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When She Woke
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The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

Created: 10/21/12

Replies: 25

Posted Oct. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

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The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

Did you ever think, even for a moment, that melachroming might actually be a good solution to the problems of our criminal justice system? What are other examples, both in the book and in the present, of laws or policies that sacrifice individual freedom for the collective good? When are such policies justified, and when do they go too far?

By way of background: In 1980 about half a million Americans were incarcerated; today about 2.3 million are, and almost 5 million are on probation. During this time violent crime has stayed the same or even been reduced but public policy has changed - such as minimum sentencing, "three strikes" laws and reducing the availability of early parole. Now, almost three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for non-violent crimes.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I had never heard of melachroming -- thought it was an invention of the author. I'll have to check this out if it is actually something that can be done. I have mixed feelings about the efficacy of such a procedure for the criminal. Seems as though it would simply end in "shunning" as in olden times and it would seem this would just force the criminal to consort with like "criminals" -- not sure where the rehabilitation help with that would be. With more violent crimes or sex offenders, it would offer an interesting alternative to incarceration. However, just because you SEE a red person, doesn't mean you could get away from them if they tried to murder you. I guess it would offer some protection to the innocent in the area of sex offenders, but there are such wide varieties of things considered as sex crimes and a greater chance for mistakes in "he said, she said" cases. I think I must have missed or read over the part about the fragmentation mentioned that might happen to Kayla. I gather that after a period of time your body systems break down after melachroming if it isn't turned around. Sorry I didn't read more carefully re that.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

Janeh - to the best of my knowledge, melachroming is entirely fictitious - I think the question is more along the lines of, if such a thing existed, would it be the panacea to our problems? And in response to that, I agree with you, no it wouldn't!


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janeh

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I think people who are a danger to themselves and others should be put in prison. So called "white collar" crimes and sometimes even crimes of passion are in a whole other category. These people should be punished by incarceration in direct proportion to their danger to society.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
alexandras

Join Date: 07/18/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

No, not for one second did I think it was a good solution and other than reducing the amount of people i the jail system, it didn't really do anything else. People who were chromed were still from the lower class, typically not highly educated, poor and of color. The only thing Chroming did was large scale shaming and causing those people who were victims of chroming (yes, I do believe they were victims) to fear for their lives. The government didn't care about them, there weren't many rules enforcing their safety or giving them any form of equality. Walking around with brightly pigmented skin already makes you a target and ensures that everyone knows your crime.

The government saves money because the system isn't paying for people who've conducted misdemeanors to sit in jail, but it doesn't do anything to help those people either. Non-violent offenders shouldn't be incarcerated at the level they currently are. The rates of recidivism are greatly increased once they leave and our system is horrible at rehabilitation. Much like in the book, we as a country don't make life easy for people who have been incarcerated. They're ostracized, forced to work menial jobs because they won't pass the criminal background check required for most office job and are therefore in some cases, forced to resort back to the crimes they committed. Chromes were treated the same way. In the whole book we only saw one Chrome with a job, as a cashier. And that Chrome was a yellow, misdemeanor.

I do believe that violent criminals should be kept behind bars, but when poor men (because they mostly are men) are being put behind bars because of possession of marijuana and other minor crimes, it spreads the system too thin and it's unable to focus on the people who should really be away from public.


Posted Oct. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I have to admit, melachroming sounds like a great idea for the worst offenders. While this sounds extreme, I often think about the amount of money taxpayers are paying to feed, house and entertain the very people being put away. Compared to the homeless families and those victims that have to live with the scars of criminal action, incarcerated individuals have it cushy. The money we spend on the incarcerated right now could certainly be better spent on feeding, housing, and educating our children. It could be better spent on social programs. It could even be better spent on roads and an infrastructure that is falling apart.

All that said, the judicial system we currently have is so chaotic, I'd hesitate to push melachroming. I agree with Alexandras: petty crimes don't deserve melachroming. If I had to come up with a list of those crimes in need of melachrome treatment: homicide, rape, kidnapping, terrorism, crimes against children, domestic violence, and grand robbery. I did note that the worst of the worse were just kept behind bars.

Melachroming was reversible at the end of the sentence, which I saw as fair. In the end, I had to remind myself that the world Hannah lived in was incredibly skewed and I’d probably end up an indecent shade of purple for reading anything I could get my hands on – or for thumbing my nose at the church.


Posted Oct. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debrap

Join Date: 10/26/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I thought the melachroming was an interesting solution in that it reduced the need for acutual brick and mortar institutions in which to hold individuals indefinitley..but, given the acute physical torture that Hannah seemed to have experience leading up to her release, I would not choose it as the best solution. I believe that the emphasis on social stigma attached to melachroming was the ultimate intended deterrent...but after years of dealing with navigating though the hate and fear from others that melachroming would involve, I am not sure the type of individual coming through that would be rehabilitated, rather I believe society could possibly end up with an even bigger problem.


Posted Oct. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I don't think our current incarceration system is doing a good job of handling societys problems, but then again it should not be expected that prisons can rectify all of the issues that put people in prison in the first place. I think there are better options for some of the non violent criminals than prison but do not think the melachroming idea is a great one. People would be treated so poorly, if identified in this way,they would never have a chance to turn their lives around.n In some parts of the world they cut of your fingers if you are caught stealing and no doubt other parts for other crimes, I don't think this is a good idea either.


Posted Oct. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I did think melachroming was a good solution until I saw the devastation it caused. Hannah, of course, was presented as "innocent" by our present standards which made her a sympathetic character. The way that those who were melachromed were made part of a caste of new untouchables made me rethink my position. I was especially struck by the melachromed "criminals" who acted in ways more "Christian" than those who were supposedly more enlightened. I started thinking in more racist terms as the book progressed.
I wondered how those who had been melachromed reacted when their coloring was reversed and they were able to return to "normal" society. I wondered if they would form a political party to overthrow the oppressive regime Hannah lived under. Hmmm, maybe an idea for a sequel????


Posted Oct. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 33

RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

The chroming was, to me, the most fascinating part of the book. I do agree that something needs to be done to fix our prison systems - and choosing between the two - chroming may actually be kinder than what is happening in today's prisons! I am NOT advocating for chroming - just noting that both systems are terribly flawed.

I do think it is right to put somebody in prison when they break serious laws - people can be devastatingly cruel to each other and deterrents need to exist. Melachroming is creative, but it also falls under "cruel" and "unusual" in terms of punishments.

I wish I had a solution for criminals that could both rehabilitate and, in whatever way possible, offer restitution to society. I don't, but you never know - maybe some other author/artist out there someday, will!


Posted Oct. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I agree with the previous posters that we should be imprisoning the violent criminals who harm others. There are other solutions for the the people who commit petty cries - bad checks, white collar crimes, etc.
In no case do I see a reason that melachroming would be a good solution.


Posted Oct. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I wish I could say that melachroming was a good idea, but I don't think it would work . It would certainly reduce the strain on the prison system. Although I could consider it for pedophiles. I don't care if they feel shunned. But overall it's an unworkable system and I agree with all those who say that it does nothing for rehabilitation, and certainly increases the rate of recidivism.


Posted Oct. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

JeanneW - what about older teens who are labeled as pedophiles due to statutory rape offenses? For example I recently read an article that noted that there were about 24,000 people on the sex offender registry in Illinois, including up to 2000 teenagers who had been in a consensual relationship with an underage teen - but are now on the sex offender registry for at least 10 years, and may also have served time.


Posted Oct. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terrio

Join Date: 08/16/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I have to admit that I, too, initially thought that chroming might not be such a bad idea for sex offenders, but you bring up a good point, DavinaMW. Our justice system seems less than just in some cases, so outwardly stigmatizing any offenders would be problematic.


Posted Oct. 31, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

There are few one size fits solutions to any problem, which is why, in theory, we have courts that have the flexibility to sentence people harshly or show clemency depending on the circumstances. The catch is that they can only interpret within the bounds of the law so, for example, because cannabis is a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, classified at the same level as heroin and ecstasy, a first-time, non-violent offender convicted of dealing cannabis can end up in prison for a very long time, possibly for life. Meanwhile cocaine, amphetamines etc are considered Schedule II drugs carrying lower penalties.


Posted Nov. 01, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
catharinel

Join Date: 10/19/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

At first, I thought melachroming would solve the problem of our overcrowded prisons - especially for nonviolent crimes. As I saw how the chromes were ostracized and had nowhere to turn, I realized how awful it was. Unfortunately, we have no good solution at the moment.


Posted Nov. 01, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
shelbyl

Join Date: 05/19/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

The idea of Chroming is very provocative. Our prisons are crowded, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. If the ultimate goal of incarceration is to rehabilitate criminals and there is even slight success then the system has done it's job. Chroming would take the onus from the citizens but that would be its' only advantage. The prejudice and ostracism experienced by the "criminal" would be excessive, likely leading to lynchings and beatings. Those "Chromed" become the dregs of society with no opportunity for success at any level. And then there is the issue of those accused in error or differing extremes of crime. Would one or two colors fit all?
Our current system is far less than perfect but Chroming is not an option.


Posted Nov. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jknapp

Join Date: 04/11/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

The idea of chroming was very disturbing to me. It reminded me of pilloring and allowing the criminal to be on display for the public. We have ways of segregating criminals in our society that come to mind such as registering sex offenders and laws that prohibit where they live, hiring practices regarding felons.
Some offenses that affect public safety warrant stronger measures than others, but prisons are full of persons who probably would be better rehabilitated in some other system than our current one.
The effect of chroming went way beyond rehabiliation, it was totally dehumanizing.


Posted Nov. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

It is certainly an answer to prison but then not sure want certain criminals on the street no matter their color - red, green, etc. Also seemed chroming could lead to death if not controlled, as could have happened to Kayla. We already label molesters- does this always work?

Peggy h


Pegh
Posted Nov. 02, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

In reply to Davinamw's earlier comment, the chroming of pedophiles is a great example of why melachroming won't work. As you pointed out using pedophiles as an example, there is no one size fits all solution. A 20-year-old man having consensual sex with a 17-year-old girl is nowhere near the same crime. Tagging them both with the same color puts the 20-year-old at great risk. The only fix to that problem that I can see is using variations on color, such as light blue for less serious offenses and dark blue for serious ones. But that would get ridiculous.


Posted Nov. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianem

Join Date: 10/25/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I think our system of incarceration needs great improvement-for example getting people job training and skills to survive when released and I didnt like the idea of melachroming because it could lead to people getting killed. I think we have a duty to rehabilitate people first. Getting out of prison is still difficult because its hard to get a job; if people find out you've been in prison you're treated in a different way. Melachroming is wrong.


Posted Nov. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I agree with many of the comments already given. We do have too many people in prison. I like the idea of restorative justice and I think that the drug laws put too many people in jail with too harsh of sentences. So I think there are places we can change the system without just letting people out. We already of people serving sentences with ankle bracelets. That is less restrictive. I have always thought we needed two types of prisons. The book sort of had that. The prisons were for the really bad people who were not going to get out and the Melacroming was for the lesser lawbreakers. I think prisons should be more about rehabilitation and restoring dignity. I think Melacroming is wrong in any case.


Posted Nov. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Erin G

Join Date: 05/24/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

At first it reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode where people who have broken the rules (in that case just by being rude, selfish and unkind) were shunned to the point that others around them pretended they couldn't even see them. Melachroming turned out to be very different. As it was described in the book, the released Chromes were targets for not only shunning but violent crime, and generally no one stopped or prosecuted the offenders. That's a twisted, distorted idea of justice. People can disagree on what will address the problem of criminality in the US, but I'm pretty sure melachroming isn't it.


Posted Nov. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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kimberlyb

Join Date: 01/12/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

Honestly, I truly considered if melachroming would be a good solution for violent and repeat offenders or more particularly sexual predators. Despite obvious privacy issues, I feel that would deter future and further criminal acts if people couldn't hide their crimes. I've been watching this reality show about parolees and their parole officers and it scares me, how you have these people living near you and while many are truly repentant and reformed, many more are not! So while they have a right to "privacy" I have a right to protection and I think melachroming will definitely grant me/us that right.


The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
-Abraham Lincoln

Posted Nov. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

I thought of the Amish system of shunning when I first read about chroming. It sounded like the same thing at first, but it isn't. A shunned Amish has a whole other world to exist in without shame - the chromed don't. An Amish who confesses and seeks forgiveness is welcomed back with thanksgiving and joy - the chromed have no recourse to return to their world.
It seems the whole idea is different - the Amish seek restoration, but those who chrome seek only shame and punishment. I wonder where our current prison system falls on that continuum. Does a freed convict feel that (s)he is welcome back in society or are they always colorlessly "chromed?"


Posted Jan. 31, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

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RE: The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. When is it right to put somebody in prison? Did you ever, even for a moment think that melachroming could be a good solution?

Chroming would be cruel and unusual punishment and I never took its serious option, although it made for an interesting book. Also, any time you start messing with the human body, it usually has unintended consequences like causing cancer years later. I don't see why true pedophiles are ever paroled. The damage they cause outweighs their right to parole, in my opinion. Consensual sex with a minor is a different situation, but I still think there should be serious consequences for it, particularly younger girls. Maybe some of the drug laws will change and we can concentrate on incarcerating really dangerous people and habitual offenders.


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