Prison Rehabilitation Quotes

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We have a racially based justice system that overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn't make us safer.
Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black)
...bars can't build better men and misery can only break what goodness remains.
Stuart Turton (The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle)
Generally speaking, punishment makes men hard and cold; it concentrates; it sharpens the feeling of alienation; it strengthens the power of resistance
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo)
Men who are in prison for rape think it's the dumbest thing that ever happened... it's isn't just a miscarriage of justice; they were put in jail for something very little different from what most men do most of the time and call it sex. The only difference is they got caught. That view is nonremorseful and not rehabilitative. It may also be true. It seems to me that we have here a convergence between the rapists's view of what he has done and the victim's perspective on what was done to her. That is, for both, their ordinary experiences of heterosexual intercourse and the act of rape have something in common. Now this gets us into immense trouble, because that's exactly how judges and juries see it who refuse to convict men accused of rape. A rape victim has to prove that it was not intercourse. She has to show that there was force and that she resisted, because if there was sex, consent is inferred. Finders of fact look for "more force than usual during the preliminaries". Rape is defined by distinction from intercourse - not nonviolence, intercourse. They ask, does this event look more like fucking or like rape? But what is their standard for sex, and is this question asked from the women's point of view? The level of force is not adjudicated at her point of violation; it is adjudicated at the standard for the normal level of force. Who sets this standard?
Catharine A. MacKinnon
The public expects sentences to be punitive but also rehabilitative; however, what we expect and what we get from our prisons are very different things. The lesson that our prison system teaches its residents is how to survive as a prisoner, not as a citizen - not a very constructive body of knowledge for us or the communities to which we return.
Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black)
Isolation does not “rehabilitate” people. Disappearance does not deter harm. And prison does not keep us safe.
Maya Schenwar (Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better)
The main difference is that the enlightened believe that the poor criminal should be rehabilitated while the righteous believe that the immoral criminal should be locked up in jail. Since almost the only available system of rehabilitation in America is to be locked up in jail, the difference remains highly abstract.
William Ryan (Blaming the Victim)
We are sneaking psychedelics back into our society through research like the MDMA research that's going on, through the research for the use of marijuana for pain, through research with the dying [with psilocybin], and ultimately we will do the same kind of stuff about alcoholism, about prison rehabilitation, so on. I mean, its obvious that psychedelics, properly used, have a behavior-change psychotherapeutic value. But from my point of view, that is all underusing the vehicle. The potential of the vehicle is sacramentally to take you out of the cultural constructs which you are part of a conspiracy in maintaining. And giving you a chance to experience once again your innocence.
Ram Dass
Incarceration is a sustained, lifetime lynching, meant to discard your soul and make a shell of you in plain life. Make you into your monster self, the beast that comes out when you are forced to survive in the absence of love and safety. Never mind that most of us come broken and traumatized, we still are no longer worth our own humanity. We are a criminal. We need punishment and to be rehabilitated. We need shame and exclusion. We are not worthy of control of our own lives; we are hopeless and evil. We are not individuals or of a womb or a family. We are not absent from anywhere else; because we are here, we simply non-exist. The world is better without us. In this society we are taught our crimes are the summations of our lives and define the limits of our possibility. Our only potential is to harm and destroy.
Junauda Petrus (The Stars and the Blackness Between Them)
When prisons are privatized, issues of crime and justice are taken out of the realm of ethics or morality and placed squarely within the culture and logic of the free market. In doing so, the mission of rehabilitating or even punishing people is trumped by the market-driven goal of maximizing shareholder wealth. Further, market-based notions of “efficiency” prompt prisons to divest from everything but the crudest institutional resources. Healthful foods, mental health resources, and educational programs all become fiscal fat that must be trimmed by the prison in order to maximize the bottom line. In simple terms, we have created a world where there is profit in incarcerating as many individuals as possible for as little money as necessary.
Marc Lamont Hill (Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond)
It was a survival thing: he didn't answer back, didn't say anything about job security for prison guards, debate the nature of repentance, rehabilitation, or rates of recidivism. He didn't say anything funny or clever, and, to be on the safe side, when he was talking to a prison official, whenever possible, he didn't say anything at all. Speak when you're spoken to. Do your own time. Get out. Go home. ... Rebuild a life.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
, I have experienced firsthand how easy it is for a ten year old to obtain marijuana for next to nothing, this trend seems to have been taken to a new dimension with the abuse of pharmaceutical products especially prescription medicines in schools and communities, increasing the number of mentally and emotionally challenged men and women on our streets and diverting young people from classrooms and lecture halls to prisons and drug rehabilitation centers.
Oche Otorkpa (The Unseen Terrorist)
Finally, we spend lots of money. Spending on jails and prisons by state and federal governments has risen from $6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion today. Private prison builders and prison service companies have spent millions of dollars to persuade state and local governments to create new crimes, impose harsher sentences, and keep more people locked up so that they can earn more profits. Private profit has corrupted incentives to improve public safety, reduce the costs of mass incarceration, and most significantly, promote rehabilitation of the incarcerated.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
Private prison builders and prison service companies have spent millions of dollars to persuade state and local governments to create new crimes, impose harsher sentences, and keep more people locked up so that they can earn more profits. Private profit has corrupted incentives to improve public safety, reduce the costs of mass incarceration, and most significantly, promote rehabilitation of the incarcerated.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
Fuhrman is a liar, a racist, and a bully. It’s a great irony that he disgraced himself for his pivotal role in letting Simpson escape justice and then rehabilitated himself by helping to put an innocent man in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison For a Murder He Didn't Commit)
He was opposed to capital punishment—“institutionalized sadism,” he termed it—and in favor of prison reforms that would emphasize rehabilitation. His opinions were generally conservative, however, and he did not subscribe to the fashionable view of the sixties that criminals were victims of society.
Gerald Clarke (Capote: A Biography (Books Into Film))
Deputy sheriffs had always held the power in the jails. They controlled the culture of the place. if they didn't like you or what you were doing in the programs, then you weren't going to succeed. It didn't matter if you had developed a pill that would solve all the prisoners' problems in one swallow. If they thought prisoners were animals who deserved to be treated like garbage, then that's how they were treated.
Sunny Schwartz (Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All)
Very little research was available relative to interviewing prison inmates, and what there was pertained specifically to convictions, probation and parole, and rehabilitation. However, the record seemed to indicate that violent and narcissistic inmates, on the whole, were incorrigible—meaning they were not able to be controlled, improved, or reformed. By talking to them, we hoped to learn if this was indeed the case.
John E. Douglas (The Killer Across the Table)
We can either keep rising numbers of prisoners in humane prisons that serve a purpose beyond warehousing, for which the Exchequer – ultimately you, the taxpayer – must pay through higher taxation; or we can shift paradigms and explore evidence-based policy from abroad that would see the use of prison radically reduced, and non-custodial, restorative and rehabilitative alternatives envisaged not as a ‘get-out’ but as meaningful components of a working justice system.
The Secret Barrister (The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken)
So many of us have become afraid and angry. We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak—not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we’ve pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we’ve legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we’ve allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We’ve submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible. But simply punishing the broken--walking away from them or hiding them from sight--only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
If you don’t know where to start, follow Solitary Watch and Prison Legal News on social media to find out what’s going on. There are organizations that are trying to change prisons as we know them, such as Critical Resistance and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. As human beings, we need to insist on the humane treatment of prisoners and the rehabilitation and education of prisoners. Prisoners who are mentally ill need treatment, not paralyzing drugs and 23 hours a day in a cell. Prisoners who are uneducated need education.
Albert Woodfox (Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement)
All it took for the officers in charge of the Circulars to call out the guards was for a few prisoners to hold back on the floors. That was when the beatings started. The guards would rush in armed with bayonets, truncheons, and chains, and anyone they caught on the floors would be beaten senseless. These beatings by the garrison began after Captain Morejón said he’d give a gold medal to the man who could stand up for one year to the forced-labor plan and still not get down on his knees and beg to join the Political Rehabilitation Program.
Armando Valladares (Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag)
Those prisoners who were eventually liberated and returned to the Soviet Union - well over one and a half million - had to face extensive discrimination following an order issued by Stalin in August 1941 equating surrender with treason. Many of them were despatched to the labour camps of the Gulag after being screened by Soviet military counter-intelligence. Despite attempts after Stalin’s death by top military leader Marshal Georgi Zhukov to end discrimination against former prisoners of war, they were not formally rehabilitated until 1994.217
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945)
How are prisons supposed to produce stability through controlling what counts as crime? Four theories condense two and a quarter centuries of experience into conflicting and generally overlapping explanations for why societies decide they should lock people out by locking them in. Each theory, which has its intellectuals, practitioners, and critics, turns on one of four key concepts: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, or incapacitation. Let’s take them in turn. The shock of retribution—loss of liberty—supposedly keeps convicted persons from doing again, upon release, what sent them to prison. Retribution’s specter, deterrence, allegedly dissuades people who can project themselves into a convicted person’s jumpsuit from doing what might result in lost liberty. Rehabilitation proposes that the unfreedom of
Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (American Crossroads Book 21))
More often and more insistently as that time recedes, we are asked by the young who our "torturers" were, of what cloth were they made. The term torturers alludes to our ex-guardians, the SS, and is in my opinion inappropriate: it brings to mind twisted individuals, ill-born, sadists, afflicted by an original flaw. Instead, they were made of the same cloth as we, they were average human beings, averagely intelligent, averagely wicked: save the exceptions, they were not monsters, they had our faces, but they had been reared badly. They were, for the greater part, diligent followers and functionaries, some frantically convinced of the Nazi doctrine, many indifferent, or fearful of punishment, or desirous of a good career, or too obedient. All of them had been subjected to the terrifying miseducation provided for and imposed by the schools created in accordance with the wishes of Hitler and his collaborators, and then completed by the SS "drill." Many had joined this militia because of the prestige it conferred, because of its omnipotence, or even just to escape family problems. Some, very few in truth, had changes of heart, requested transfers to the front lines, gave cautious help to prisoners or chose suicide. Let it be clear that to a greater or lesser degree all were responsible, but it must bee just as clear that behind their responsibility stands that the great majority of Germans who accepted in the beginning, out of mental laziness, myopic calculation, stupidity, and national pride the "beautiful words" of Corporal Hitler, followed him as long as luck and lack of scruples favored him, were swept away by his ruin, afflicted by deaths, misery, and remorse, and rehabilitated a few years later as the result of an unprincipled political game.
Primo Levi
Our nation sought to rehabilitate and affirm the dignity and personhood of those who for so long had been silenced, had been turned into anonymous, marginalized ones. Now they would be able to tell their stories, they would remember, and in remembering would be acknowledged to be persons with an inalienable personhood. Our country’s negotiators rejected the two extremes and opted for a “third way,” a compromise between the extreme of Nuremberg trials and blanket amnesty or national amnesia. And that third way was granting amnesty to individuals in exchange for a full disclosure relating to the crime for which amnesty was being sought. It was the carrot of possible freedom in exchange for truth and the stick was, for those already in jail, the prospect of lengthy prison sentences and, for those still free, the probability of arrest and prosecution and imprisonment. The option South Africa chose raises
Desmond Tutu (No Future Without Forgiveness)
It was Warden Norton who instituted the “Inside-Out” program you may have read about some sixteen or seventeen years back; it was even written up in Newsweek. In the press it sounded like a real advance in practical corrections and rehabilitation. There were prisoners out cutting pulpwood, prisoners repairing bridges and causeways, prisoners constructing potato cellars. Norton called it “Inside-Out” and was invited to explain it to damn near every Rotary and Kiwanis club in New England, especially after he got his picture in Newsweek. The prisoners called it “road-ganging,” but so far as I know, none of them were ever invited to express their views to the Kiwanians or the Loyal Order of Moose. Norton was right in there on every operation, thirty-year church-pin and all; from cutting pulp to digging storm-drains to laying new culverts under state highways, there was Norton, skimming off the top. There were a hundred ways to do it—men, materials, you name it. But he had it coming another way, as well. The construction businesses in the area were deathly afraid of Norton’s Inside-Out program, because prison labor is slave labor, and you can’t compete with that.
Stephen King (Different Seasons)
We cannot pick and choose whom among the oppressed it is convenient to support. We must stand with all the oppressed or none of the oppressed. This is a global fight for life against corporate tyranny. We will win only when we see the struggle of working people in Greece, Spain, and Egypt as our own struggle. This will mean a huge reordering of our world, one that turns away from the primacy of profit to full employment and unionized workplaces, inexpensive and modernized mass transit, especially in impoverished communities, universal single-payer health care and a banning of for-profit health care corporations. The minimum wage must be at least $15 an hour and a weekly income of $500 provided to the unemployed, the disabled, stay-at-home parents, the elderly, and those unable to work. Anti-union laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, and trade agreements such as NAFTA, will be abolished. All Americans will be granted a pension in old age. A parent will receive two years of paid maternity leave, as well as shorter work weeks with no loss in pay and benefits. The Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the military to be used to crush domestic unrest, as well as government spying on citizens, will end. Mass incarceration will be dismantled. Global warming will become a national and global emergency. We will divert our energy and resources to saving the planet through public investment in renewable energy and end our reliance on fossil fuels. Public utilities, including the railroads, energy companies, the arms industry, and banks, will be nationalized. Government funding for the arts, education, and public broadcasting will create places where creativity, self-expression, and voices of dissent can be heard and seen. We will terminate our nuclear weapons programs and build a nuclear-free world. We will demilitarize our police, meaning that police will no longer carry weapons when they patrol our streets but instead, as in Great Britain, rely on specialized armed units that have to be authorized case by case to use lethal force. There will be training and rehabilitation programs for the poor and those in our prisons, along with the abolition of the death penalty. We will grant full citizenship to undocumented workers. There will be a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions. Education will be free from day care to university. All student debt will be forgiven. Mental health care, especially for those now caged in our prisons, will be available. Our empire will be dismantled. Our soldiers and marines will come home.
Chris Hedges (America: The Farewell Tour)
While I am free to speak my mind, Kelly, now 14, is not so fortunate. Kelly has yet to receive rehabilitation for her shattered personality and programmed young mind. The high tech sophistication of the Project Monarch trauma based mind-control procedures she endured, literally since birth, reportedly requires highly specialized, qualified care to aid her in eventually gaining control of her mind and life. Due to the political affluence of our abusers, all efforts to obtain her inalienable right to rehabilitation and seek justice have been blocked under the guise of so-called "National Security." As a result, Kelly remains warehoused in a mental institution in the custody of the state of Tennessee--a victim of the system—a system controlled and manipulated by our abusive government "leaders" a system where State Forms make no allowances to report military TOP SECRET abuses--a system that exists on federal funding directed by our perverse, corrupt abusers in Washington, D.C. She remains a political prisoner in a mental institution to this moment, waiting and hurting! Violations of laws and rights, Psychological Warfare intimidation tactics, threats to our lives, and various other forms of CIA Damage Containment practices thus far have remained unhindered and unchecked due to the National Security Act of 1947 AND the 1986 Reagan Amendment to same which allows those in control of our government to censor and/or cover up anything they choose.
Cathy O'Brien (TRANCE Formation of America: True life story of a mind control slave)
Inmates would overwhelmingly welcome segregation. As Lexy Good, a white prisoner in San Quentin State Prison explained, “I’d rather hang out with white people, and blacks would rather hang out with people of their own race.” He said it was the same outside of prison: “Look at suburbia. . . . People in society self-segregate.” Another white man, using the pen name John Doe, wrote that jail time in Texas had turned him against blacks: '[B]ecause of my prison experiences, I cannot stand being in the presence of blacks. I can’t even listen to my old, favorite Motown music anymore. The barbarous and/or retarded blacks in prison have ruined it for me. The black prison guards who comprise half the staff and who flaunt the dominance of African-American culture in prison and give favored treatment to their “brothers” have ruined it for me.' He went on: '[I]n the aftermath of the Byrd murder [the 1998 dragging death in Jasper, Texas] I read one commentator’s opinion in which he expressed disappointment that ex-cons could come out of prison with unresolved racial problems “despite the racial integration of the prisons.” Despite? Buddy, do I have news for you! How about because of racial integration?' (emphasis in the original) A man who served four years in a California prison wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times called “Why Prisons Can’t Integrate.” “California prisons separate blacks, whites, Latinos and ‘others’ because the truth is that mixing races and ethnic groups in cells would be extremely dangerous for inmates,” he wrote. He added that segregation “is looked on by no one—of any race—as oppressive or as a way of promoting racism.” He offered “Rule No. 1” for survival: “The various races and ethnic groups stick together.” There were no other rules. He added that racial taboos are so complex that only a person of the same race can be an effective guide.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country. A calm and dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused against the State, and even of convicted criminals against the State, a constant heart-searching by all charged with the duty of punishment, a desire and eagerness to rehabilitate in the world of industry all those who have paid their dues in the hard coinage of punishment, tireless efforts towards the discovery of curative and regenerating processes, and an unfaltering faith that there is a treasure, if you can only find it, in the heart of every man – these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it.27 In 1908 and 1909 over 180,000 people were in prison in Britain, around half for failure to pay a fine on time.28 Churchill argued that more time should be allowed for payment, since the best principle for a prison system should be to ‘prevent as many people as possible from getting there’.29 He set in motion processes by which the number of people imprisoned for failing to pay a fine for drunkenness was reduced from 62,000 to 1,600 over the next decade.30 Churchill also searched for alternative punishments for petty offences, especially by children, as he saw prison as a place of last resort for serious offenders.31 When he visited Pentonville Prison in October, he released youths imprisoned for minor offences and although he was not at the Home Office long enough to reform the penal system as a whole, he reduced the sentences of nearly 400 individuals.32 He also introduced music and libraries into prisons, tried to improve the conditions of suffragettes imprisoned for disturbing the peace and reduced the maximum amount
Andrew Roberts (Churchill: Walking with Destiny)
That seemed harsh. Especially if he was really sorry for what he’d done. “Don’t you think people can be rehabilitated?” “No,” he replied with no patience whatsoever. “Rehab is for injuries. Prison is for assholes. Assholes are always, always assholes
Lexi Blake (Perfectly Paired (Topped, #3; Masters and Mercenaries, #12.5))
The agenda of juvenile court, then, for queer and trans youth at least, often becomes to 'rehabilitate' youth into fitting heteronormative and gender-typical molds. Guised under the 'best interest of the child,' the goal often becomes to 'protect' the child - or perhaps society - from gender-variant or non-heterosexual behavior.
Eric A. Stanley (Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex)
Abolitionist knowledge reconceptualizes notions like “crime” or “innocence” (what gets to be defined as crime, and who gets defined as criminal); disability or madness (as an identity and politics, not only a medical diagnosis) and rehabilitation (which is seen as a form of assimilation and normalization, not just as benign “treatment”); ideas of punishment (transformative justice vs. revenge or retribution); notions of freedom and equality (whether we can feel free and safe without locking others away); and, on the other hand, concepts of danger and protection (Whom do we protect by segregating people behind bars in psychiatric hospitals and prisons? Is it for “their own good”?).
Liat Ben-moshe (Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition)
There are no evil people, just lost people who do evil things. There are also sick people. Warped people. Deranged people. Lots of different people, yet all of them once set out just like you did, a “God Particle,” to find their way through the jungles of time and space. Every single one of them of good intent yet some so fundamentally confused or new to time and space that they behave horrifically. The difference between you and them might boil down to you having lived thousands or tens of thousands more lifetimes, whereas they may be true babes, utterly terrified, with no defense mechanisms developed yet but hatred, anger, contempt, manipulation, coercion, and violence. It’s not as if in life, between two people, all other things remain equal. Nothing else is ever equal. More than everyone else, even, those who are lost need love. Help. Guidance. Patience. Yet very likely, if they’ve strayed too far from truth, this lifetime will not nearly be long enough for them to find balance and clarity. They won’t be safe, either for themselves or for others who similarly believe the world is an evil place. They’ll need rehabilitation, ideally in a nurturing, supportive environment, yet if society believes this is out of reach, emotionally or financially, prisons and institutions will have to suffice.
Mike Dooley (The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell YOU)
In other words, opening up a Halden tomorrow in the United States would be a doomed quick fix. “For a Norwegian-style prison to work in the United States you would also need to have a Norwegian attitude to crime and rehabilitation as well as the welfare state to back it up,” says John Pratt, a professor of criminology at Victoria University of Wellington and an expert on Nordic prisons.
Carl Honoré (The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better In a World Addicted to Speed)
Racists, then, are indoctrinated citizens who think they are entitled and superior to all others, and therefore capable of committing racism and violence against them. I contend that indoctrinated individuals are prisoners to the walls built around them that keep them indoctrinated. Therefore, instead of seeing them as ‘enemies’, we need to apply the same methods of reform some thinkers have suggested to the prison system in that rather than being purely punitive, prisons should aspire to rehabilitate prisoners in such ways that they may return to society with better attitude, understanding, and healthier minds and bodies (all things lacking in racist people, if you think about it deeply). Even more important is to build a society in such a way that there would be little need to have prison systems in the first place.
Louis Yako
Some released beneficiaries did rejoin al-Qaeda. Official reports cite recidivism rates of between 10 and 20 percent depending on the period examined and the set of prisoners involved.22 However, it was not the course content or recidivism rates that most concerned the Ministry of the Interior; what really mattered was the program’s dramatic public relations impact. In the Saudi leadership’s view, it did not matter if some of the rehabilitated terrorists returned to al-Qaeda. They could be recaptured and might not be given a second chance to surrender. What mattered was that the Saudi public saw how the police had trusted these young men and tried to help them, only to be repaid with lies and more criminal behavior. No one would feel sorry for them the second time they were arrested for terrorism. For Mohammed bin Naif, losing a few dozen prisoners was less important than keeping millions of Saudi citizens on his side.
David Rundell (Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads)
Rehabilitate ex-prisoners, keeping in mind that the prison population is comprised of young men with very little education, poor job records, and frequent histories of mental illness and substance abuse.
Robert D. Putnam (Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis)
Monitors and house arrest aren't rehabilitative or transformative - they don't support people in making changes that would be helpful to their lives, gaining needed resources, addressing harm or violence, or confronting the social forces that affect them.
Maya Schenwar (Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms)
This move to incapacitate and punish also coincided with the country’s push toward deinstitutionalization. Jail and prison populations swelled from an influx of the undertreated mentally ill. The overcrowding of prisons had a predictable consequence: violence in correctional facilities escalated. Prison systems responded with an unprecedented increase in the number and use of supermax cells, justifying this shift by classifying modern-day criminals as “harder” and “unable to be rehabilitated.” The long-held aim of reforming prisoners was now classified as a fool’s errand and therefore a waste of resources. The grim new management strategy for these “hardened criminals” was to isolate them from one another, often for the duration of their sentences, sometimes for the duration of their lives. This ethos of incapacitate and punish is now dominant in the American corrections system, and its toll is devastating.
Christine Montross (Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration)
Although solitary confinement was present throughout the twentieth century in American corrections, the use of the practice expanded exponentially in the 1970s amid a confluence of changes in the legal and philosophical landscape of the United States. Sentencing policies—including guidelines for probation and parole—grew even stricter, giving rise to a substantial increase in the country’s incarceration rates that would continue to spike during the “War on Drugs.” Between 1985 and 1995, the government cut back dramatically on prison education and treatment programs where they were not completely eliminated. The goals of incarceration shifted from rehabilitation to a correctional strategy intended purely to “incapacitate and punish.
Christine Montross (Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration)
During the 1940s and 1950s, an American prison warden, Clinton Duffy, was well known for his efforts to rehabilitate the men in his prison. Said one critic, “You should know that leopards don’t change their spots!” Replied Warden Duffy, “You should know I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day.
Thomas S. Monson
My medical expertise is in mental health—specifically in acute cases of danger and distress. And what I found once I began working in the prisons was a system that runs counter to every principle of human flourishing that I know. Our correctional practices prioritize vengeance and suffering over justice and rehabilitation. Incarceration in America routinely makes mentally ill people worse. And just as routinely it renders stable people psychiatrically unwell. Our system is quite literally maddening—a truth that categorically undermines our stated goals of safe and secure communities.
Christine Montross (Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American Incarceration)
The punishment and/or rehabilitation of those who have already been so damaged that they have become violent is also far more expensive and less effective than preventing violence in the first place, and it causes far more suffering, not only to the perpetrators but also to the victims. We spend incomparably more money on police, prisons, punishments and criminal courts than we do on providing the kinds of community services that have been demonstrated to achieve equal reductions in criminal violence for one-fifth of the price. As our prisons have become more and more crowded (and costly), the waiting lists in our substance-abuse treatment centers have become longer and longer — despite the fact that treatment is at least five times more effective than imprisonment, dollar for dollar, in preventing both substance abuse and the property crimes and violence associated with substance abuse.
James Gilligan (Preventing Violence)
For the good of society and America's prisoners, it's time to put Pell grants and other forms of need-based financial assistance back on the table and once again offer in-prison educational and rehabilitative programming to those who seek it. That is the only change we -- as a nation -- have of resolving our current prison crisis.
Christopher Zoukis (Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security)
Al Qaeda is using our liberal justice system,” he continued. I really don’t know what liberal justice system he was talking about: the U.S. broke the world record for the number of people it has in prison. Its prison population is over two million, more than any other country in the world, and its rehabilitation programs are a complete failure. The United States is the “democratic” country with the most draconian punishment system; in fact, it is a good example of how draconian punishments do not help in stopping crimes. Europe is by far more just and humane, and the rehab programs there work, so the crime rate in Europe is decisively lower than the U.S. But the American proverb has it, “When the going gets rough, the rough get going.” Violence naturally produces violence; the only loan you can make with a guarantee of payback is violence. It might take some time, but you will always get your loan back.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Guantánamo Diary)
However, he did tell her about his release from the Gulag. After his case was reviewed, he was told he had been “rehabilitated”: “You can go home now.” He was given a telephone, but he could think of no one to call. He finally phoned his sister in Moscow and said, “Hello, I will be seeing you soon. Sit at home. I’m coming.” He walked slowly from the Lubyanka prison. It was summer, July. Suddenly he felt his feet could no longer carry him. He sat down on a bench. The children were playing in the park, the leaves were rustling in the sunlight, and he burst into tears. He told Svetlana, “I sat there and cried rivers of tears. Then I went to my sister’s. Thank God I cried it out before I got there.
Rosemary Sullivan (Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva)
Rehabilitate instead of Incarcerate.
Bert McCoy
Moral growth is a central idea in religion and law. The idea of repentance presupposes the possibility for moral growth. In law, “showing remorse” is a demonstration of moral growth and grounds for a reduced prison sentence. The idea of moral growth has long been associated more with liberal than with conservative politics. This comes out clearly in the politics of prisons. The concept of rehabilitation is based on the concept of moral growth. The idea is that if prisoners are treated humanely, taught useful skills, encouraged to get an education, allowed to earn furloughs, and provided with a job upon release, they will have a chance to grow morally and become useful citizens. Not that this is guaranteed, by any means. But if prisoners do grow morally, there is no reason to keep them in prison. T
George Lakoff (Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think)
And then there was punishment. Hundreds of machines were being used not just by police forces and homicide detectives for investigative purposes but also by prisons and mental-health systems for rehabilitation. At any moment in America, there were dozens of murderers, rapists, and domestic abusers having their crimes pumped into their skulls from their victims’ points of view. The feeling of a punch that breaks a nose, the sledgehammer impact and burn of a bullet, the indescribable feeling of one’s neck being opened like a zipper. They smelled the blood and cordite, felt the pheromones of fear. They heard the screams, the cries, the unanswered pleas for mercy. A Clockwork Orange had nothing on the machine, and Barnes had experienced all varieties of its punishments.
Scott J. Holliday (Punishment (Detective Barnes, #1))
Manifestations also were becoming more diverse. Mediums performed ever more astonishing feats of levitation: white-haired Henry Gordon was seen floating in the air across a sixty-foot space, balanced on nothing but one of Charles Partridge’s fingers. Trance mediums delivered inspiring addresses to large audiences on the pressing issues of the day, such as perfecting the body through diet and exercise or rehabilitating criminals through prison reform. Some mediums danced, others spoke in tongues. The number of healing mediums multiplied. To speed the process of spelling messages during seances, mediums began writing down the alphabet then pointing to specific letters rather than calling them out. In a room built by a man named Koons solely for the purpose of otherworldly communications, several spirits seemed to speak in their own voices, their words projected through a small trumpet.
Barbara Weisberg (Talking to the Dead)
In the late 1990s Norway made rehabilitation the cornerstone of its prison philosophy. It renamed its penal network the Criminal Care system and embraced electronic tagging and open prisons. Guards became “personal contact officers” charged with acting as coaches cum confidants to inmates.
Carl Honoré (The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better In a World Addicted to Speed)
When a crime is committed, punishment tops the agenda in most countries. We want to see perpetrators pay for their misdeeds, and we want them off the streets so they cannot carry on breaking the law. Norwegians want that too, but even after the most heinous crimes, one of the first questions they ask is how to rehabilitate the criminal. “We don’t think about revenge in the Norwegian prison system,” says Hoeidal. “Instead, we look at what kind of neighbor you want to have when they come out. If you treat prisoners harshly and just keep them in a box for a few years, they will not leave as better people. Our work here at Halden is therefore not just about what we do with the inmates today or next week or next month; it is really about helping them rebuild the rest of their lives by helping them become normal citizens again.
Carl Honoré (The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better In a World Addicted to Speed)
You’ll end up in prison and we all know what happens to numbers in prison.” “They are rehabilitated?” Mgurn asked. “In the butt,” Ig said. “They are rehabilitated in the butt. Or similar orifice.” I
Jake Bible (Salvage Merc One (Salvage Merc One #1))
Going to prison is terrible. You’re never comfortable. All the talk about ‘Club Fed’ is garbage… You’re surrounded by very violent people, very unstable people. Prisons work hard to make you uncomfortable. But that’s not what’s bad about going to prison. What’s bad about going to prison is that you’re separated from your family.
Andrew Fastow
There are three methods of dealing with offenders against society once they are apprehended: retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation. Prison officials and men generally lay claim more or less to advocating all three. At present the public thinks that offenders should be punished. There are many different reasons why this is so, among them the belief that the average criminal responds to nothing but fear and penalties. Yet there is some real evidence that only through the very opposite of fear and punishment--intelligent good will--can men be reached and challenged and changes brought about.
Bayard Rustin (Down The Line)
The prison system fails at protecting communities from crime. It fails terribly at rehabilitating people. It's obscenely expensive - as the rapper and social critic, Akala, has pointed out, 'It costs more to send s child to prison than it does you send them to Eton'. So why does our failing and expensive system continue? In short, because it does a good job at punishing those at the bottom who step out of line.
Ben Tippet (Split: Class Divides Uncovered)
Prisons and penal servitude do not of course rehabilitate the criminal; they merely punish him and ensure that society is kept safe from further attacks. The only effect of prison[s] is to generate hatred, the desire for forbidden pleasures and a terrifying frivolousness. But I am firmly convinced that the much acclaimed system of shutting people up in cells can only achieve false, spurious and superficial results. It is a system that sucks the lifeblood from the criminal, enervates his spirit, and then holds up a morally desiccated mummy as a model of rehabilitation and repentance. - The House of the Dead (1862)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from a Dead House)
In our earthly world we debate the idea of prison reform and rehabilitation, yet the cyber world’s ‘cancel-culture’ leaves no room for such hopes.
Aysha Taryam
Barlinnie Prison stands on dark and bloody ground. It is a temple of lost souls, and a place of living nightmares. It’s been the breaker of many a man’s dreams for more than a century. This prison works to a model of penitence with no pretence of rehabilitation. The criminal population that society has forsaken has filled this once, seemingly, bottomless pit to overflowing with their despair and nightmares of pain. More specifically, it is the battleground of an undeclared war that still ravages to this day, between the screws and the cons. The screws, backed by their authority, would use violence, but in return the prisoners would have to resort to their cunning, beguile, and the odd sudden act of violence.
Stephen Richards (Lost in Care: The True Story of a Forgotten Child)
We call our system the Department of Corrections, or simply Corrections, but correcting or any notion of rehabilitation has been largely thrown to the wayside in favor of punitive action through the revocation of selfhood.
Erika Camplin (Prison Food in America)
Even given its explicitly limited scope, The Ethics of Liberty had a distinctly old-fashioned flavor and revealed libertarianism as a fundamentally conservative doctrine. The most obvious indicator of this was the already noted emphasis placed on punishment as the necessary complement to property. More specifically, Rothbard presented a rigorous modern defense of the traditional proportionality principle of punishment as contained in the lex talionis—of an eye for an eye, or rather, as he would correctively explain, two eyes for an eye. He rejected the deterrence and rehabilitation theories of punishment as incompatible with private property rights and championed instead the idea of victims’ rights and of restitution (compensation) and/or retribution as essential to justice; he argued in favor of such old-fashioned institutions as compulsory labor and indentured servitude for convicted criminals, and for debtor’s prisons; and his analyses of causation and liability, burden of proof, and proper assumption of risk invariably displayed a basic and staunch moral conservatism of strict individual responsibility and accountability.
Almost everything I had learned about the streets, drugs and crime, I had learned in prison. I would usually finish my sentence being less rehabilitated and more streetwise than ever before. That was it, I thought. I had no hope of getting clean now.
Rachael Keogh (Dying to Survive: Surviving Drug Addiction)
Yet very likely, if they’ve strayed too far from truth, this lifetime will not nearly be long enough for them to find balance and clarity. They won’t be safe, either for themselves or for others who similarly believe the world is an evil place. They’ll need rehabilitation, ideally in a nurturing, supportive environment, yet if society believes this is out of reach, emotionally or financially, prisons and institutions will have to suffice.
Mike Dooley (The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell YOU)
It’s as if the country’s drug laws manufacture offenders, not so they can have the pleasure of stoning them—this was the old, revenge-hungry way—but so they can have the self-righteous joy of rehabilitating them. It all adds up to one more way to enact Singaporean efficiency: Look how productively, how humanely we do reentry. The problem is, this performance demands a sinner, and today I met four of them. Sinners who feel more like scapegoats.
Baz Dreisinger (Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World)
We have a racially biased justice system that overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn’t make us safer.
Piper Kerman (Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison)
All jails are created by prisoners.
Bert McCoy
In every scenario analyzed by every economist ever, prevention is the most affordable option. Rehabilitation is a distant second. Staying the same is the least sustainable and most expensive plan. Prisoners don't even pay taxes. They are the definition of a financial drain on society. But they weren't born that way. We created them.
Jane Garland (Lady Garland Tames her Dragons and Brings Peace to the Kingdom)
The sad fact is, America’s prisons are filled with men and women who deserve a second chance. They’ve owned up to their crimes and did exactly what they’re supposed to do in prison—they rehabilitated themselves. They understand what I learned, that you can have a meaningful life right there in prison. And many of them will never step outside the prison walls.
Cyntoia Brown-Long (Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System)
During my first nine years out of college, I served in various positions in the Michigan Department of Corrections including: being one of the first two women to supervise adult men on probation in the city of Detroit; running a halfway house for female offenders; and then becoming the first female deputy warden over programs of rehabilitation in an adult male prison in Michigan.
Michele Hunt (Dreammakers: Innovating for the Greater Good)