Prison Administrators Should Not Close Programs that Encourage Prisoners to Contribute

By · Sunday, January 25th, 2009

On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, Patrick McGreevy published an article in the LA Times describing how state prison officials eliminated a program that had been allowing non-violent offenders to earn their freedom. Instead of allowing the inmates to make contributions to society through meaningful work projects, those in charge of corrections made the administrative decision to close down the community program and send the men to regular prisons.

Perhaps the lobbyists who support “corrections” felt that programs that helped prepare inmates for release threatened the 70 percent recidivism rates. Administrators count on those high recidivism rates to keep corrections growing with bigger slices of state budgets.

Instead of closing down such programs, we need new leadership in our prison system. We need leadership that will bring more opportunities for prisoners to earn freedom through merit. Prison reforms should encourage those in prison to reconcile with society. Instead of discouraging prisoners from making meaningful contributions, administrators ought to provide an objective system that provides a clear path for offenders to work toward becoming one with America. Such would be in the spirit of an enlightened country, and that is the era which President Obama promises.

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