What’s wrong with America’s prisons…

Check out the trailer for a documentary called Faith in the Big House.

It depicts a very real look at prisoners in Louisiana who want to better their lives, and the state there in is attempting to help them do this through faith based incarceration…

Why is this important…?

Because a lot of what they are doing here is a lot like what incarceration is like for me.

Instead of being faith base the prison I am at uses is a “therapeutic community” approach

The reality is a lot of these so called efforts and programs designed to help prisoners are just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

The proof is in the pudding too.

Just look at how many guys who get released either get locked right back up, or even worse…

A perfect example is my friend Justin Hobbs who was just released a few months ago and his tragic death.

I’m not even sure there is a solution to all this either, I mean, how do you really lock a guy up and change him so that he doesn’t end up coming back to prison again..?

Is there a way to fix that?

In my housing unit there are 82 prisoners…

I would make a safe estimate that of those 82 prisoners, myself included, 75 of them have been locked up at least one time prior to this.

Is it possible to change someone who is unwilling to change for them self?

Think about that…

If an individual is unwilling to change for themselves, there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell their going to change because the state wants them to.

In my opinion, the only possible solution is the cycle of destructive behavior is to provide some sort of program that actually makes prisoners like, myself, to want to change.

Provide me with some sort of real world job training or employable skills where I might be able to go out into society and get a job that might actually pay me something a little better than minimum wage. Something I might be able to survive on.

Now don’t get me wrong…

Prisons like the one I am at do offer “trade” electrical, HVAC and building maintenance…

But the waiting list to get into these small classes makes it where prisoners like my Bunkie Kenny is an example of many MANY others never even get in.

Their stuck on the waiting list what could literally be a year!

Then when they do actually try to push the issue they are told that now they don’t even have enough time left to take the trade class.

Only a small percentage gets into trade classes in prison…

There should also be more focus on individual needs…

Like if a guy has addiction issues then that should seriously be the focus of his incarceration.

Help make prisoners WANT to change themselves for the better by allowing them to address a little more definitively what seem to be their real struggles in life.

Offering a one size fits all religious or therapeutic community approach is not the solution for America’s prisons.

It’s nowhere near it.

But I would be willing to bet that for the same money poured into prisons like these that in all actuality- that don’t work we could get a little closer to some real solutions and some programs that actually do work.

By the way this is just a view of a prisoner on the inside looking out…

How do you feel about this as a member of free society on the outside looking in?

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8 thoughts on “What’s wrong with America’s prisons…

  1. To me it is impossible to change someone that doesn’t feel changing him-/herself. You can apply this to every situation in life – and prison is no exception. I think we need some certain insights in order to realize that and most of all what we had to change in order to live a different life which we actually prefered.

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  2. Joe, you don’t know me but I’m Justin’s twin sister Beth. You have no idea how you touched my heart and others in Justin’s family. We cried while listening to my husband read aloud your writings of Justin. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’d like to keep in touch with you. I bet you have many stories and memories of Justin that I would love to hear. We miss him so much.

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    1. Beth, this is Jen (Joe’s girlfriend) he is suppose to call me here in a few minutes and I know once I read him this it will touch his heart hearing your kind words and how much his writings touched all of you. It really hit him hard hearing about the passing of Justin (in the whole 2 years we have been together I have never heard him at a loss for words as he was the day he heard the news). He talked about Justin a lot even while they were incarcerated together so I know he has so many stories to share. I sent him a photo of Justin and Alana which he plans to paint the photo. I can’t imagine the pain all of you are going thru but just know Justin is watching down over all of you…especially his beautiful daughter. My prayers go out to all of you. -Jen

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    2. I was very touched hearing Jen read me your comment. Hearing how my writings of Justin touched you and your families heart is what makes having my blog worth it. I received the photo of Justin and his daughter today that Jen sent me and I still can’t believe he is gone. I would love to keep in touch with you, I have a lot of great memories/stories of Justin. My condolences to all of you and thank you again for your kind words. *RIP my good friend, you will truly be missed*

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      1. Thank you, I showed my dad your writings. You definitely seemed to have a solid grasp on who Justin was. We’ ll miss him every day. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend as well.

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