Prison Reform: The need of the hour


Imprisonment, within jail or prison, constitutes a deprivation of the basic right to liberty. What it does not mean is the restriction of other human rights, the exception being those which are simply there because one is imprisoned. To ensure that these rights are guaranteed to every prisoner, prison reform has become a topic for conversation and even legislation.

In simple words – prison reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, establish a much more effective penal system, or implement alternatives to incarceration. It is focused on ensuring public safety and restoration for those impacted by crime through the creation of a constructive culture within the prison system.

When we look at numbers from the 2018 National Update on Prisoner Recidivism, we get to know that prison reform at all levels is a must in the United States. This is because, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed an estimated 68% prisoners were arrested within three years of release, 79% within six years, and a staggering 83% within 9 years of release.

This regular re-incarceration of offenders makes it even more necessary to have prison reforms in the United States.

While we talk about prison reforms, we also need to understand what goals the government wants to achieve through these reforms. Firstly, it is about ensuring access to programs which help individuals gain knowledge, skills, job training, and positive values during their period of incarceration.Secondly,revising correctional policies to ensure that minimal barriers exist to maintaining positive community relationships during the period of incarceration.

All this boils down to the very simple fact that any incarcerated individualneeds support, both from the community and their loved ones, to become better. Therefore, the need for these programs become very important. By providing these individuals with opportunities to gain productive skills and equipping them to strengthen their positive relationships, we can help them achieve their full potential and transform their lives upon their return to the community.

While we all agree that prison reforms are important, the first question that needs answering is, why need reforms in the first place.

Prisons are overcrowded

Statistics show that the prison population has reached astounding numbers, higher than ever before. This is because American prisons weren’t designed to take care of a large amount of people, let alone allow the number of tax dollars to support proper funding. Hence, prisons are overcrowded, and the federal government cannot afford this cost.

The reason for overcrowding could be many but overall, it undermines the prison’s ability to meet basic human needs, allow proper funds for rehabilitation and educational programs for inmates or even fund staff training.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are designed as a basic rule-of-thumb for specific charges. Each crime comes with a certain number of years one would have to serve if found guilty in a court of law.Because this minimum sentencing could vary from crime to crime, the prison population keeps increasing, with no reform in sight for a long period of time.

Detrimental social impact

Imprisonment disrupts relationships and weakens social bondssince the maintenance of such a bond is based on long-term relationships. When a member of a family is imprisoned, it disrupts the family structure affecting relationships between spouses, as well as between parents and children, reshaping the family and community across generations. Mass imprisonment produces a deep social transformation in families and communities.

Now that we understand why there is a need for prison reform, the next thing we should know is what prisons reformdoes for a person and how it makes them better.

There are several major problems with the current state of the prison system, and the most concerning is the failure to reintegrate former prisoners back into society. To allow a normal life, once out of prison, the first step is within the system itself, where you bring better laws to improve their lifestyle.

Excessive incarceration rates also pose a significant risk to society. There are currently over 2 million Americans in local, state and federal facilities. Around 2.7 million children have an incarcerated parent — a reality that one cannot ignore.

Most importantly, workforce programming and re-entry programs are needed improve prisoners’ job skills will increase their probability of attaining gainful employment.

Also, the reform system needs to be such to allow constant contact with family and loved ones. Here is where technology plays a key part.apps such as Inmate Compassion, this is possible. Through postcards, picture letters, personalized picture cards, and much more, you stay in touch with your loved inmate

But, while we talk about Inmate Compassion – prison reform is indeed the need of the hour.

Download Inmate Compassion Android App

Download Inmate Compassion iOS App

Leave a Reply

Back To Top