“Special Education” by Chernikko L. Crump
#[ID] Alameda County
(Santa Rita) Correctional Facility
A.P.W.A contributors and audiences abroad. Once again it is an honor and a privilege to be able to share with you my thoughts and first hand experiences, of/with, major issues and areas of concern that we face within the American Penal System.
The United States of America has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world. It is also home to and continues to build more prisons and jails than any other country on the face of the planet. According to the Department of Justice - roughly 2.5 million people are incarcerated in the United States’ local, state, and federal prisons alone. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also say that an estimated 700,000 people are released back into society annually and many of these offenders re-offend within three years of being released from incarceration.
Recidivism at an alarming rate as such is a major issue and a huge area of concern for The United States and its citizens as a collective whole, especially when the majority of the population that is and suffer from these conditions are people of ethnic racial backgrounds and/or the minority communities.
These offenders lack the key tools that are necessary for the rehabilitation and/or reconstructive process to properly take place. As you know education and rehabilitation both go hand in hand. Knowledge is power and knowledge of any kind is acquired through the process of being educated. Lack of this promotes ignorance and it discourages rehabilitation. This is anti-ethical to the Department of Corrections mission which is set at correcting and rehabilitating offenders, while still upholding and maintaining the integrity of the system, whose number one priority is to ensure public safety above all.
Keep in mind that the system also has an obligatory duty to conserve and honor the Constitutional Rights to life and liberty for the citizens of this great county and serve as a guiding light and a role model for others to follow being that the United States is “The Big Brother Country” and the most powerful and influential nation on the face of the planet. When considering all of these factors we also have to keep in mind that the United States itself is indeed a relatively young nation and like many empires/nations before, each go through a period of conquer and divide.
What constitutes how powerful or how long an empire/nation retains its authority/power is how well its leadership as well as the citizens on every level, every class, can reconstruct and unify. This affects the healing of a nation. Prime example: The American Civil War and its reconstruction period.
While trying to ensure every human being had equal rights to life and liberty and to form a more perfect [union], the system failed in itself because it didn’t properly reconstruct its divided nation or citizens by educating, rebuilding, and providing the funding that was key tools of rehabilitation for a nation as a collective whole. Thus crippling its rehabilitation process and even today you can still see and feel the direct and indirect cause and effects nearly 200 years later. This is because of poor leadership, misguidance or failure to educate as well as misuse of monetary funding (especially that of taxpayers) that was provided. That’s why it is very important for every individual to approach each situation with caution and utilize wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
A person that is newly released or someone who has spent a substantial amount of his or her life incarcerated has a very delicate situation or special circumstances and should be treated accordingly. One reason being that this individual now has a criminal record i.e. misdemeanors/felonies on his or her record. The second reason being that his person has very little if any recent work history which in turn can hinder an individual’s growth during his/her reconstructive or rehabilitation period and the direct cause and effect from this pattern is a crippled nation as a collective whole.
This person needs “Special Education” or “SPED”
Special: 1. Distinct or particular in kind; unique. 2. Intended for a specific function, purpose or occasion. 3. Not ordinary or usual. 4. Exceptional. 5. Particularly valued. 6. A special person or thing.
Education: 1. The act or process of educating. 2. The result produced by instruction, training, or study. 3. The science or art of teaching.
I myself have witnessed instances during incarceration where facilities do not offer many if any at all educational programs and there are many facilities who simply do not have the capacity to house and educate the massive numbers of those incarcerated due to the lack of funding or their facilities weren’t designed or intended for rehabilitative purposes only to incarcerate individuals.
Planning is an integral part of success and if a person cannot plan then he/she cannot and will not have a plan of action which is crucial to success in society. This person is blind so to speak and one who is blind (intellectually) cannot see in which direction he/she is headed. This person who is blinded intellectually cannot have a vision. Everything must start with a vision. Dream it, believe it, see it, watch it take root, watch it grow and manifest into something that is beautiful.
A person must also be willing to apply themselves and also take it upon themselves to capitalize on each and every opportunity and rise when faced with adversity and unfavorable circumstances. Seeing that most of the vocational and skills trainings provided were of little use if any at all due to the world’s constant evolution and technologically base world we live in I myself would self educate whenever deemed necessary so that my period of growth would not be hindered by me being stuck in the weeds so to speak.
Most of the vocational skill sets provided by correctional facilities are out of date when compared to what people are learning and using on the outside and most only teach the bare minimums. Computer courses are very valuable as everything in today’s highly technical society.
In a recent report The Oregon Department of Corrections has banned all computer technology related textbooks and materials with disregard for its educational value. This is a violation of the First Amendment. This also hinders a current or former prisoner’s rehabilitation or reconstructive period. This promotes ignorance and recidivism which in turn affects the nation as a collective whole.
The state of California among a few other states have begun taking action and incorporated successful vocational programs that are set at teaching inmates how to use computers and write programming codes which are vital in high technological areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Silicon Valley and many other regions around the globe that are now budding and seeking education, economic, political, and social development for its citizens. The states above and many others lead the nation in Prison Reform but are still a work in progress.
Thanks for your time and support. Have a blessed and wonderful day,
Chernikko Laquinte Crump
5325 Broder Blvd
Dublin, CA 94568
Remember to always spit fire to inspire the world for change.
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