Rehabilitation or Recidivism
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There are 760,400 people in jail and 1,524,513 people in prison today, compared to 15 years ago when there were 479,800 in jail and 990,147 in prison (Bureau of Justice Statistics). The primary differences between jails and prisons are that jails only take inmates up to a year and prisons are for over a year sentence or more. These numbers have been drastically increasing for over 15 years and will continue to grow in the future. Most prisons across America do not rehabilitate inmates. Rehabilitation is something you restore to good health or useful life, through therapy and education. In this case it is with inmates who deserve a real second chance at life. So, why are we not trying a different approach when jail and prison populations keep increasing as much as they do?
The standard size of a prison cell is 6 feet by 8 feet. This is very small and confined. In your cell there is a bed, toilet, and sink that are bolted down to prevent making and hiding weapons. The walls are made mostly of brick or plastic for the more dangerous inmates, so they dont hurt themselves. Some prison cells dont even have windows to look outside. What are you suppose to do for 24 hours a day in a 6 by 8 foot cell? A typical day in an inmates shoes is to spend 22 hours in their prison cell. The other 2 hours are spent doing some outside activities and eating lunch and watching the news as they eat. Why are we not taking advantage of how inmates spend their time
while they are in prison and making sure they stay out of prison, once released? Those 22 hours should be used to rehabilitate inmates so they know how to be successful in society. Instead of rehabilitating inmates, they are back on the street and it is only a matter of time before they are back in the system.
After three years of prison 52% of prisoners that are not rehabilitated are re arrested and back in the system (Bureau of Justice Statisics).This shows that our current system does not rehabilitate which then causes recidivism. Recidivism is criminals that are in and out of prison all the time, because they dont know how to adapt in our society. This causes them to commit another crime simply just to be locked up. This proves that if we do not do something with these inmates who are locked up and about to get out, they are going to just keep repeating offenses and overcrowding the prisons.
There have been several past studies of prisons and jails that have been successful in rehabilitating inmates. The United States now has minimized this treatment tremendously for the simple purpose of getting tough on crime. Tough on crime is the newest way of treating inmates in prisons, because as Americans we are beginning to believe, you should pay the most extreme time and punishment in prison, for the crime that you committed. A great example of tough on crime is there are now 14 year olds in prison for life! What we do not realize is there are thousands of inmates that do not have a high school degree or have mental problems and also do not know how or where to start a fresh new life. Like said above, there have been several studies
on rehabilitating inmates, but I would like to focus on one correctional facility that has studied rehabilitation lowers recidivism.
Lansing Correction Facility in Kansas has been