Rehabilitating Our Criminals

Topics: Prison, Convict, Punishment Pages: 3 (947 words) Published: January 7, 2002

America releases 600,000 prisoners each year, but does little to prepare them for work or to improve their unlawful habits. However—not surprisingly—within three years, many of the ex-convicts are re-arrested (Irwin 38). People who have already spent time in prison or jail move back to some of America's poorest neighborhoods to terrorize neighbors who can ill afford the costs of crime. United States prisons are ineffective in protecting society and in rehabilitating criminals to return to society.

A new Urban Institute study, "From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry," provides frightening documentation of America's failure to improve the prospects for released prisoners. According to the Urban Institute study, within the past decade, fewer prisoners have gotten education and drug treatment behind bars while more have violated parole terms. Many of the ex-convicts are released with no money and a bad past record which makes it difficult for an ex-convict to succeed. The Urban Institute study states, "Despite tough-on-crime rhetoric, over 100,000 people a year get released without any supervision and per-convict spending has fallen for those who remain monitored" (Solomon et al. 38). Many ex-convicts are forced to live in poverty and continue to live a "dark life", which often makes it difficult to find a full-time job and to return to their families with the adequate care and mentality to support them.

However, prisons do, in fact, protect society from harsh criminals who commit violent felonies against society. U.S. government official, Donald Taylor states, "Over the past ten years, prisons have maintained their essential task: keeping United States citizens safe from convicted felons" (Ballard). The overall purpose of a prison is to keep "bad" people away from society where they are not able to commit violent acts against innocent people. Essentially, prisons are effective because...

Cited: Ballard, Dorothy R. The Life of a Prisoner. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.
Irwin, John. The Felon. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1970.
Solomon, Amy, Jeremy Travis, and Michelle Waul. From Prison to Home: The Dimensions
and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry.1 Jun 2001. 8 Oct. 2001.
Wilkins, Leslie T. Evaluation of Penal Measures. New York: Random House Inc., 1969.
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