I completely agree with your heartfelt response. Not only do the
inmates come back with a negatively charged attitude from daily
abuse, but the families doing time on the outside also begin to
build with negative attitude towards the society who casts them
out in much the same way.
A few years ago, early on in my husbands sentence my older son was
writing a letter to his dad during his free time at school. The
teacher discouraged this letter writing and later asked me to discourage
it saying that, especially for school, it was unhealthy to encourage
such a thing.
When my boys let neighbor kids know of their dads whereabouts they
are either unable to play with them or are encouraged by other parents,
who mean well. that they should not go about telling people their
dad is in prison. They are encouraged to lie and be ashamed.
Not only is this unhealthy to children, but think of the inmate
when he comes home to his children, probably grown by then, who
have suffered due to the incarceration - and the inmate is already
angry and has learned that he is believed to be useless to society.
I believe that close communication in whatever form is allowed is
important during the prison sentence so the that inmate has a voice
from somewhere telling him that at least one person in the world
sees that s/he is worth something and that their life is of some
I believe that alternative sentencing should be used whenever possible
especially for first time and low level offenders. I agree completely
that TREATMENT is what is needed for the underlying reasons that
lead up to the crime and prison is no place for that type of treatment.
Better use of drug/alcohol rehab, abuse survivor rehab, sexual offenders
programs, mental health treatment, boot camps style sentences with
skills training, bracelet sentences, and work camps might treat
some better than just locking them up. Some simply need to know
the laws, there are some offenders who simply did not know that
what they did was against the law.
When I participated in the film A Sentence of Their Own I had hoped
that those in the justice system would think twice before just locking
away an offender. I was never hoping that there would be an easy
way out for an offender, but perhaps better ways of rehabilitating
a human being who quite obviously had something go wrong in their
mind or in their life.
My husband was suppose to receive treatment for his crime as part
of his plea bargain and should have been out after 3 years of treatment.
He has been in for 5 years now, he will be in for two more years
and he has NEVER received treatment for his crime in New Hampshire
He will come to the world abused and emotionally unstable. Luckily
his family did keep contact, his children did write to their dad,
and he does believe he has worth at least in the small society of
his family and his friends on the outside who have not forgotten
he is a human being.
When he comes home he will truly be rehabilitated because he wishes
to enter our state Alcohol rehabilitation program and other programs
related to his specific offense - since the prison failed to rehabilitate
him. If he didnt have a family and friends to come home to
however, he would be an angry, emotionally unstable ex-con alone
in the world, believing he has been rehabilitated...until the next
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