By Christopher Zoukis In a recent speech, newly-appointed UK Secretary of State for Justice, MP Michael Gove echoed what so many prison reform advocates have
American Prisons: A Failure of the Greatest Magnitude
The state and federal prison systems of America are in tatters. Inmates are being transformed into hardened convicts. Recidivism rates continue to rise. And all the while, the concept of prison rehabilitating offenders has become a running joke, ongoing dialogue on prison reform aside.
It’s pathetic, plain and simple. Inmates are real people that go through real struggles and aren’t provided the tools they require to succeed, but still the American people expect prisoners to be rehabilitated upon their release from custody. It’s laughable to think that inmates could leave prison without any type of additional education, vocational training, or treatment program and succeed in an unfamiliar and unaccepting world outside prison walls. American corrections simply provides no structure or protocol to promote recovery, and the significant stigma against former prisoners acts in a way that practically ensues that all will return to a life of crime and recidivate.
The Onion Presents its Case: Prisons Don’t Make People More Employable?
It’s crucial that prison policies, procedures, and governing principles changes to assist former inmates in leading a better, more productive, and law-abiding life after their term of incarceration has concluded. In fact, the need for reform is so obvious that even “The Onion” — the satirical newspaper — wrote an entire article characterizing the thought process of those who think that prison provides inmates with the tools required to leave prison and not return to a life of crime.
“It just doesn’t seem possible that an inmate could live for a decade and a half in a completely dehumanizing environment in which violent felons were constantly on the verge of attacking or killing him and not emerge an emotionally stable, productive member of society.”
By Joseph Giordmaina
The Programme for Education in Prison of the University of Malta and the European Prison Education Association – Malta Branch organised a one-week training seminar entitled In-Prison Education for Rehabilitation and Resettlement.
Home Affairs and National Security Minister Emmanuel Mallia inaugurated the event. He spoke about his vision of the prison, particularly the role of the prison as a correctional facility, a process of incarceration after which the inmate should be reformed. The minister expressed his concern on the number of ex-inmates who return to prison time and time again. This in itself reflects badly on the success rate of reintegration into society.
The minister spoke of his idea to appoint a director of education at CCF, highlighting his ambition to make education and rehabilitation two of the main purposes of incarceration. This theme was further explored by the main invited speakers.
The themes discussed were rehabilitation and resettlement, formal and informal education, virtual learning platforms in prisons, employment after release and the role of the prison as a positive learning environment.
All agreed that we are now in a position to know what really works in prison, basic of which is the need to involve the prison inmate in the design of one’s sentence plan. This is possible only if an accurate assessment of his/her needs is made.