Prison Reform and Rehabilitation
The prison systems, State or Federal, are intended to reform and rehabilitate criminals. This intent is supposed to be done through supportive, good, and appropriate programs for the incarcerated. The road to hell is paved on good intentions, and so the truth is that prisons focus on how they can make money and not helping incarcerated people become productive and successful through reform and rehab.
The prison systems of the United States have been the worst failure, waste of money, and experiment ever and the truthful point is that all the Government personnel know this. The prison system, as it is today, does nothing to help the incarcerated people become productive and successful people. It instead damages and hurts the incarcerated people and their families as it exploits them and the public to support their own and the state agenda to make money. People whom are incarcerated often enter prison as people with mental disorders whom made a mistake and exit prison with a criminal mentality and much more serious mental issues. Some become so distrusting and institutionalized that they become dependent on incarceration the rest of their lives. This is very destructive, not helpful. Some states also drive slave labor which is destroys any chance of built up good work ethics and cause them to hate bosses and job situations. Most current "prison programs" are designed only to bring in more funds to that unit and not designed to help the incarcerated person.
The Arkansas State Prison System, A.D.C, has the stance in attitude with programs that they "refuse" to offer any programs that are equal to or better than any program or classes that exist for the public such as higher education. None of the A.D.C internal programs work, none are really beneficial and if an inmate wants to take a program, they are often refused whilst others are stipulated to take a program that doesn't want to and hates to be there. Most of the A.D.C programs consist of mental health sending you papers or a pamphlet through the mail system and you read and answer the questions and send it back. There are very few instructor lead programs. The therapeutic community programs teach you to snitch which can get you murdered and the sex offenders programs are run by perverts in the fact that they get off to or go have sex with an inmate or staff member after the offenders tell their stories which is a sick perversion that some have been fired for. The programs are dissolute and there is no real mental health support or programs.
This reality of the programs paints a very grim picture that screams out about how Arkansas really feels in their prison system about reform and rehab to reintegration of its citizens versus monetary gain. Arkansas State Government has a very strong push and view point of just simply locking a person up in prison to make their money and forget the person is a citizen of society. They do little to follow the national push and desire to see the incarcerated as people, as functional citizens not monsters and to use effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mental health support and support group therapy to help the person and see them become productive members of the society. Even by offering higher education to open up opportunities these people would have otherwise probably not had. Arkansas's A.D.C and parole board wants to see the people fail and come to prison or return so they can get their money...and its citizens are multi-millions of dollars in blood money revenue.
Any State or Federal Prison System that has a true recidivism rate which is greater than 15 percent is either corrupt, to strict, or seriously failing its people because the actual crime rate increase for many years has been steady at 4% and crime has decreased in areas too. The Arkansas State Prison System, A.D.C, has a prison return rate of greater than 70 percent but the actual new charges or criminal activity recidivism rate is only around 10 to 13 percent meaning the majority of the returning people are for "technical parole violations" that never actually broke a single law. This means rather than placing a parolee in a program to help them keep out of trouble and succeed, Arkansas would rather put you back in prison. Most parole violators will also get a one year denial or worse before being re-released. A parole violator in A.D.C is not placed in any helpful or preventative programs on grounds that they do not have enough time because they are only supposed to serve 6 months. Arkansas also greatly varies in how it charges men, women and children for the same crime showing a very strong focus to put able bodied males, the "bread winners" of many households but not all, in prison destroying the house and often relationships. Men will always get an exorbitantly higher sentence of time and less offered programs.
Many State Governments and people have proposed a lower and much lesser usage of prison sentences and greater emphasis and usage of community corrections via programs. Arkansas on the other hand proposes plans for more prisons and prison bed space to imprison more people. This is a destructive cycle needlessly hurting people that must stop. Everyone whom has done time in A.D.C will tell you that the inmate population is overcrowded and is full of people with mental and emotional disorders and addictions that only needed help. There are very few "true" criminals inside A.D.C Arkansas and many other states lock people up for having mental illness and have people with life sentences for petty crimes. We must fix the issue to help our incarcerated.
First step is to change focus away from monetary gain and control to hold focus on behavioral therapy and correction not prison sentences. Change over to alternative community corrections in private facilities and abandon the focus on using government prisons that are destructive and harmful. In A.D.C, majority of the incarcerated persons are normal everyday natural people with mental disorders and have simply made mistakes and have addictions. There are so few real "criminals" and the public are told lies by the media that all people in prison are very terrible monsters and deserve to be locked up. Truth is 90 percent are very normal people and about 10 percent are true criminals. What if the focus on behavioral therapy could drop this number of criminals to 3 percent? How can we know if we never try?
Second step is to change the states focus on true reform and rehabilitation for successful re-entry and not the money they can make per incarcerated person. This is not the Matrix and people are not batteries to keep you going! This "change" of focus we might start helping people rather than using and manipulating them. This will also change the focus to real and effective programs.
Step three, do not get discouraged. Some programs will work great for some and not at all for others. This means there must be a diversity in courses and that the programs will and must be in constant change at first being fixed, adjusted, or dropped as needed until there are good and effective programs. Do not be afraid to DROP ineffective programs if they cannot be made effective.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel because there is already a plethora of known effective programs and higher education programs. Prison has the opportunity to refocus on fixing and reorganizing a life by Cognitive Behavioral therapy, mental health therapy, corrective classes, education in a degree, even work and entrepreneurial programs. Why would we not empower and help people rather than damaging them and destroying their homes and families as well as the individual. Through alternative incarceration and the use of real programs, we can do away with the dungeons and instead of releasing damaged individuals we can reintroduce productive successful people.
Unfortunately, we cannot help and/or save everyone and the truly criminal are those that NEVER learn from their mistakes and chose not to try and rather committing crimes. But the number lost can be greatly reduced and the rescued will be amazing. We can greatly reduce recidivism and greatly increase personal success. But to truly "Reform and Rehabilitate" the people incarcerated, we must focus on corrections by reforming and rehabilitating the prison systems and government opinions first.
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