Position Paper on the Topic ‘Locked Up’
In the thirteenth chapter, ‘Locked Up,’ the author theorizes that prisons do not fulfill their mandate, which includes contributing to the rehabilitation of individuals that might have been incarcerated for committing crimes. Based on the figures provided, it would be possible to confirm that the number of inmates has been on the rise over the years. For instance, the author provides that more than two million adults had been locked up in different prisons by the end of the year 2011. This figure shows that the number of individuals in correctional facilities has increased significantly. In this light, it would be plausible to argue that the prison system in the nation has failed to fulfill one of its primary functions, which is to rehabilitate criminals.
An opposing viewpoint to the idea that prisons do not rehabilitate inmates could be attached to the social learning theory. This theory supports the provision that learning takes place within a particular social context. In this case, an individual can learn through a particular number of forms, which are inclusive of observing the behavior of other people and judging the outcomes of these behaviors. Since most people have the ability to control their behavior through self-regulation, this opposing viewpoint indicates that the incorporation of this theory as a component of the prison system’s work release programs have supported the rehabilitation of inmates. On the same note, it would not be fair to assume that the prisons are not fulfilling their functions. Instead, other factors might come into play to explain the reason for the increase other than dismissing that prisons do not contribute to the rehabilitation of inmates.
Contrary to this idea, correctional facilities do not perform their rehabilitating functions. Reference to abolitionist literature could reiterate this position. In this regard, abolitionist literature would suggest that prisons play a key role in reproducing criminal behavior rather than rehabilitating the offenders. Stanton Samenow reiterates this claim when he indicates that when a criminal absorbs crime, the absorption does not mean that the criminal tendency diminishes since he or she is behind bars. Instead, the inmate has to work towards ensuring that he is safe, which means that he might join gangs within the prison. The other example that could be used to indicate that prisons do not contribute to the rehabilitation of inmates is the existence of gang operations and the provision that some of the staff members might facilitate criminal activities, including the distribution of illegal drugs.
To conclude, the examples provided reveal that prisons do not perform their rehabilitative function. Some of the staff members in the various prisons participate or assist the inmates to make money by selling drugs among other contraband within the correctional facilities. This means that they are not engaging in activities that would ensure the rehabilitation of the criminals. Conversely, a criminal might choose to remain in the correctional facilities since he or she might be making more money than it would be possible to make outside the facilities. However, having taken note of the idea that prisons do not rehabilitate inmates, one of the possible recommendations would be to incorporate social learning theory as a component that could be implemented in work release programs. The implementation would possibly have a positive influence on ensuring recidivism reduces.