He Wasn’t That Bad Before He Went to Prison, But He Came Home With Even More Issues

It’s quite interesting how a person can leave prison with issues that were non-existent prior to incarceration. It would not be a total surprise that after a period of incarceration a person would leave with PTSD, rage, severe loss issues, and untreated and progressed addictions. It wouldn’t surprise me because inmates are forced to submit to humiliating commands – day in and day out. They’re stripped of all forms of independent thinking while the criminal justice system, systematically does nothing to rebuild them into citizens capable of functioning in today’s society.

Law enforcement is funded by tax dollars. A return on that investment is in need in the form of a rehabilitated somebody who could actually re-enter society as a changed person. I understand that incarceration is a war in which only the strong survive. But what about the prisoner who is genuinely striving to gain something positive from the prison experience – but instead of prison programs – is met with systemic obstacles and dead-ins at every turn.

Prison is hell-on-earth and is infested with negativity, pain and suffering. It’s a very aggressive environment that can break a man’s will to live. So why do the authorities practice devious tactics to make the prisoner’s stay worse than it already is? Yes, those same people who get paid to oversee the inmates. Yes, those same people who would rather confine the mentally ill to solitary confinement. Yes, those same administrators who would rather build more prisons versus offering prison art therapy programs for inmates.

It is hard to understand how anyone would argue that throwing thousands of criminally minded individuals into an unstable environment with virtually nothing constructive to do could actually improve crime rates in America. I can’t help but wonder how many of these people could have been saved if the jails tried to fix people versus making them worse-off? Could there be anything more confusing than a correctional system that doesn’t correct anything? Or anything more broken than a system that does the opposite of what it was designed to do?

The above facts lead me to the conclusion that our policies are partly responsible for high recidivism rates and ultimately, mass incarceration. In many ways, I believe they need it to function this way, and I believe that the authorities perpetuate harsh conditions for inmates. Why else would our loved ones come home with severe mental issues? Why else would they system continue to burden our communities with more broken people? America deserves better.