You have probably heard that in the past six years there has been a sky-rocket increase in crime all across the United States. If you are older than 35, and you are experienced in handling life’s troubles, upon hearing that you may say to yourself: “Crime has always been on the rise. The last six years is nothing new.” If you have not been through the criminal justice system, you may not have any reason to feel sympathy for its victims. You may think to yourself: It’s the fault of the individual; He/She decided to commit a crime and deserves to experience the consequences. Though does that include the inability to get a job or career after their sentence is over?
I happen to believe many criminals, but certainly not all, do in fact deserve a second chance. The title of this post is: “The Need for Prison Reform: Why it Matters for Society”. That being said I am of the mind that what happens after a criminal’s sentence can very much be affected by what happens during ‘time incarcerated.
Towards myself, a second chance means the delinquent/prisoner has the ability to get employed after his/her sentence is over, unlike in today’s United States, where chances are slim to none of paid employment for offenders. I wish to let my readers know I am not denoting that criminals do not deserve punishment for their acts. Though, more so, I wish that their time in jail and/or prison be purposeful; that something or in fact many things during that time span set forceful impacts on their futures, but do not have to result in the inability to become employed.
In the past, pre-2008, there was talk, and truth, in the notion that prisoners, felons included, were able to study, and receive college credits as well as secondary education degrees. This infuriated many non-criminal taxpayers, in the United States, because they felt that the criminals deserved to be punished, not rewarded (with the opportunity to further their education) while serving time. Another reason taxpayers were upset was due to the fact that they themselves and/or family members have to pay out of pocket for the same kind of degree (collegiate) while prisoners and felons would receive the degree, free of charge.
I used to wonder why did this practice stop in the last couple of years? The answer, as I have mentioned in several of my videos is of course: Government System failure. Looking at what I just said, you may be both shocked and upset with me that I am for prisoner education. You may still believe that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for the education of criminals, including felons, while paying for their own/families education is a burden as-is. As far as Society is concerned, prisoner education is prison reform that matters.
As far as I know, tax payer money that goes towards correctional departments does of course pay the salaries of the officers. As well, cameras and additional security equipment. Oh yes and one more juicy element: refurbishing the infrastructure such that the prison meets regulations, and has a beautiful modern appearance. I may have missed a couple of other details, but notice what I left out: In-prison programs for the betterment of inmates lives, including education, skills courses and even new books for prison libraries.
Well, I wish not to depress you with further truths but many delinquent centers, jails, and prisons are not interested in reforming the lives of the inmates housed there. They are interested in profiteering of off the inmates. I do not wish to elaborate how exactly this occurs, but I will note the current process harms not just criminals (in this case by neglecting the growth of prisoners minds) but society at large.
I don’t wish my readers to distort my intentions: in writing this post. I do not believe criminals deserve to be rewarded, or entitled to a free education. Though I would ask my readers to think of the world they currently live in, and then think about reforming prisons, so that they accommodate prisoners, not so much with empathy, but with the intent of educating the prisoners, so that they do not return, and can become productive members of society.
Many adult prisoners, ages 17+ (People ages 16 and 17 are usually tried in court as adults) even in the United States, do not even know how to read, write, or perform the simplest arithmetic. By allowing prisoners an education, both primary, and collegiate, there would be a reduction in crime, unplanned pregnancies, and homelessness (a societal plague I intend to do something about).
Unfortunately, at this stage of the game, it may be too late for ideas such as the one in this blog to work. Taxes are always miserably high, but if you had just read this post, and prisoner education reform was an asset that your taxes payed for, it would be a large step to a more fair, improved world.