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Inmate Matters

  • Date Submitted: 03/15/2010 09:29 AM
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Gregory L. Crawford
CJ101: Introduction to Criminal Justice
Module 5:   Inmate Matters

      I remember when growing up in southwest Ohio, hearing about prisons and prisoners.   And in particular, watching television programs on the life of criminals while incarcerated.   I recall one specific documentary depicted the life of an inmate as being tolerable, where the inmate had a place to sleep, received three hot meals a day, had medical care, education, recreation, and was even paid for jobs inside the prison.   Numerous relatives saw the same program and seemed upset about how good conditions were inside of our prison system, arguing prisoners were better off than many Americans.   They held prisoners should not have access to these amenities and they should endure hardship while in prison to pay for the crimes. They believed rigors of prison life should be enough to dissuade them from ever committing a crime again that would be their rehabilitation.
      At the time, I believe this is what many Americans perceived.   However, later in life I became aware of the rehabilitative programs offered to inmates, so upon their release from prison they would become a contributing member of society.   Three programs I believe are relevant and equally important in today‚Äôs prison system are education, UNICOR or vocational training, and substance abuse treatment.
      Unfortunately, education or the lack of may be the reason many inmates are in prison.   Most inmates probably dropped out of high school and lacked the basic skills to escape poverty or their environment.   Many fell in with the wrong crowd or gang, beginning their downward spiral.   I am not saying you need to be a rocket scientist to escape your environment, but just basic knowledge is a key to getting at least an unskilled job until they can get something better.   However, many stop there and never attempt to improve their status or position.
      But, I am convinced that many of the problems our young...

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