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( strums )

Comments made by strums

Prison Crisis: Parole, Rehabilitation, Reentry

I do wish the reporter(s) and editors had asked tough questions and follow-up, rather than give those with vested positions opportunity to trumpet their successes, and further their job security.

I was disappointed that the story pretty much lead off with a typical "hard-core criminal" story -- although the story ostensibly is about rehabilitation and those being released to society. The vast majority of those in prison -- especially a prison such as RJDCF which has been turned into a Reception Center (a sorting-out place) -- will be released much sooner than 25 years, and did not commit violent crimes to get there. That does not mean they aren't capable of it; it just means they're going to be released soon without any sort of rehabilitation attempts or societalization.

Even CDCR Secretary Cates released a report this past week touting the studied effectiveness of substance-abuse programs in lowering recidivism. A soon-to-be-released second report is the updating of the famed Brewster Report of the 1990s, which looked into the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the long gone Arts in Corrections program... One of many that CDCR eliminated in order to house extra inmates. Do you get the picture...?

Relying on programs such as SB618 and vocational training programs is short-sighted. All you get is a well-trained plumber who is still a drug addict, anti-social or at least low-functioning member of society.

Do you wonder why the numbers look so bad nowadays? Prison population is up; recidivism is up; parole violators are front-page news. Do you wonder why the politicians and corrections officials (and news media) focus on what's to be feared? It's because they make a living doing it; they are only successful if you, the public, are fearful and then easily swayed.

To hear ex politicians talking out of the other side of their mouths and corrections officials who are good at manipulating -- if not living off of -- public fear, you'd think we just somehow landed in this mess. But it was bound to happen because all the good rehabilitation programs that used to exist in the '80s and '90s are now gone.

As an ex-journalist and as a soon-to-be ex state employee whose job it was to try to rehabilitate those few could be reached, I wish to clarify and encourage your looking into this.

Because if we don't solve this, our society will soon have on its hands a lot of people who, like it or not, *did* receive some kind of "education" inside about how to mistrust authority, manipulate people and a system, and eagerly await getting free to continue their former lifestyle.

And decisions will have to be made -- but they won't be rational decisions, they'll be based on fear. Drummed up fear.

October 13, 2009 at 12:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )