Is Prison The Answer?
Posted by Trevor Roberts on Jul 12, 2014 - 5:07:15 AM
UNITED STATES—We live in a world, where when an individual commits a crime they have to pay the price. For many, that price lands them behind bars; but is locking up criminals a suitable resolution for deterring crime? It depends on who you ask.
Sending people to prison just opens the floodgates for more criminal behavior to manifest. We are already aware that most criminals who spend time behind bars always resort back to criminal behavior, but why is that?
Well, prison is not the type of environment that fully reforms people. It’s a completely different beast and it’s an adjustment for most people who find themselves behind bars. It’s a place of adaptation. Its culture is nothing like the outside world; and once an individual adapts to the ins and outs of the prison culture, it's difficult to shake it from their mental state. This isn’t just a place for people to live; it’s a place to fight for survival. Many bad things happen in prison, some don’t always make it. It’s a place that tests one’s mental ability.
Imagine being locked up with all facets of life, people extremely dangerous compared to those not so dangerous. It’s a reality check for most people. Does it reform those who have to spend a reasonable amount of time behind bars? For some yes, the experience they encounter in prison is enough to make them never want to return to such a heinous place.
Are locking criminals behind bars the key to deterring crime?
It’s a difficult process to adapt to the world after being stuck in an environment where many of your instrumental human rights have been stripped from you. It’s not always easy to find a job. Many employers shy away from hiring an individual who has spent time behind bars, not to mention the fact that you’re stuck with the label of being a criminal. Once it’s attached to you as a person, it becomes very difficult to eliminate it. Those factors alone place many in a situation where they resort back to crime. Why? It gives them the opportunity to re-assimilate themselves in a culture where the behavior they displayed was considered acceptable in prison.
Many return to prison because they feel accepted in that culture. The prison culture is nothing compared to the real world. Certain actions and behaviors that are widely accepted in prison are not accepted in everyday life. So what can we do to change the dynamic? Some don’t see prison as a major threat. A realistic depiction of prison versus what is seen in television and movies would help. People think they have an idea of what prison life is like, but in all truth unless you’ve spent time behind bars, you have no idea.
Those who commit crimes are oblivious to the consequences that they will face; even though we all see it time and time again on the nightly news, in the media and various facets of entertainment. Taking initiative to offer jobs to those re-entering our culture, deterring drugs and violence in our communities are keys to eliminating crimes to begin with. Prison is a place we place people who commit crimes so they don’t do it again, unfortunately more and more crimes are being committed by those who have already served prison time. So something we’re doing isn’t working and we need to take action to change that.