Essay on Beyond the Prison Paradigm

940 Words Aug 16th, 2011 4 Pages
Katherine Wallace
April 25, 2011
Beyond The Prison Paradigm

James Gilligan relays an enlightening message in his article, Beyond the Prison Paradigm: From Provoking Violence to Preventing It by Creating “Anti-Prisons”, about the history and sole purpose of jails. Gilligan dates his research about jails all the way back from the first civilization known to man, Sumerian, to the jails we see and know so well today. At the beginning of time jails literally meant “house of darkness” which when compared to any of today’s jails is very similar to our maximum security facilities with solitary confinement. Jails were first used as a place to house those citizens, who chose not follow the social norms of society, and used a very
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The public wants to be reassured that when these criminals are released back into society that they will be safe and have nothing to worry about. Many believe that by imprisoning very violent and disturbed criminals with those of less severe crimes will be detrimental to all inmates. I believe this to be very true, they say you are who you associate with, and if all one associates himself or herself with while incarcerated is rapists, murderers, and mentally disturbed people they are bound to have a profound effect on ones morals and thoughts. Those criminals incarcerated for less severe crimes will eventually learn and pick up on the actions of those around them and more often than not gradually become a more violent person. The only way I feel that this will not happen is if rehabilitation and reintegration of the prisoners to society is the main concern for those working in the prison. Gilligan explains that the original concept of prisons was actually very counterproductive and caused more harm than it did help. He explains the concept of an “anti-prison”, an institute based solely on the concept of rehabilitation, education, and human development. An “anti-prison” helps educate the uneducated about life and its ups and downs, and how to make goals for oneself. I believe Gilligan’s idea of an “anti-prison” is just what

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