Are Prison Reforming or Not!
In a world where political correctness often whitewashes the darker side of reality, we have soft alternatives for the bleak word "prison." We prefer "penitentiary" or "correctional facility," where "vocational training" and "social services" are provided. We even favor the term inmate over the dehumanizing word "prisoner." Yet, look under the veneer, and you will find that prisons are facing serious problems today, such as the skyrocketing cost of keeping offenders behind bars and ever-widening gulf between the aims of incarcerations and the actual results.
Some people question the effectiveness of prisons. The legislator note that while the numbers of prisoners worldwide has soared to over eight million, the crime rate in many lands has not significantly diminished. Moreover, while large numbers of those in prison are there for crimes involving drugs, the availability to drugs on the streets is still a grave concern.
Nevertheless, many consider imprisonment to be the punishment of choice. They feel that when the offender is jailed, justice is served. Many of our journalists describe the zeal to put criminals behind bars as "lock-em-up fever."
There four principal reasons why lawbreakers are put in prison: (1) to punish the offenders, (2) to protect society, (3) to prevent future crimes, and (4)
to rehabilitate criminals, teaching them to be law-abiding and protective after release. Let us see if prisons are accomplishing these objectives.
Is the Solution Part of the Problem?
In many cases, prisons simply act as a restraint and a temporary one at that. When a prisoner is released, has he really paid for his crime? What about the victims or their loved ones? "I am the mother of a murdered child," pleaded Rita when the convicted killer of her 16-year-old son was released after serving only a three-year sentence. "Please stop for a moment. Think. Can you begin to imagine what this means?" As Rita's case illustrates, tragedy...