Thursday, February 28, 2008

America the Prison

According to this latest news release, almost one in a hundred Americans is in prison to start off the new year. That is more than any other country.

The newsstory goes on to cite that some states put more money into their corrections system than their higher education system. California spends the most overall money on their prisoners, over 8 billion dollars; Texas is second with over three billion.

My friend Jon Davison is a probation officer, he has many, many, many sad stories. Mostly sad because a few key changes could make a huge difference in many lives. But the state and federal government have set policies that incarcerate too many people for crimes that could be punished in a much more constructive and effective manner.

But will education be the answer? Most incarcerated men have significant moral problems stemming from the absence, abuse, or neglect of their father. What is the moral strategy that will accompany the education and vocational one? With the success of Prison Fellowship, states should at least allow alternative measures for restoration to full humanity. The terrible dehuamnization that occurs in too many prisons is unacceptable. Except that our politicians accept it.

Politics is not the answer. Yet we cannot get a better solution without them. I suppose I should find out what the policy statements are by McCain and Obama regarding our corrections system. Oh the difference they could make if they encouraged states to pursue best practices for reducing recidivism rates.


Kratz said...

1 in 100.

Tim Hallman said...

I'm glad you caught that!

I was logging on to make that statistical correction...kind of significant, eh.