Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"How America's Prison Systems Could Be Fixed (Part 2)"

What leads to most of the behavioral problems in prison? We could blame the fact that there are so many different personalities forced to live in a confined space together. We could blame the individuals, saying that they are incapable of acting in a socially constructive manner. Many factors may be pointed out, including economy and even racial barriers. The truth is, that while these factors may play a part, they are avoidable. Our militaries see many of the same factors come into play, with less of the problems.

I believe that the main reason for this is the time we have on our hands. As busy as I keep myself, I still find long periods of time with nothing to do. The sheer boredom, combined with the many grating personalities that surround me, often leads to feelings of anxiety and frustration, which turn leads to antisocial acts or behaviors.

I am not saying that I act out, but certainly I have not always filled my days with productive activities. I love to gamble. There have been times when the boredom has set in and the poker table began calling my name. Before I realize it, I'm locked in to the table and neglect all other duties. Even writing takes second place.

Now, if more of our hours in here were spent geared toward productive ends, if we were forced to live and act as a responsible members of society, not only would we be more prepared to reenter society, but there would also be a decrease in behavioral problems within the institutions.

How could our time be spent more productively? Well, there are a number of ways, and certainly some of the population does pursue productive activities, but it is the majority we need for prison to be successful.

Here are a few of my own ideas:

1. Set up prison boot camps - Allow for inmates to volunteer for military training programs, just as if they were joining the Army, the Navy, the Marines, or whatever. Or course, there would be no provision of guns or ammo, but nothing else need change. Those who do well may join the actual division upon release, on a probationary enlistment. This would help increase recruitment and being military run programs, it would be rehabilitation without the added expense to the state's budget.

2. Show more support for talents of prisoners - There are many artists, poets, musicians, authors, and other talented individuals who find no outlet for their works. Most are not as luck as I am to have a sister who supports me by posting this blog. Resourceful individuals will find ways to hone their craft, but after a few years, without a way to share your work with others, the work begins to lose purpose and soon the inspiration is gone.

3. Offer college scholarships to prisoners - Perhaps an athletic scholarship is not possible, but there are quite a few in there that could qualify for academic scholarships. The more we educate the people, the greater our society can become. Neglecting to better those in the prison population, or at least offer the opportunity, means our only expectation for them should be failure.

4. Create a job market in the prison system that is comparable to what one would find beyond the walls - This means not only placing prisoners in positions that aid in the operation of the prison itself, but also developing more prison operated businesses that provide products or services for the communities (construction crews, furniture making, TV repairs, farming, etc.) This would do more to generate funds to cover prison costs and provide necessary services to the state which supports said prison. Rather than being helpless burdens on the state and the taxpayers, prisoners become self-sustaining, responsible citizens working toward the goal of establishing themselves as productive, up-standing members of society.

Certainly, the above ideas need some fleshing out. They are meant to be seeds, that hopefully grow towards necessary changes. Other ideas are needed as well and I would welcom any ideas others may have. But, I am still just a prisoner. My words can only reach out to ears that are willing to listen. Others must make the changes.


  1. Those are really great ideas... I would love to hear why they haven't thought or done this yet. Instead of everyone just hanging out they could actually be working toward something!

  2. yo frog its travis. i like the blog and im probably gonna use some of the stuff on it to help write my research paper on why the judicial system is failing va. i just typed a long ass message and it got deleted somehow so this one is what you get this time haha
    heres my address if you wanna write.
    Travis Scalf
    2353 Morgan Wray Ln.
    Mechanicsville, va 23111

    the paper is due apr 12 if you got any input i need an "interview"