Why Prisons Don't Work

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As stated in the title of “Why Prisons Don’t Work,” by Wilbert Rideau, prisons are ineffective. Possibly the foremost reason of this is the fact that they are a response after the crime, not a preventive measure. Penitentiaries do nothing with respect to preventing crime rather they create a place where criminals are influenced by, almost exclusively, other criminals. Another reason of this is criminals are being sent to these institutions for periods of time that far exceed what is necessary. Criminals should serve a reasonable amount of time, which is proportional to the severity of their infraction but with the purpose of learning the wrongs of their ways and returning to society. A third reason is the lack of widespread rehabilitation and training programs. The current approach to crime has proven it does not work, because of this a new approach should be developed which emphasizes on preventing rather than punishing.

“Prison, like the police and the courts, has a minimal impact on crime because it is a response after the fact, a mop-up operation.”(2) The penal system captures criminals after they commit crimes and then sends them away for a very long time not to make sure they do not continue reigning havoc on society, but to use them as examples to deter others from following the unlawful path that is committing crime. The idea of punishing the few to deter the many is counterfeit because potential criminals either think they’re not going to get caught or they’re so emotionally desperate or psychologically distressed that they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. The threatened punishment, regardless of its severity, is never a factor in the equation. (2) As Rideau said above this use of prison is essentially useless, should be discontinued immediately, and prisons should adapt to a more fitting role in society.

Once in prisons, criminals are kept way too long thus loosing the impact of the, hopefully, life-changing experience....
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