A while back, I had written a blog about the importance of prisoner education. I felt that even though many people believe that prisoners should be punished, rather than rewarded for their crimes, educating them would bring a positive effect for society, once they (the prisoners) returned to it, following their incarceration. Assuming that educating prisoners is, in fact, a wise idea to put forth, I would like to elaborate a bit more on fixing the issue of post-prison-placement for inmates.

 

 

When most people hear terms such as: convicted felon, convict, delinquent, or juvenile-delinquent, they usually hear these terms on broadcast t.v. news, or while reading articles in the newspaper relating to a story covering unfortunate event(s) ; These unfortunate event(s) deal with an individual, or several people who are given these social titles after the individual(s) involved break one or more laws. Depending on the nature of the events, you probably say to yourself: “I hope they lock him/her up for good!” and/or “I hope they give him/her what they deserve!” Now, it isn’t wrong that they are labeled as: convicts, and/or felons, and/or delinquents. It is also very understandable that society should feel anger towards them, and wish that some legal and social retribution is cast upon them. Though my question still remains: Does this mean that shouldn’t get a second chance at improving their life?

 

 

Now, this is a question that has many different interpretations, and as well, deserves more than just one answer. For the purposes of this post, the answer is: It depends on the type of crime committed.

 

For a crime such as : spray- painting an under-pass on a park-way, or express-way (also known as graffiti-ing); the individual deserves a second chance in society; being that this is a harm-less and victim-less crime; except for vandalizing public property, therefore desecrating that property.

 

Now take for example, the 2012 case of Mass-Murderer James Holmes : In Aurora Colorado, in July of 2012, James Holmes, (24 years old at the time of the incident) had dyed his hair to resemble a villain from the Batman Movie/Comic series (owned by D.C. comics) entered a movie theatre premiering “The Dark Night” and opened fire; killing 12 people and injuring 70 other individuals. For a crime of this magnitude, the answer would be no: this individual does not deserve a second chance; Holmes, or any another mass-murder, cannot function well in society; punishment of life in prison would be a necessary consequence for that kind of crime.

 

You may look at the examples I have provided and note that I took an example of a common crime that happens all the time (graffiti vandalism) , by anonymous culprits (save for those who are caught), and compared it to a particular incident of real tragedy,  broadcast on t.v. and in mainstream news (James Holmes mass shooting). I use these prior examples as templates for both what would, as well as what would not denote someone deserving a second chance at becoming a functioning part of society after committing a crime, and being put through the criminal-justice system.

 

Now that we know what types of criminals do and do not deserve a second opportunity, the next question is: regarding individuals who do deserve a second opportunity, how should court-systems go about helping criminals re-integrate into society again? Aside from educating them, about basic knowledge that they ought to know, via classroom form, prisoners need to be taught work-force skills.

 

According to yourdictionary.com a {work-force} skill is: an art, craft, or science, esp. one involving the use of the hands or body. Take, for example, a car mechanic. A car mechanic needs to have at least some interest working with cars, and needs to gain experience in fixing and properly maintaining auto-mobiles. Or, perhaps, an electrician; also according to yourdictionary.com, an electrician is: a person whose work is the construction, repair, or installation of electric apparatus. In order to gain employment, prisoners would receive education and training in fields such as auto-mechanics and electronics.

 

Now, with giving prisoners the privilege to re-enter society and perhaps enter the work force for the first time, there are many stipulations to be considered; judges, probation and parole officers would have to make several educated and officially designated decisions before a prisoner is released back into society, such that they can live among non-prisoner and non-delinquent individuals without feeling outcast or ostracized. The former prisoner would also need to pass enough psychological examinations, so that they are deemed fit to remain outside of the prison system.

 

 

Neither you, nor I, would want to be paying someone for a service that we need, such as having our dishwasher repaired or having our heating-boiler cleaned, while there would at that same time exist a high possibility that we, or our family members could be robbed or stabbed or have any or tragic crime occur. However, if the right evaluations are made by the court-systems, many individuals could get another chance at making something productive of themselves, when there would be no chance to improve their lives otherwise.

 

Yes, this is a risky move on the part of the courts, and society as a whole. Though, you must remember that this would stultify the overpopulation of prisons, decrease recidivism, and decrease the number of people whom, under current conditions, would become homeless.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

yourdictionary.com; definitions: skill, electrician

 

 

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