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Comments made by Chester Yang

Prison Crisis: Parole, Rehabilitation, Reentry

From 2001 to 2007, I was incarcerated in level 2,3 state prison for 6 years. I personally experienced the overcrowded and hostile environment in all those years. I saw the dysfunctional system which contributed the current problems. My observation is there are two main contributors of the current situations:

1) The 'sweep under the carpet' type of mentality in 'Tough on Crime' philosophy;
2) Connecting the political power and economic profit for prison guard union with the prison population,

In order to ease the current issues, I suggest the following things we can do

1) Modify the 3-strikes law to its original spirit - only the violent crime and no retro-enhancement.

2) Make more flexible on inmate parole. The law can trikes them out but also give inmate more access to early parole for good behavior and successful rehab. (I noticed that majority of inmates are rehabilitated after 10 years of incarceration even with our current minimum rehabilitation effort).

3) Spend more fund on half-way house and supervision after release.

4) Modify the parole violation guidelines for alternate 'assistant' programs instead of incarceration.

5) Minimize current racial segregation policy in the prison system. The prison guard actually encouraging the racial segregation policy because it make inmate hostile on each other instead to the prison guard. More tension in prison make it easier to control and run.

6) Disassociate the economic reward of prison guard union with the inmate population. Set a upper limit of budget on salary and pensions for prison guard and same time a low limit of budget to rehabilitation.

I believed we can see major improvement in both society and prison system, if we can implement those changes.

October 9, 2009 at 11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )