The “Tough on Crime” and “War on Drugs” policies of the 1970s – 1980s have caused an over populated prison system where incarceration is policy and assistance for prevention was placed on the back burner. As of 2005, a little fewer than 2,000 prisoners are being released every day. These individuals have not gone through treatment or been properly assisted in reentering society. This has caused individuals to reenter the prison system after only a year of being release and this problem will not go away, but will get worst if current thinking does not change. This change must be bigger than putting in place some under funded programs that do not provide support. As the current cost of incarceration is around $30,000 a year per inmate, change to the system/procedure must prevent recidivism and the current problem of over-crowed prisons.
As the current prison structures and sentencing process continues to neglect the issues that current offenders have no change will accrue to prevent recidivism. The issue with the current structure of the prison sentencing process is it does not deal with the “why” the individual is an social deviant but only looks at the punishment process to remove the deviant from society. This method does not allow an offender to return back to society without continuing where they left off. As an offender is punished they are sentenced (removal from society) they continue in an isolated environment (prison) after their punishment time is completed and are released back to society they are now an outsider to the rapidly changing social environment. These individuals are returned to society without any coping skills, job training, or transitional training which will prevent them from continuing down the same road which caused them to be arrested and imprisoned in the first place. The current system simple punish the individual and then puts them back into society in a worst situation then they were prior.
The current system does not address the individual issues, but we do understand some lead causes for their deviant behavior. “Currently 31% of offenders were unemployed before arrest, 40% are functionally illiterate, 19% are illiterate and 13% have some type of mental health problems.” (Sung, 2011) These issues are major contributors that cause individuals to continue to return to the prison system. As these inmates have an abundance of free time and educational program and mental health specialist are able to assist and additional prevent future criminal/deviant behavior. This form of treatment which allows the incarcerated offenders to learn a skill and overcome their deviancies, will prevent the high number of recidivism and provide a form of treatment which allow them to be members of society.
The treatment that offenders receive in prison must match the personality and needs of the individual. As we have learned in school systems, not every person learns in the same manner. This is the same to the...