My name is Jessica and I’m writing from the perspective of having six different prison numbers. My experiences with prisons are solely due to heroin addiction. And the recidivism rate in prisons is primarily due to addictions and the inability to and lack of knowledge about how to break the patterns of the addictive personality traits. But people are creatures of habit by nature, and habits that can result in prison sentences must be broken in order for prison to make a positive influence in a person’s life.
This is where prisons become ineffective and seriously lacking in their responsibility to society and prisoners. Prison atmospheres are dehumanizing and oppressive. The objectives should be: to spark interests in alternative living and coping skills; to promote, incite and assist people to want to live life instead of being complacent with mere existence. Instead, prisons have become holding places for nameless people to stagnate, their growth and learning potential trapped in a pattern of marking time.
The medical attention is atrociously inept. No one responds well when their medical needs are not being met. The educational and vocational programs are far below par and potential. There is a serious lack of personalizing and inmates rarely receive recognition for noteworthy accomplishments and deeds. Recreation and hobby craft availability are limited and many are denied access. And the overcrowded living conditions are a never-ending source of stress and antagonism. The food in some prisons is so poorly prepared it becomes unhealthy long before it reaches our chow line. Therapy is not available to everyone and has become so impersonal, with an atmosphere of uncaring and breaches of confidentiality, that many prisoners are unwilling to participate.
These are only some of the reasons that prison does not work for me or others like me. Redefining and implementing workable solutions to these problems is thwarted by the simple fact that in many states prison has become an industry. Simply broken down, the more bodies, the more money is allocated for their budget. But to what avail is this to the people imprisoned or to the society? At this rate the prison industry will overtake the monetary worth of many conglomerates. And still we will have prisoners and parolees who are unequipped to live life on life’s terms and are disadvantaged by never knowing their potentials for achievements and self-worth. Is this what society really wants for and from the people it has imprisoned?