Looks like an interesting discussion Mr. Coates has started with Ms. McArdle on ex-cons and how to put them to work - instead of just recycling them back to prison. I had to post my own riff off hid closing line: "dare I say, cultural?"
Not much of a dare. Here goes one:
It is beyond a doubt that our prison culture has its origins in the post Civil War era of an end to slavery. A simple example like Angola prison in Louisiana shows that (plantation to prison in one easy step). If you prefer more rigorous and studious material, then you should read any of Angela Davis' work on the prison/industrial complex.
I said pretty good list, but in fact it is a great list. What it needs is actual human effort to progress from concept to reality. Our current system is not just unsustainable it is inherently one that dehumanizes both the people jailed and their jailers, us.
Or perhaps you think Abu Ghraib was just a few "bad actors"?