Crime has been a defining characteristic of modern America. It has claimed thousands of lives and has cost billions of dollars. The U.S. "correctional" population is at a record high. During the past two decades, the prison population has grown more rapidly than at any noted time in history. This growth resulted in a massive new prison expansion program, which was implemented in order to deal with overcrowding in prisons (Banes, 1998).
The present day role of our prison system is one of deterrence. By being "tough on crime" with stiffer drug laws, tougher parole requirements, mandatory minimum sentences, "three strikes" laws and other legislation, our nation, supposedly, strives to lower the crime rate. The millions of Americans behind bars, the majority of them nonviolent offenders, means jobs for depressed regions and major profits for private contractors wanting to "cash in" on the opportunity (Banes, 1998).
America imprisons 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the world's average. About one in every 31 adults in this country is in jail or on supervised release. Either we are the most evil people on earth or we are doing something very wrong (Webb, 2009). Our current prison-based rehabilitation programs have not kept up with this growing number of offenders. Our "corrections" system is failing; we are not rehabilitating prisoners. Instead, we are simply housing inmates, then releasing them back into society having received little or no job training, drug treatment, or education. Many are unable to find jobs and are barred by law from living in public housing projects, so they quickly return to crime. This pattern is a major factor in recidivism rates which have barely changed in over twenty years (The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, n.d.).
[...] The education of inmates is an ongoing problem within the penal system. "Nineteen percent of adult inmates are completely illiterate, and forty percent are functionally illiterate, which means, for example, that they would not be able to write a letter explaining a billing error. Comparatively, the national illiteracy rate for adult Americans stands at four percent, with twenty-one percent functionally illiterate." (Frolander- Ulf & Yates, 2001). This statistic alone should stimulate change with education . "literacy programs reduce recidivism” (Frolander-Ulf & Yates, 2001); it is obvious that education, throughout the correctional system, is pivotal. [...]
[...] References Banes, S. (1998). Making strides in the recidivism battle. Retrieved April from: www.sph.tulane.edu Frolander-Ulf, M. & Yates, M. (2001). Teaching in Prison. Monthly Review. Volume 53, Issue July/Aug. Gateway Foundation Inc. (n.d.) Retrieved April from: http://recovergateway.org National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse. (n.d.) Retrieved April from: http://www.casacolumbia.org The State of Texas. [...]
[...] The Effectiveness of America's Prisons The Effectiveness of America's Prisons Crime has been a defining characteristic of modern America. It has claimed thousands of lives and has cost billions of dollars. The U.S. "correctional" population is at a record high. During the past two decades, the prison population has grown more rapidly than at any noted time in history. This growth resulted in a massive new prison expansion program, which was implemented in order to deal with overcrowding in prisons (Banes, 1998). [...]
[...] The State of Texas, n.d.). These programs offer the prisoner individual and group counseling, along with peer support and achievement goals. Transitional planning assists offenders to prepare for their release back into society. Aftercare resources are available in the hope to continue treatment and provide assistance with job and vocational placement and housing. This year 600,000 individuals will leave the prisons of state and federal governments and return home, which is approximately 1,600 paroles per day (The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, n.d.). [...]
[...] While this program is effective, it is also costly. Most offenders do not have the insurance or financial means to enter into this treatment facility. This is another unfortunate dilemma in today's economy the high cost of treatment. We need to work on “evening the discrepancies between the private and public treatment facilities. All too often, the private ones pay much higher salaries to their employees and therefore attract the more qualified personnel. Yet another that needs to be narrowed, in my opinion. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee