The incarcerated life of a prisoner is usually a reoccurring cycle; commit a crime, go to prison, get released. Commit another crime, go to prison yet again, and get released once more. For many criminals, this is the cycle that will define who they are.
Is it their fault? Not entirely. The prison system is set up exclusively as a form of punishment, which it should be for the most part, but lacks in guidance. However, a large number of criminals who get locked up spend their days reflecting on their past crimes and thinking about family who they had left behind. They often come to the conclusion that they must change their lives so they are no longer missing out on family members accomplishments, the growing up of their children, and on real life.
Most individuals serving time in prison only know a life of crime. Crime is how they had previously survived in the real world and they do not possess skills to obtain a good job. Even if imprisoned individuals do have skills, a majority of employers shy away from hiring ex-prisoners due to the reputation that they have. What the prison system can do is provide workshops so prisoners can obtain certain skills or improve skills they already have in order to prove to potential employers that they have what it takes to hold down a job and to prove that they would be an asset to the establishment.
Providing this benefit would help prisoners get on the right track and stay on it throughout their prison term and after getting released. It would also help prisoners stay out of the prison cycle which would free up space for other street criminals who could use the hard truth of what prison really is but could also use the guidance. An additional beneficial program that prison facilities could become involved in is training dogs for rehabilitation services. On the Animal Planets television show, Pit Bulls and Parolees, the woman who runs a Pit Bull rescue visits a prison that had implemented such a program. In interviews with the prisoners and the guards, one thing was clear; things were better with the dogs.
The guards stated that there was less fighting in that specific section of the prison and the inmates were not so loud and obnoxious. The prisoners stated that living with the dogs had changed them. The dogs bonded with them without judgment and made them realize that they can turn their lives around and prove that they should not be judged by their past decisions. Wilbert Rideau states that most prisoners here are much older, having spent ?fteen, twenty, thirty, or more years behind bars, long past necessity.
Rather than pay for new prisons, society would be well served by releasing some of its older prisoners who pose no threat and using the money to catch young street thugs. This is quite a good idea. I recently watched a television show on the Discovery channel about men who were sentenced to life in prison. In one specific prison, an entire section of the building had been made into a prison hospice center where elderly prisoners were taken to be cared for and made comfortable for when they were to pass away. These individuals obviously pose no threat to society and most likely would not have posed a threat for quite some time. It could have been beneficial to the prison system to have released these inmates and used those resources to imprison younger and more dangerous criminals.
Prisoners should not receive special treatment, but they should be given the opportunity to better themselves. Imprisoned individuals should be given guidance and support to learn new things and realize that a life in prison is not a life to live. Although they have committed crimes, prisoners still need compassion and everyone deserves a second chance to prove themselves to society.