Rehabilitation in Prison and the Disparity Between Rehabilitation and Incarceration Rates

Topics: Prison, Crime, Recidivism Pages: 13 (4857 words) Published: April 17, 2011
Rehabilitation in Prison and the Disparity Between Rehabilitation and Incarceration Rates

The purpose of this paper is to examine how prison recidivism impacts our society and why there is an enormous disparity between rehabilitation and incarceration rates. Prisons are constantly being constructed and are filled to capacity. Prisons simply do not eliminate crime and criminal behavior. In fact, In the United States, in many instances, the recidivism rate is quite high, and the costs for taxpayers are billions of dollars. The problem under investigation focuses on the effectiveness of prison reform and does it provide alternative methods for men incarcerated, secondly understanding the disparities of recidivism within the criminal justice system. The challenge is does prison reform improve the person upon becoming incarcerated and does alternative prison programs transform an individual?

What causes the problem of recidivism within the criminal justice system and how does prison reform prepares individuals to return to society? Many males are incarcerated at a higher rate mainly due to a lack of male presence in the home African Americans are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and rarely experience the same level of rehabilitation that their Caucasian counterparts do. African Americans have consistently been incarcerated ever since Emancipation without exception. The failure of Emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the less than admiral efforts of the civil rights movement still see African Americans with the same deficits as they had post slavery. African Americans continue to lag behind all other ethnic groups in education, employment, vocational opportunities, and marriage. With the advent of the “War on Drugs” African Americans are incarcerated at 51 percent, which is two percent above the national average. In New Jersey, African American men comprise 63 % percent of the prison population two percent more than African American women. This disparity is directly attributable to attitude prejudice and institutional racism, both remnants of slavery. Allport as cited by Plantz (1988) poses it that prejudice is an attitude that may or may not be exhibited in overt hostility. Combined with power it has the added ability to discriminate or deny individuals or groups of people equality of treatment. This is especially salient in the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system has traditionally been and continues to be a Caucasian owned and operated business. The power elite is Caucasian, the prosecutors and judges are primarily members of the dominant society, and it is not until an inmate is incarcerated that he or she meets someone that looks like him or her. However, the department of corrections official is charged with maintaining order and is not in a position to establish meaningful relationships. Who is affected? African Americans being incarcerated have affected the immediate families. When fathers and/or mothers get arrested based on the nature of the crime, the families become ostracized by the community and the media based on a rush to judgment. Other children that attend the same schools ridicule our children. Many children suffer numerous negative reactions including anger, depression, low self-esteem, and a decline in school performance. Another factor contributing to this problem are communities without alternative programming for at risk youth of color. Some programs previously available to inner city children were recreation centers, summer league tournaments, and boy scouts. These programs allowed children to participate in positive environments, provided mentoring and modeling of positive behaviors to African American males. Without intervention, this issue of Black Male incarceration and recidivism is not only devastating for the offender, but also for future generations and the Black community at large. The target...

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