Media and the Subject of Prison Reform

By · Thursday, March 26th, 2009

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 why our prisons generate such high recidivism rates.

As a spokesperson for prison reform, I would highlight different aspects of confinement than current media likes to portray. I would emphasize the challenges those who strive to prepare for law-abiding lives upon release must overcome. By erecting obstacles that block prisoners from building strong family and community ties; by limited prisoner access to vocational and education programs; and by failing to rely upon mechanisms that would encourage prisoners to work toward earning freedom, prisons perpetuate continuing cycles of failure. Rather than striving to reduce recidivism, corrections uses policies that keep it going.

To promote prison reform, I will strive to work with the media on creating content that profiles those prisoners who have succeeded. They dwarf the number who adjust to prison by joining gangs and hustling contraband. I’d like to contrast the differences and help audiences understand why so few emerge from prison successfully. My experience in navigating prisons of every security level may help me make a persuasive case. Certainly, I also would advocate for reforms to help those who have completed their terms contribute to society in positive ways.

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