Friday, October 7, 2011

Prison: A Change is Needed

By:Shante Hall

As I rode by the castle like building I recounted all the horrific stories that I had heard that went on behind the stone building. Which once symbolized a building where those who housed it would be rehabilitated and helped to fit back into society as an active and upstanding citizen, now is as brutal and dangerous as being on the streets. The lack of caring that the correctional officers, wardens, and those in power have leads the defenseless to experience gang rapes, endure brutal beatings, and die from vicious killings. Unfortunately the penal system now reflects the same places that more than half of the inmates had come from, causing a sense of comfort. With the comfort of knowing that your old friends, new friends and family will all be there once your processed or will be arriving shortly after, the fact that you will be fed and have a warm (not so comfortable) bed to sleep in every night is partially the reason why many aren’t afraid to revisit the horrific place; these "accomodations" cause the reentry into society to be extremely hard. Shortly after you’ve entered the jail-house mentality will quickly set in, the need to protect your self by any means necessary and the willingness to physically fight anyone tooth and nail for what you believe in is quickly embedded into prisoners.(causing the fights that are showen below)

The part that saddens me the most about the prison system is the wasted intelligence. The many chemists, business men, and philosophers with so much knowledge of the street life they could give classes to help other children who are also growing up in a rough environment realize there’s more to life than slinging crack rock. Barbers, lawyers, and inventors; can you imagine how intelligent the convict is who invented make shift clippers and needles for tattoos.  If those in power were to accurately assess and watch these inmates they’d to realize the intelligence they possess. And instead of investing in their downfall, more investment in there techniques  will began to take place causing a tremendous turn around in society. The investment into these inmates futures will give them a sense of hope, organizing recreational activities, more schooling oppurtuties and rewards for participation will show them a sense of self-worth, and giving the inmates a sense of responsibility will result in less time to commit "in-prison crimes."
The penal system should try harder to getting back to rehabilitation. Stop treating these inmates like caged in animals and understand that we as humans make mistakes. Give them something more to look forward to, make them choose a program once they enter the system. Assign advocates and counselors to the prisoners, there shouldn’t be an option not to get up, these inmates need structure. Because of where most of them come from structure is a virtue they lack, the feeling of someone caring and having a role model is often unheard of, so if prison is the place where they’ll get it than so be it. Prison shouldn’t be considered a place where you just serve time and receive “three hots and a cot”; it should be a much more structured environment where success is the only option. If there were more rules and regulations concerning success in the penile system the likelihood of over crowding, the brutal crimes I mentioned earlier, recidivism, and the lack of being able to fully function in the environment will be null and void.
A change is needed!


  1. I also agree that a change is needed in the penile system but I feel an obvious reason why we have not, is because it is way too costly.

    In the program we watched in class we saw that there was a cost free program to help rehabilitate the people that were in the prison by a former prisoners. A great way to relate and to reach out to these people.
    They should try to initiate more programs like these.

    If approximately half of those incarcerated and in jail because of drug related offenses, then a major part of the proposed "rehabilitation program" in prison have to cater to drug rehabilitation. This requires professionals that know how to deal with people that have drug addictions. We cant just get former criminals or volunteers that want to help improve the prison system.

    A simple fact, In 2010 it was reported that it cost $61 BIllion/year to support the prison system. It is costly enough to even provide the basic necessities to house prisoners. It would be extremely costly to launch rehabilitation programs. I do believe that we should have more programs to help criminals reintegrate into society after they served their sentence but it simple enough to ask: "Where will we get the funds to support these programs?".

  2. Cost is always an important question (at least here in the US). Food for thought:

    There is a ton of information out there on the education vs incarceration debate. This article is a good place to start.

  3. Erich B. CoppersmithOctober 18, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    I enjoyed reading this blog and that is saying a lot since I find the topic sometimes makes me very angry.
    Your choice of words create a vivid account of the violent life prisoners face.You also constantly remind the reader of the prisoners humanity, a fact not given enough consideration.
    It is very clear that the prison systems in the United states are not in the business of making people fit back into society successfully. They are however very successful at making convicts return to the prison business.....oh i mean prison system.The idea of rehabilitation has degraded into nothing more than an industry that uses peoples present and future lives as fodder.
    i whole-heartedly agree that a more progressive approach focused on the improvement of each individual through education will produce better long term results for society in general, greatly reducing recidivism.Of course under the present system that would hurt the bottom line.This a very complex issue but to me the bottom line is...How we treat our own incarcerated citizens is really the compass toward our future humanity.
    I thought the videos were well chosen also.

  4. I agree whole heartily on the article and video that was posted by you. I have heard countless stories from a couple of people about their experiences in prison but to actually see it on the video blows my mind.I think the rehabilitation program will eventually spread to more and more prisoners if being done the same.