by Rob X - defenestrator prison correspondent
The concept of rehabilitation versus punishment has raged within the American Penal community since its inception. The last decade has seen the concept of punishment and retribution all but extinguish the concept of rehabilitation from prisons in the United States. Department of Corrections across the country acknowledge that within the last decade emphasis has been placed on punishing prisoners for the crimes they committed against society instead of rehabilitating them so that they can one day rejoin society. Ironically, it is not the Department of Corrections that supported the complete removal of rehabilitation programs from the prisons. Experienced prison officials concede that rehabilitation is possible within prisons. The push for punishment over rehabilitation was pushed by politicians catering to a public that was frustrated with rising crime rates and expressed crime as their number one concern. Politicians, uninterested in addressing the social problems that bred and contributed to criminal activity, decided to pursue a simple course that would create the impression that they were doing something concrete against rising crime rates. All across the country state legislatures passed harsh sentencing laws that increased the punishments for committing certain crimes. Three Strikes and You re Out laws were passed, crimes eligible for the death sentence were increased and truth in sentencing laws were passed making it mandatory that prisoners serve over 85% of their sentence. The politicians who gutted rehabilitation programs from the prison system did not concern themselves with the quality of prisoner that would be released from prison because these prisoners wouldn t be returning to the politicians neighborhoods. These ex-prisoners would be returning to the inner city Black and Latino communities.
by Robert X. Holbrook
Lately within Department of Corrections (DOC) around the country all the rage has been around so called Family Values programs the institutions are implementing. The stated purpose of these programs is to introduce the prisoner to the values of society and to teach him the values that surround the family. The assumption being that prisoners have no sense of family and the D.O.C. can instill in us the values of family and our responsibility to society. I find this a incredibly sad approach. How in the world can the D.O.C. teach family values? How can an institution committed to the destruction of the family teach family values to prisoners. How can an institution that sends men 300 miles away from their homes and family as a matter of policy have the audacity to attempt to teach its prisoners family values? By comparison, this would be like a serial killer teaching a course on the sanctity of life and humanity. Only a psychopathic personality, in the case of the D.O.C. a psychopathic bureaucracy, would take such a course of action and see no hypocrisy in it.
A philosopher once wrote, “The tragedy of a Man is he was once a child.” For the 332 men and women languishing in Pennsylvania prisons who were sentenced to life without parole (LWOP), as juveniles, that statement is all too true.
I watched the evening news with stress today upon learning that the NAACP, the so-called pre-eminent civil rights organization in the country, elected former CEO Bruce Gordon as its new president.
by Robert X - Prison Correspondent
Secret detention's. Secret Courts and Evidence. Closed Courtrooms. Racial Profiling. Indefinite imprisonment based on secret evidence or hearsay. Isolation and Sensory Deprivation inflicted on detained terrorist suspects to pry secrets from them. Americans seem shocked that their government is forced to resort to such measures in its ongoing War Against Terrorism ( or is it a War Against Dissent ). Yet many believe these tactics are necessary to protect the homeland against terrorists bent on mass murder ( Do the former sanctions on Iraq that claimed 1.5 million lives classify as mass murder?). Many Americans can rest well since the government has plenty of experience in the techniques it is now using to fight terrorism, as America has been perfecting its repressive methods within its vast prison system.