Incarceration Seen in a New Light

I believe incarceration could be a viable option for rehabilitating people who may be accused or convicted of a crime. Although it’s not possible now under our current government, as seen by Rikers Island, I believe that it could be a viable option when operated under the right conditions. As Steven Pacheco mentioned, when he was first arrested and incarcerated for selling drugs, he was ready to do it all again once he was released. In order to break the mentality and cycle of crime, there should be an implementation of government support to help those in need. 

The underlying issue is that our society and government is inherently corrupt, those who are convicted of a crime are seen as inferior and a burden to our society, which is why they are cast aside. There are reasons why people commit crimes. I believe that if the judges, government, or even the police force take a moment to recognize underlying issues, rather than just incarcerating everyone, then there wouldn’t be the problems there are now.

If we put our fundings in developing, enhancing, or even dismantling the current facilities, and altering it to fit the needs of the society and the people, then it will benefit rather than destroy our society. Rather than using our government funding on creating new jails, we can also use the funding to reach out to people in under-served communities. It can also be used to target people struggling financially and mentally by providing resources that will actually make a difference. If we completely close these facilities, it will only result in more people in the streets. Even the thought of having no police force, where would we go to when crimes actually affect us and place our lives in danger?

It’s true that there is such a small percentage of people who are actually criminals and had really committed an immoral act, so I feel that there should still be some kind of incarceration in place to keep order in society. Whether it’s by dismantling the current facilities and reinstating a completely new system that can help those in need, incarceration should be a safe haven or a community, instead of being seen as a punishment and a prison. It will help isolate them so that they will be able to safe from outside influences, especially for those that have mental illnesses and need a place to just isolate themselves and rehabilitate.  

There is a negative connotation associated with incarceration, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sadly, I don’t think it’s possible right now, but it is still a possibility we can dream of. 

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  1. At first, I was locked in my own perspective that placing people in this system will breed more terror. Of course, we need to deal with those who commit heinous acts, but also not drop the hammer every time for minor offenses. Your post opened my eyes to what is really in front of us. The connotation that is associated with incarceration seems to stain it forever. Hopefully, we can reach a place in America where it’s not such a vicious system that keeps chewing and spitting people out. We don’t have the solutions yet, but this post did help with having faith in it. It won’t be a utopia, but better than what we have now.

  2. I completely share your opinion and point of view. Incarceration is not a perfect system, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get better. It’s not only help/rehabilitate prisoners, but how the system decides who deserves what.

  3. Dear Shao Ru,

    Your post raised a question: If we “develop[ed], enhanc[ed], or even dismantl[ed] the current facilities, and alter[ed] it to fit the needs of the society and the people,” would you still consider it a prison/jail?

    1. Dear Kashema,

      By definition, jail is “a place for the confinement of people accused or convicted of a crime” and prison is “a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial”. I believe it would still be considered jail and prison, but without the negative connotation. Like what was mentioned in the event, often times the people who end up in jail end up there for petty reasons or for crimes that they did not even commit. People, and society in general, are quick to judge a person who went to jail/prison as evil or bad. However, most of the time, that is not the case. People just need to hear the truth, hear that person’s side of the story, and live in their shoes for a day to be able to understand why they did what they did. If we did ever change these facilities to fit the needs of the society and the people, then we have to recognize that it’s a place of healing, restoration, and peace. Everyone makes mistakes, people deserve forgiveness and atonement. A lot of these people are broken down by our corrupt system, government, and history but it does not mean they are inherently evil. The facility will be a way to help them recover from the damage by providing different resources for the people, so they won’t need or have to commit an actual crime in the future. This is also based on the assumption that a person did commit an illegal crime, and not just being falsely accused under our judicial system. Of course, it’s only a facility we can dream of right now.

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