Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Not Reform the Penal System?

I wish that there was a much bigger emphasis on making real changes to the people within our penal system. To that end I think the following changes should be made:

1) Work - Inmates should be working for eight to ten hours a day. Working and a work ethic is something that should be focused on as it seems that a high percentage of the people getting caught up in the system are not comfortable with working.

2) Diet - Inmates should be on a healthy diet of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. They need to be taken off all refined and processed foods and certainly need to given a vegetarian diet. I suspect there are a lot of people in the system that have never learned what a decent wholefood diet is like and eat too many foods heavy in fats and processed sugars. This change in diet should reduce some of the behavior problems.

3) People within the correction system should be baring the brunt of the cost of the system. Work within the prisons should be helping to pay for the costs of the system. A single inmate should be able to

4) No drugs of any kind - zero tolerance for anything but prescriptions. This means caffeine as well and tobacco. It is in the interests of the state to lower smoking rates, within the correction system this can be enforced.

5) Inmates should have their waking hours restricted to working, physical exercise and learning. And all learning through books alone - no internet access, no TV. The goal is to make it possible to reform themselves.

In short the system must offer numerous oppurtunties for the inmates to improve themselves through better diet, work, learning and more exercise, but be an experience that is one that offers no 'perks'. The correctional system needs to focus on making sure an inmate that leaves has no desire to return, is healthier and is able to be a productive member of society.
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