The prison system fails in so many ways. Me being an ex-con and having done over twelve years collectively in the system I have much to say about it.
First and foremost the inhuman treatment of prisoners by prison officials is something that is in need of investigation. Inmates are treated like they are property and this is one of the first things you are told when you have the misfortune of going to prison. You are owned by the state that you committed the crime in, and if this doesn’t already start to sound like modern slavery read further.
It is similar to Jim Crow laws in the times blacks did not have any civil rights and could not congregate together to have any meetings without some white overseer. The same is with prisoners; we have no rights and are often told that if we are standing together too long we are to break it up or be classified as people who are trying to cause trouble and disrupt the running of the institution.
Prisoners are not allowed to speak out about the injustices of the system as far as bad food conditions, unsanitary eating conditions, pest problems or lack of educational devices to help one better themselves; there is no form of rehabilitation only punishment.
Now I will be accurate and unbiased when I make this assessment of the prison system because there are some prisons that I have been in that do offer some small forms of what could be viewed as rehabilitation help. There are some that will punish you if you do not have a GED and there is some type of effort to give inmates opportunities that they would otherwise ignore and there are prisons that pay inmates for working in the system doing jobs that are needed to help with the daily business of prison life.
I worked at one institution that paid me forty-five cents an hour and I was managing this small amount of money to have personal hygiene Items and snacks that could be purchased from the commissary.
The problem is that every prison system does not provide even these opportunities at rehabilitation, in fact South Carolina prison systems force inmates to work for free and if they do not work for free, they will be punished. Is it not true that work that is not volunteered by one’s own free will is slavery? What would have happened in the eighteen and early nineteen hundreds if slaves did not work the fields when they were told to? They were usually beaten severely if not in fact killed.
Okay the phone system allows for a breakdown in communication with love ones. If they are not able to pay the extremely high phone bills constituted by the phone companies that hold the contracts with the prisons the rates are at least three to four times higher than the average local phone bills. Why should families be charged to talk to their love ones? This causes a break down in the moral support that is needed from the family to keep the inmate in a focused mind set. Can you imagine being on a phone call with a loved one you haven’t spoken to in years and have the phone hung up because of something that happened in the institution or because the CEO has come to work in a bad mood? It makes a weak minded person feel that much lower than he is already feeling about his situation; he starts to formulate the attitude that he doesn’t care because no one else seems too.
The prison systems does not care about eating conditions, when the average meal is under proportioned or cold or is infested with some type of bug or even the trays that they are served on would not pass a quality control test by a legitimate health inspector.
Prison officials higher up in the hierarchy often receive bonuses for operating the prison system under the budget that has been set. This surplus of money is never funneled back into the system to provide better living and training conditions to produce a better person in the system.
In my opinion there are things needed to curb the recidivism rate. There are not enough transitioning programs that will help the ex-offender obtain employment prior to leaving the system. How many that provide trades are communicating with businesses that desire these types of trades that will help the inmate return to society with the hopes of becoming a productive citizen. They send them out with nowhere to go, a lot of time and nothing to look forward to but the hope of someone overlooking their record and giving them a chance. This is in no way conducive to helping the economy.
There should be more training skills offered in the system that will teach them how to communicate; problem solving skills that will help them find the most logical solution to handle situations that could easily result in an act of crime. Education of how to act and how to live will be pertinent points that need to be addressed. A lot of opportunities are missed or not taken advantage of because of the lack of knowledge.
How inmates are housed in the system is also a thing that should be taken into consideration as well as to put someone that has a low level crime in with someone with a high level crime is never a good thing because the higher level the crime the harder it will be to work on the communication skills.
I think that the crime that was committed should be researched in a way to show the law breaker why his crime shouldn’t have been committed and he or she should be shown alternative methods that are legal and more rational. The fact that the moral standards of prison are so low that the inmate often gets out of prison angry at society because of what he has been put through while in prison; especially the ones that family could not afford the travel fare that is needed when many prisons are often hundreds of miles away from the place they once resided before prison; or the calls they could not make because they couldn’t use the phone. Not to mention all the laws that have been passed preventing inmates from receiving any type benefits that will help them get by until they are on track and able to fend for themselves.
The last crime I committed was for drugs and I had to sign a document stating that I would not apply for public assistance and if I did so, this was grounds for arrest and charges being filed. Okay now if I am an ex drug dealer and I want to change and be a better person but I did not come out of the system with a guaranteed job, I will be in need of some type of food, clothing, and shelter. Wouldn’t it be logical to make me available for housing and afford me the opportunity to receive some type of benefits to help me make a easier transition into society?
The idea of production is to bring forth something to make my own way to be able to produce something that in turn produces something else. If I cannot have a place to stay or a good chance at a job and I cannot get a food voucher to at least help jump start me wouldn’t it be most likely why I re-offend because of things that I needed instead of just things I wanted to get in an easy way?
The one thing I do know for sure about prison is that there are people there that actually want to be better people when they leave but what they go through in prison psychologically either makes them or breaks them. If it makes them they often have a hardened heart, and those whose hearts are not hardened by the experience it will be because of a earlier faith in GOD and not anything that the system has done right.
And for those that are broken they will upsettingly go back into society with the same mentality that they came with, if not worse.
Evidence of this writing can be found at the following website: