Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prison System Overhaul

I'm a strong believer of an overhaul of our country's prison system. It seems to me that our prisons and jails are overcrowded with non violent inmates that can rehabilitated. Many of them are drug addicts. Our war against drugs is dysfunctional. As long as there is a demand, there will always be a supply. So why feed into this? We need to take the demand away. We need to focus on rehabilitation and prevention. Studies have shown that it is cheaper and more cost effective to rehabilitate than it is just lock them up for their crimes. We Americans as a society need to stop thinking of this "just lock 'em up'" mentality and start thinking outside of the box. Some of these "prisoners" could use a second lease in life.

The state of California has already started a program that works. I've seen it.

Here is an excellent article on the subject. Check it out, please.


Perplexio said...

I believe we need 2 seperate "prison" systems in this country.

One system would be focused on the rehabilitation of non-violent criminals for a succesful re-integration back into society. We could even re-name these "prisons" as "reformatories" to give them a less negative connotation. Individuals would also be "incarcerated" into these institutions but the focus would be more on protecting them from themselves and helping them exorcise their personal demons that led to their incarceration.

The other system would be focused on the punishment of violent criminals with little or no hope for rehabilitation and re-integration back into society. Prison is supposed to be a deterrent. But I think with the weight rooms, cable TV, and etc. that exist in some of these prisons that element of deterrence has diminished substantially. It's unfair to punish the non-violent "criminals" by taking privileges away from the group as a whole-- which goes back to my reformatory/prison argument. Also "violent" criminals that do show some semblance of "reform" could petition to be paroled, not back into society but into a reformatory to finish out their sentences.

I don't believe the minimum, medium, maximum, super-max designations necessarily work as the non-violent and violent criminals still get mixed to some extent.

Also, mixing violent and non-violent criminals often has the undesired effect of turning non-violent criminals into violent ones and thus ruining their chances for effective rehabilitation back into society.

drewzepmeister said...

Excellent perspective,Perplexo! I think that is a great idea! When I was in CA, I saw Keven go through a similar program that raised my eyebrows.