Prison Reform

Topics: Prison, Recidivism, Penology Pages: 5 (2035 words) Published: April 14, 2009
Prison Reform
Catherine Johns
Axia College of University of Phoenix
Most people who enter prison are lost. They have no direction in their life. They cannot find structure, so they turn to crime. They need help but they do not know where to turn. Think of how our world might be if there were better programs focused on reforming out prisoners while they are serving their time. The prison recidivism rate would decrease. Crime rates would lessen over time. Prisoners will have the opportunity to move on in their lives after they are released. While some states have reform projects for prisoners in place, the Government needs to look into providing better opportunities of reform to prisoners.

Many states currently have programs in place to help prisoners while they are serving their time. These programs help the prisoners to further their education and learn how to survive once they are released. Friends and family of prisoners in Minnesota have started a group called CURE-Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants. They base the theme of their group on the fact that prisoners are humans also and should be treated as such. Prisoners need to have the proper chance to reform and be forgiven of the crime that they have committed, so everyone involved can more on. CURE has spread to many other states in our nation as a way to help prisoner’s rehabilitation status. As a result, the state of Minnesota is rated among the best in the nation for the way they treat their prisoners and the education they provide them (Inskip, 1990). New Jersey, and other surrounding states, has Rebecca Sanford and Johanna E. Foster who have committed their careers to being prison educators. They are hoping to have their programs grow to many other states. The College Program was founded to help women who are incarcerated earn their GED and further their education, so they are able to find a job when they have completed their sentence. So far, with almost no financial resources, the program has helped nearly 250 women further their education. They also founded Project INSIDE, which helps juvenile offenders enroll in college-level courses to earn a certificate from a Community College. This is a federally funded program that focuses on women 25 years of age and under (Sanford & Foster, 2006). The problem with these and other college-in-prison programs are that they require approval from the Department of Corrections and funding from somewhere. The Department of Corrections Officers in some states can make it very difficult to approve these programs. They tend to be cautious of prisoner/civilian contact; which can deter educators from being able to enter the necessary areas to teach. They also can deter which inmates take the placement exams to determine their eligibility for the programs. These programs also require funding approval that can be difficult to obtain without assistance on many state government levels.

Prisoners who are released without receiving the proper reform programs are not only a danger to themselves but also to the communities they are being released into. The Superintendent of Education for South Carolina, Jim Rex, is beginning to realize the increased need for education in prison. He has compared the cost the government has spent on each inmate’s education versus the cost of paying them welfare and support once they are released and are unable to find a job. In a press release issued in October 2008 Dr. Jim Rex asked, “Are they going to be in prisons that we build and pay for, or are they going to be in homes they build and pay for (Gelinas, 2008)?” This shows that some states are beginning to realize the need for prison reform and the savings it could provide to the government. Incarceration has been figured to cost, on average, $22,000 per year. Which means that in order to incarcerate someone for a 10-year sentence the average cost would be $220,000 (Fauteck, 2001). If a criminal was...

References: Inskip, L. (1990, September 2). Prisoners’ friends set up CURE: [Metro Edition]. Star Tribune, p. 21A. Retrieved December 12, 2008, from Business Dateline database.
Sanford, R., & Foster, J. (2006). Reading, Writing, and Prison Education Reform. Equal Opportunities International, 25(7), 599-610. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from Emerald Insight database.
Gelinas, J. (2008, October). Stat’s Top Educator Backs Prison Education Says ‘It’s Critical That Education Is Provided In Prison’. US Fed New Service, Including US State News. Retrieved December 12, 2008, from Research Library database.
Kleiman, M., & Hawken, A. (2008, Summer). Fixing the Parole System. Issues in Science and Technology, 24 (4), 45-52. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from MasterFile Premier database.
Fauteck, P. (2001). Going Straight: An Ex-Convict/Psychologist Tells Why and How. IUniverse, Incorporated.
Wyoming Center for Business & Economic Analysis, Inc. (2008, July). Analysis of Recidivism Rates for the Office of Youth Alternatives.
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