An Analysis of “Why Prisons Don’t Work”
In his essay “Why Prisons Don’t Work” by Wilbert Rideau, the author has sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1962 to be executed or imprisoned for life. He presents the idea that prisons don’t work because people go in and come out the same way, unchanged. He says that authorities think the best solution is to “get tougher” by slowing down on crime and locking away the criminals in prisons, but Rideau had an experience in one of those prisons and knows that the solution wasn’t helping. He mentions that people in prisons need to be punished, but also given a chance to change their ways. Rideau, argues three functions about prisons: to protect the public, to punishment prisoner and to rehabilitate the offender to stop them committing another crime. Rideau states, “The vast majority of us are consigned to suffer and die here so politicians can sell the illusion that permanently exiling people to prison will make society safe.” Rideau tries to tell us that a direct and effortless solution to a crime and violence is to send a convict to the prison only to protect the public. He uses the term “silver bullet” to refer to an action which cuts through complexity and provides an immediate solution to a problem. Rideau points out, “Rehabilitation can work. Everyone changes in time. The trick is to influence the direction that change takes. The problem with prisons is that they don’t do more to rehabilitate those confined in them.” He explains that convicts have been put in jail for common negative impulses that they acted on, and most of them are unskilled, impulsive, and uneducated misfits, so they come out at the same way. On the other hand, the goal of rehabilitation is to educate and prepare them with the skills to follow their life ambitions in an important way. by providing educational and job skills, convicts can be released back into society as helpful nation except those convicts who cannot be returned to society...
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