Imagine a herd of sheep on the range, with each animal going off in a different direction and doing their own thing. It would be a rancher’s worst nightmare, and would surely make the business of ranching far more difficult. Prisoners are not sheep, but the prison guards that watch over us wouldn’t mind if we were.
The guards find it easier when inmates are re-socialized into something easy to control. Such institutionalized prisoners are ideal for the efficient locking up of human beings. This type of person will more mindlessly goes about their day. Prisons use the process of re-socialization as a means of control and conformity. It strips away a person’s former identity and allows institutional agents to remold us how they see fit. But the end product is institutionalized inmates bound for recidivism.
The prison system may be less unruly and easier to operate as a business, and the lucrative business of incarceration may even prosper with its growing prison population. But is that the real intention of prison? Is it for the inmate, or for society? If society is truly concerned with fixing the corrections system, then more effort must be made towards the business of “corrections” as opposed to the business of institutional re-socialization..
Institutionalization may be good for prison business, but it is bad for society. Most prisoners are eventually released back into society, and usually much worse for the wear. Most of these former inmates find themselves “uncorrected” – unable to find work, still unskilled, and worst of all, unreformed. Unfortunately, these people end up back in jail, and re-socialization is never that difficult the second time around for the recidivist.
- 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. Read more here:
- ‘Prison Op/Ed Project’ teaches civic engagement, writing – Meghan Kallman
- Does racial injustice still exist? Look at our schools – Aaron Carpenter
- Rhode Island charges felons absurdly high court costs – Christopher Nemitz
- Public school students and inmates need more vocational training – Darnell Hie
- Prison policies put probation and vocational training at odds – Norman Johnson
- Corporate-modeled prison industrial complex doesn’t serve society – Adrian Rojas
- Incarceration is the new slavery – James Poston
- Justice isn’t blind with data-based sentencing – David Brown
- Ending welfare entitlements opened the door to disability fraud – Dan Davidson
- Post prison services would stem system’s revolving door – Michael Wheelock
- You’re vote doesn’t matter as much as your money – David Brown
- How schools emulate prisons, and prepare students for them – Richard Pimiental
- Cars that are good for society – David DeGrasse
- PTA involvement instead of prison mentality in schools – Mustapha Bojang