"The Prison Industrial Complex" *Punishment Vs. Rehabilitation*
Written by AJ Rasmussen
The prison system today as I know it, based solely on the experience of my time spent in the Washington prison system, is what I will be speaking on. To compare with stories I hear of other penal systems around the world and even country, I would say we are in a state of rehabilitation moreso than of punishment. I look to times of old where people were severely punished in a prison setting. Still, today, you hear of such places. Whereas here, we are treated comparably well with our needs being met, some wants and opportunity to better oneself in more ways than not. Those who would argue against our system being rehabilitative I would say are doing their time blindly and not putting forth the effort needed to change oneself. No one can change another, it is up to each individual to seek out and accomplish change. What I am saying is the tools are available, we must choose to use them. Now, naturally, every prison or jail is going to come with a form of punishment. To me, no greater punishment can be bestowed upon a person than that of ripping a person away from the very people they love and who loves them. I would, any day, take less privilege than we have, to have more time with my family and friends. There is also punishment in the losing of other freedoms as well, but that, to me, is a direct consequence to our actions and choices, and to be expected. To go further on the rehabilitation side of things, tho I believe we are in more of a rehabilitation state, a system could always do more. In the time I have done, due to continual "budget cuts/ cut backs" the cutting always appears to come at the expense of positive rehabilitative programs and in so doing, our system has progressively become more about warehousing people just to rid them from society. Some get out and some don't. Those who do get out, often return. Sometimes due to a lack of rehabilitation in the institution they were in. More likely than not though, the person didn't take advantage of what was there and just the lack of desire to change from the past. If a person keeps doing what they have always done, they will get what they always have. I admit, it is far from easy to be a released felon out in the community, however, there are plenty of examples to prove it is possible. Alot of what creates success is good health; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A balanced lifestyle, with proper priorities, I believe is key to success and that process can begin in here, today, right now. In closing, it all stems back to number one, ourselves. Do we want to succeed, or don't we? This is the question.