to anti-vaxxers and antibiotic resistant strains rising. I predict 5x the infections and deaths in 2020 as compared to 2018.
  7. We will all have access to an amazing new device that makes our lives better. This will be as revolutionary as mobile phones.
  8. Smartphone addiction will go up to 10x the rate it is currently. Car accidents will rise dramatically as people simply become too addicted to even stop looking at them as they drive. Self driving cars will be allowed by regulators to help combat this issue.

Gresham’s Law Says America In Trouble

Gresham’s Law, named for the financier Thomas Gresham, states that in a system of circulating currency, forged currency will tend to drive out real currency, as real currency is hoarded and forged currency is spent. We see a similar result in human systems, as with bad behavior driving out good behavior in a crumbling moral system, or bad practices driving out good practices in a crumbling economic system. Generally, regulation and oversight are required to prevent results that follow Gresham’s Law.

Emergency Climate Situation

Look at that chart. CO2 levels are now higher than they have been in millions of years.

The solution here is easy- switch to nuclear power for power plants and most transportation (electric cars and nuclear powered cargo ships like our navy ships), and tax any CO2 generating activity at a high level globally.

Why won’t we switch to nuclear power? Dictators in Saudi Arabi and Russia and other countries are investing enormous amounts of money in an effort to make nuclear power look bad. Keep in mind though that nuclear power has killed far less people than fossil fuel power has per megawatt generated. Fossil fuel pollution shortens the average lifespan of people in Los Angeles by around three years and people in Beijing by about ten years.

Come on people, we need a revolution.