Why The Institutionalized Go to Jail Again And Again


It’s easy to criticize others for things we ourselves find easy. I mean, it’s easy for me to say that a person who’s been arrested and jailed a bunch of times is a career-criminal.

It’s hard to imagine that nearly 80% of all inmates are likely to return to prison within three to five years after their release. Writing from the vantage point of one who’s never been to prison, of course I view recidivism from a different perspective than a person who’s embraced the struggle from behind the wall.

Still, you wouldn’t have had to go to jail to see how 80% of inmates being re-admitted are a waste of tax-payer dollars and how this number is too high. Who do we have to call to find real solutions to the mass-incarceration problem in the U.S. so that the term “revolving door” stops defining our criminal justice system? Something has to change because too many of our people recidivate, time and time again.

Why are so many people of color locked up in America? Is it that the U.S. criminal justice system plays a major role in the high recidivism rates by its use of private prison companies like, CoreCivic? Perhaps, or is it that the system sustains an environment that causes many inmates to become lazy and dependent on the very institution that imprisons them? I think it’s a little bit of both.

Nevertheless, I’m sure many are wrestling with the question of why people return to prison so often for minor infractions of the law, like failing to pay child support. In fact, 30% go back to prison for crimes that involve violating probation or parole, not for committing new crimes. I feel that dependency is perpetuated by longer sentences and a lack of rehabilitative programs like KyteSketch’s Postcard Art Program. As a result, prisoners become institutionalized and often revert back to the ways that landed him or her in jail initially.

Ultimately, freedom lies on the shoulders of the individual. The incarcerated man or woman has to change. He or she has to stop falling weak to old habits and truly make the effort to be independent by thinking smart an avoiding risky behavior. I’m sure if people would just try harder to change themselves – not the system – they will find that staying out of jail is easy.

Look, the system won’t change. We have to change in order for the system to change because a call for prison reform won’t work because there is no real prison reform. The reform comes from inside – and is called self-control… and it is also the most reliable usage of reform available today… self-reform.

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