Prison Is Not A Free Vacation

1174 words - 5 pages

If any other system failed in as a large of a proportion as the incarceration system, they would have been shut down by now. Why then is it allowed to be in a state of perpetual failure? The incarceration system is in need of a reformation. In the state of Texas alone, it costs approximately 21, 390 dollars per inmate, and with the prisons’ high recidivism rate it is costing the United States billions of dollars to lock away these individuals (What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers). While forcing prisoners to work low skilled jobs may cause initial setbacks, it will be beneficial in the end because it will save taxpayers’ money, aid in their rehabilitation, and make the country safer.
The opposing side contends that if society gives the low-skilled jobs to prisoners, they will be taking away possible job opportunities from the good people in the community. While this scenario may have some merit, in the long run, society as a whole will benefit financially from the prisoners working. By working, they will be reimbursing the taxpayers investment in them, as their labor will contribute to the overall community workforce. Studies have also shown that by allowing the prisoners to adjust to life outside of the penitentiary, there is a significant decrease in the number of inmates who will likely be incarnated once again, saving the general public money that would have been spent to keep returning inmates in prison for a second or third time around (Gilligan, 2012). More than four out of ten people are re-incarcerated, so additional money is being spent on the same person (Johnson, 2011). There is a greater chance of avoiding this outcome if the prisoner were trained to function in the real world, rather than being completely isolated in a jail cell attempting nothing that would benefit themselves or the community that is paying to keep them in there.
Another topic of concern is that the prisoners will essentially become slaves within the prison system since they will be working for no pay. The prisoner made a choice in which resulted in them being enclosed by four walls; slaves, on the other hand, did not have a choice. This is then seen as something that is unethical; however, the opposition would contend the ethics in having good people waste money to supply the needs of people who broke the law when they can contribute the money to their own needs and/or family? In essence, it is not slave labor at all, as the inmates are getting their room, food, and board paid for, in addition to the many other resources and facilities provided to them by the taxpayers’ monetary contribution. As a result, prisoners are not working for free, but are working for what is being offered to them in spite of the reason that led them to be imprisoned. Potentially, they will be offered the opportunity to learn new skills that, in turn, could be incorporated to their everyday lives once they are released back into society, learning to live life as a free citizen and...

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