Thursday, April 20, 2006

Forbes: "Jails and prisons don't work"

Doc Berman points to a Forbes magazine series exploring workable alternatives to incarceration that includes this set up:
Jails and prisons don't work. They're meant to protect the community, but two-thirds of all inmates released from prison are rearrested within three years. Prisons are meant to punish criminals, but do so with excessive and unintended cruelty. We need to institute a "No Prisoner Left Behind" program and explore alternatives to simply locking people up.
That's a powerful message from a business-friendly source. For Texas, it comes at a time when prisons are full and we must choose whether to build more or find a new path. Lots of interesting stuff here: Federal facilities in Bastrop and Texarkana were included in the national list of "Best Places to Go to Prison." Professor Berman thoughtfully linked to the articles in the series:
Give 'em a read.


Anonymous said...

Ageed. However, better education and "jailhouse religion" aren't the answer either. I am a Correcitonal Officer and I experience offenders going to school and church and other religious functions. Quite often they use these times and civilians to conduct gang activity and obtain contraband such as drugs and weapons.

Furthermore, Correctional Officers are not paid well enough for the dangers we face every day. Assaults on staff are a common way offenders get segregation to avoid paying their gambling debts and retaliation from other offenders. This is in addition to riots (of which we have had 3 in the last month involving 30+ offenders), gang related violence, and retaliation for any consiquences incurred for bad behavior.

Having them pay for their stay is the most workable idea yet. No different than student loans.

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