The Importance Of Prison Reform

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A prison, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is “A building to which people are legally committed as a punishment for a crime.” This definition emphasises the stereotypical role prisons, a place where “bad” people go to get punished, furthermore this definition implies that simply going to prison is the extent of the punishment, and thus also implying that it is simply a place to keep criminals of the streets. Now some people argue that prisons should be places of reform, havens where prisoners can reflect on what they have done and how they can return to be valuable members of society. And it is perhaps because the prison system tries to accomplish all these things simultaneously, that it is such a spectacular monument failure. Prisons run …show more content…
A particular scene from ‘Orange Is the New Black’ epitomizes the inefficiency of reforms in the prison system. Danbury takes a progressive step forward by introducing a completely useless job fair, as Kerman explains in her memoir, most women in prison have worked in underground economies and therefore had no real world job experiences, and thus opportunities such as dressing up for a job fair and doing online research and job hunting were completely wasted on inmates who lacked the means to get smart new clothes on the outside or internet facilities on the inside. Piper mentions that she had seen no attempts to rehabilitate prisoners to the outside beyond the intensive drug program, but without a stable job or even the chance of acquiring one, how effective would the drug program be? Most women without stability eventually return to prison showing the utter futility of reforms but instead capture the essence of a prisons tertiary function, keeping criminals off the streets. Furthermore there is a significant prison population composed of kids who have made stupid decisions, and putting these small time offenders with hardened criminals and seasoned cons is the opposite of …show more content…
With only slim chances of making it on the outside, most of those incarcerated will return to prison. Moreover there are a small number of prisoners that are in for life, for various crimes, and for these offenders there is no life beyond the prison. In her memoir Kerman sprouts some eye-opening statistics, she mentions that there are ninety thousand prisoners locked up for drug offences, an astonishing double compared with the forty thousand incarcerated for violent crime rates. A federal prisoner costs about thirty thousand US dollars to incarcerate and women cost more. Thus the adverse effect of a high criminal population on the economy is quite evident. Portugal made drug offences a health issue instead of a criminal one, intensive health care to anyone suffering from narcotic addictions has cut down both drug related crimes and problems while also reducing prison population. This shows how the US federal prison system fails to act in the manner best for society by criminalizing medical

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