What will it take for true prison reform to occur? It seems as if people from all walks of life have struggled with unfair sentences, parole officers, and post-prison resources. Some inmates may be okay with the time they are sentenced with because they did the crime, but when they get out of prison, they are still suffering. It’s never ending punishment when you are considered a criminal for life, despite changing your actions.
There have been numerous attempts for prison reform. The community has tried to build various non-profit organizations that fight for individual cases and are sometimes successful. The problem here is that they take a long time and a lot more resources just to change the outcome of one case. I believe in helping individuals, but there is a much larger and more serious problem that must be addressed. For example, the fact that some cases have corrupt officers, prosecutors, and even judges. We should also address the fact that some laws are unfair to Black and Brown people.
Then there’s the issue of where should prison reform start. Some think it starts after an inmate gets out of prison. This is the case when former inmates have gone through the system and have had bad experiences. For example, Meek Mill has teamed up with Jay-Z to try to reform the penal system. Then there are laws enacted to help reform the prison system. However, since many of the lawmakers in America are out of touch with prison culture, these laws have a high chance of failing before they begin. That’s what happened to the law that President Bush signed. It was supposed to allow inmates the chance to stay longer in a halfway house, but because there were limited beds in the halfway houses, the project failed. This article believes that will be the case with the new law that Trump just signed. Other people believe that prison reform starts inside the prison. The article also cites a letter from the Federal Public Defenders which states that prisoners who worked in the prison are 24% more likely to recidivate because of their marketable job skills. They oppose the new law that Trump signed which will reduce the amount of prison time through participation in various prison programs.
I believe our best bet to reforming the prison system is for former inmates to link up with government officials and tell them what needs to change. Writing law changes the old laws that have kept so many people down, but when the laws don’t make sense, then it doesn’t benefit anyone. When you have someone that has gone through the penal system guiding the person who writes laws, then we possibly have a win-win situation. Or you could do what this guy did; become Mayor of your town. Jermaine Wilson was an inmate who got his records expunged and then ran for Mayor and won. He is most likely the best candidate to understand what needs to change in the prison system and then actually do it. Before he ran for office, he was a community activist.
I believe every inmate should be a community activist when they are released. This will give the community a real sense of what’s truly taking place inside prisons. This will give young children and adults a real perspective of what’s to become of them if they don’t change their bad habits. Becoming the law is the only way to positively change the laws that suppress and oppress Black and Brown people.