It appears society is playing a major part in molding people for incarceration. The government may not admit it, but every so often their actions reveal it.
Especially when schools are being shut down for lack of sufficient funds as more prisons are being developed. I assume it’s easier and cheaper to teach us a lesson than teaching us lessons. But for some reason school systems are beginning to duplicate the prison system, rather than the other way around.
A person with multiple drug charges, for instance, would get sent to jail repeatedly. When a more successful punishment might be a treatment facility to seek help.
As a student, something similar happened to me. I was involved in a fight, and the administration decided it was easier to expel me, not what anyone would confuse with a straight A student, instead of trying to figure out why the fight happened. “Bullying” was not a term I was familiar with back then, but I was confronting my bully and I had to pay the price for it.
We are taught since we are young to speak our minds, to practice our freedom of speech, yet we are then punished for saying something they don’t like. We are penalized for defending ourselves, but we are taught to fight back if threatened, since the day we learn how to walk.
And to run to the cops if you are in danger. How about if the person harassing you is the one sworn to protect you? What can you do if the man wearing a badge is making your life difficult just because he can? Or because of your skin color, and the only wrong you have done is live in poverty? Can you imagine how confusing this is for a kid?
When putting together the pieces of a puzzle, it is easier to throw it away than to keep trying. But then the puzzle doesn’t get put back together. And yet that is exactly what society does to people who they don’t understand, or who depart from what it regards as acceptable.
This post is published as part of the Prison Op/Ed Project, an occasional series authored by CCRI sociology students who are incarcerated at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute.