Help them change

by person5678 on February 10, 2017 - 11:16am

Past or present there has always been controversy regarding the treatment of prisoners and whether or not they should be rehabilitated. It is often said, criminals in prison come out of jail only to be better criminals, which exposes the flaws within our correctional system. The aim should not only be to punish, but also to help them reintegrate into the real world with the goal to be better. Criminal rehabilitation is positive for our society and worker programs should be implemented into our penal system. If prisoners were to work and earn money while in prison they would learn basic skills such as saving money for the real world, and in return have they would leave prison with enough money saved up for the day they are released back into society. Reintegration would be more plausible and would reduce the chances of reoffending in the future.  


Many are opposed to rehabilitation and work programs for criminals for various reasons. Criminals are in prison because they have broken the law, and therefore should not be awarded basic privileges such as earning money. Prison equals punishment. The work they do in prison should not be rewarded with monetary value, as it is not up to the honest hard working taxpayers to foot the bill. Also, payment to prisoners for work does not guarantee a better integration, but allows prisoner’s access to means to manipulate and intimidate other prisoners as it gives them power with the walls of the institution. In addition, the extra costs of surveillance for these programs to guarantee safety are too great for the returns they may or may not yield. Opponents to prisoner rehabilitation may see themselves as utilitarian in concept, as they believe it is for the greater good and benefits the greater number of people. By enforcing punishment at lower costs to tax payers, benefits the populations as a whole. Making punishments more severe for second offenders would more likely deter future crimes than rehabilitation. 


While the concept of utilitarianism may seem opposed to criminal rehabilitation, it can be argued that it is the very basis for its necessity. Working and rehabilitation programs enviably reduce prison sentences and prisoners are released into society as skilled workers. Not only would rehabilitation reduce repeat offenders, sentences could be shorter reducing long-term costs. Prisoners who learn a skill and have been able to earn money can be released into society without being a burden to the community. Rehabilitation leads to a safer, peaceful society and prisoners once released can pay taxes and give back to the community. Making prisoners feel valued, teaching them communication skills and giving them an overall sense of self-worth would not only keep the prisons safer but we it would releasing individuals that can handle being in the real world and not having to rely on crime to survive. In addition to spending their incarcerated time in a positive way, the interactions with other inmates would be less destructive as they would be working for common objectives. Realistically crime will never be eliminated but by offering tools to help criminals not re-offend, we make the population at large safer and lowering long-term costs to society. 


In conclusion, the pros of criminal rehabilitation, working programs do outweigh the cons.  Criminal rehabilitation is positive for the society as a whole, as the burden of released prisoners would be substantially lower in addition to reducing the likeliness that they will recommit crimes.  Those who are against prisoner working programs, argue that it is not for the greater good of the community that prisoners be rehabilitated, since the community would be paying the taxes for the surveillance of the working prisoners. Although, if working programs are organized correctly, it would be benefiting to the community. Prisoners would then be able to be released earlier and that would be more beneficial than keeping them in prison as it is more expensive than having them guarded and watched while working. Overall prisoner rehabilitation working programs should be accepted into our penal system as it does affect the greater good for our society. 


I find you raise some excellent points concerning the importance of governmental funds in aiding inmates. That said, I believe your text would be far superior if you discussed some of the difficulties associated with rehabilitating convicts. Indeed, studies show that many prison inmates tend to turn down proper treatment when it is offered to them. The vast majority of these inmates being men, it is almost certain that their reluctance to engage in psychological care is a symptom of their conformity with hegemonic masculinity. Simply put, hegemonic masculinity is the unattainable ideal which all men are pushed to emulate. It is typically associated with physical strength, stoicism, financial success, and sexual activeness. Furthermore, it encourages men to assert dominance over women. Due to the single-sex nature of correctional institutions, it is impossible for prisoners to accomplish this. Hence, they compensate by dominating over other men deemed less robust. This is done through various forms of abuse ranging from verbal taunts to fatal beatings. Thus, it is only natural for such a large portion of prisoners to refuse counseling, as revealing their emotions would cause them to be seen as lesser men, which in turn would render them more susceptible to maltreatment from other inmates or guards.
In his 2005 article Toxic Masculinity as a Barrier to Mental Health Treatment in Prison, psychologist Terry A. Kupers sheds light on these matters. In addition, he provides several procedures which may be taken by clinicians in order to subdue male prisoners' resistance to therapy.

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