U.S. Prison Reform
Three inmates could be released from prison today. Two of them will end up right back in the system within the next three years. (Donald Trump) This statistic should be enough to conclude that America’s prison systems are failing miserably with the rehabilitation of inmates. How is it plausible for every correctional facility to think isolation, segregation, and overcrowding could possibly benefit the crime rate? Instead of converting these inmates into proper citizens, the system has found ways to hold them down.
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According to a 2010 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one out of every 28 children in America has at least one parent incarcerated. At the same time 25 percent of U.S. prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders. Many of these people need treatment for their addictions – not jail time. Each year we are roughly paying $40,000 per inmate with taxpayer’s money. To help cut that cost we could set up a program for all non-violent and low-end crimes. They would be monitored 24/7 with ankle bracelets and are only allowed to leave their designated area from 7am – 5pm to work and come straight home. This would bring down the number of inmates in the prison system and these individuals will be contributing to society, instead of being locked up costing more and more taxpayer’s money. (Thomas Dunn)
U.S. prisons are breeding grounds for violence. These places are supposed to reform inmates into law-abiding citizens. Instead, they turn even the harmless criminals into the most violent ones. One man is sentenced to one year due to drug trafficking. Another man is sentenced to life without parole for several brutal murders. Despite the different levels of their crimes, they could possibly be bunked together in the same cell. By involving non-violent criminals with heinous ones, they are creating a situation of fear and defense. The man who is in for excruciating violent behavior could easily try to hurt his cellmate. He has nothing to lose. Is the man with minor charges expected to not defend himself? No. That’s where the violence sets in. When you mix completely different criminals together on purpose, there is going to be an outbreak of violence.
As a new inmate entering the system, there is one factor that everybody recognizes about you…the color of your skin. Instead of providing a place where segregation is at a minimum, prisons all across America are dealing with gang violence and race issues. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, when entering prison you become identified by your skin tone. The level of gangs and cultural groups are so high, that often inmates have no choice but to follow the crowd. Sure, they could choose not to cooperate in the gang life, but where does that leave them? Then they will become the targets with no defense. The pressure to become accepted is so important in prison survival, that some inmates will throw away their morals just to protect themselves.
The release of an inmate should be one of the most exciting moments of their lives. It should be a time where they finally get to put all of the knowledge and inspiration they have gained to use. It should be a new stepping stone for them to create a new lifestyle without their past lagging behind them. Sadly, this is hardly ever how it works out. In the past generation, the process of parole and release has started lacking structure. It is very rare that an inmate is individually prepared to face the real world. Instead of carefully considering ways to provide help upon release, they often just let them go on their own with no support from the inside. I understand these are grown adults, but when you are facilitated for so long, there is a need for preparation for the outside world. When these inmates are faced with the outside realities all at once, they just go back to their old ways. They are not given the support they need to make it through life on their own. These prisons confine these inmates for years, harboring their every move. Yet when they are released, they do not help them along one bit. Something is obviously wrong here.
The prison system has a long way to go before it becomes effective. More people need to start paying attention to these correctional departments. The cause seems so minuscule until someone you love becomes the victim. These prisons are inhumane, chaotic, and lacking necessary resources. Until prison systems of America reach a solid stability of rehabilitation, the inmates will continue to involve themselves in crime. These places should be for improvement, not corruption.