Response to Readers

Reduce Recidivism Through Reform

As a society, citizens ought to expect our $59 billion prison system to do more than warehouse offenders for the duration of their sentences. When we lock offenders inside abnormal communities for years or decades at a time, we condition them for non productivity. Rather than encouraging redemption, prisons extinguish hope and breed resentment. This […]

Furloughs Reduce Recidivism

All prisoners hope for furloughs, but not all prisoners qualify. I have never known a prisoner to deny a furlough. Though many prisoners recognize that they do not meet the criteria for furlough consideration and so do not apply. In federal prison, a prisoner must advance to within two years of his release date to […]

Hard Working Prisoners

I am a firm believer in the power of work, responsibility, and trust as motivating factors to inspire positive prison adjustments. Administrators could make much better use of these virtues to reform offenders. To succeed, they ought to look to the same types of incentive systems corporate leaders and small business owners use to motivate […]

Prisons Do Not Inspire Growth

Prisons used in moderation serve as a useful tool for society. Used in excess, however, prisons lose their potency. I was convicted of a nonviolent crime in 1987 and I have been in prison ever since. My adjustment has made me better qualified to offer positive contributions to society, though I do not attribute my […]

Prison Administrators Resist Change

Through the Second Chance Act, Congress found that those who spent lengthy terms in prison lost touch with society. When prisoners released, they lacked sufficient support to establish themselves. Such weakness led many prisoners to recidivate, lifting the costs for society. In passing the Second Chance Act, Congress hoped to help lower recidivism rates. Prison […]

Everything in Moderation… Including Prison

To create balance in our family, my mother used to say, “everything in moderation.” Yet there is no question that America has embraced the concept of “too much.”  Attitudes of greed and excess  created the current financial mess. More people in this country are morbidly obese than fit. Americans are prescribed and take pills for every […]

Warehousing vs. Rehabilitation as the Goal of Prison

I would like to believe that rehabilitation mattered in the prison system. If rehabilitation mattered to the system, administrators would have released me many years ago. After all, during my first eight years of confinement, I earned an undergraduate degree from Mercer University and a graduate degree from Hofstra University. I was 31 and as […]

Media and the Subject of Prison Reform

Upon my release, or while I’m serving these final years of my sentence if possible, I will strive to work closely with the media to promote the need for prison reform. With statistics showing that America incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation, I am convinced our citizens ought to know more about […]

Poor Prisoners Differ From Rich

Bernard Madoff swindled billions of dollars from thousands of victims. Despite his crime, a judge did not incarcerate him immediately upon the government’s discovery of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Scooter Libby was a lawyer and a highly placed official in the Bush administration. He was convicted of a crime and a federal judge sentenced Libby to […]

Incentives Would Improve Prison Culture

The U.S. Congress published findings that show how much prisons cost taxpayers to operate. They swallow more than $59 billion each year. According to the Pew Report, those funds are diverted from social programs like education, health care, and unemployment assistance. What taxpayers may find especially troubling is that despite the massive expenditures, recidivism rates […]

The Ridiculous Manner of Prison Managment

I don’t think prisons exist to help criminals. They are a public resource to help society. It simply turns out that the ridiculous manner in which prisons operate today, they lead to high operating costs, high recidivism rates, and corruption in society. We need prison reforms that will improve corrections. The Pew Report showed the […]

President Obama’s Prison Reform Advisor

If I were a policy advisor to President Barack Obama on the niche subject of prison reform, I would urge him to bring the exact leadership skills that have exemplified his young presidency. That means I would want President Obama to embrace the findings of academia, Congress, and think tanks. Those findings strongly suggest that […]

Conservative Prison Policies are Ridiculous

Duke Cunningham was a Republican congressman who now serves a lengthy prison term. Ted Stevens was a Republican senator from Alaska who was convicted of crimes that will yield a prison term. Scooter Libby was a key player in the Bush white house. Had it not been for executive clemency, he would have been but […]

Ombudsman Panels and Prison Reform

The budget crisis, together with a recent judicial decision, may result in the early release of 50,000 prisoners who are held in the overcrowded California state prison system. Who will be responsible for determining which prisoners return to their communities early? Hugo Sanchez is a criminal justice student who asked my thoughts on who should […]

Utilize the Family Structure to Prepare Offenders for Re-entry

More than two years have passed since I’ve heard my mother’s voice. I have not spoken with my younger sister, Christina, in the same length of time. During those two years I’ve seen my older sister, Julie, three times. I hardly know my nieces and nephew, as prison rules prohibit me from playing a significant […]