During the October 17th Futures Initiative meeting we discussed the effects of mass incarceration. At the beginning of the meeting the questions that we all analyzed were: Do you believe incarceration could be/is a viable option for rehabilitating people who may be accused or convicted of a crime?
I do not believe that incarceration is a viable option for rehabilitating people. When a person is accused or convicted of a crime, incarceration should be a form of rehabilitation to help that person repair the damage they caused to society and help them become a better citizen, but unfortunately that is not a reality. No matter what the crime committed, they all end up in the same facility with other prisoners and inmates that might have committed major crimes, such as mureder or rape, offering a place that has a reputation for being completely unsafe. As a consequence, when someone is incarcerated they need to learn how to survive inside prison and more often than not, this causes them to commit more crimes with or to become better criminals when released.
Time and time again, new and existing correctional facilities do not provide the resources necessary to reintroduce prisoners back into society. They are more focused on making money than creating rehabilitated citizens and, as a consequence of that, very often former prisoners are forced to readjust in a society in which they are no longer familiar, leading them to become permanent fixtures in the system they have been released from. This failure then leads to recidivism. In order for a correctional facility to be considered rehabilitating, I strongly believe that inmates or prisoners should have access to education or vocational training. For example, While Cynthia Brown was in prison she earned a bachelor’s degree. That is an opportunity she took advantage of during the time of her incarceration. She used this to create a vision about life and set goals for herself to accomplish. As a result of that opportunity, she is committed to her goals and her chances of returning to prison is low.