I heard some statistics on NPR today regarding California prisons and it reminded me of the ridiculousness of our justice system. While many hard working people struggle to pay rent, the state is spending half a million dollars per convict to build more prison cells.
Although I am astonished by the irony of this situation, a friend reminded me that it is important for us to maintain our moral authority even (especially) in times of great burden.
However, after watching some MSNBC specials on the prison culture, it makes me question why we can’t be more efficient with the way we manage our prison system. For example, it seems to me that prison is nothing more than a “Linkedin” for criminals. Its a place for them to meet other criminals, organize into gangs, and make connections even educated professionals like myself would be jealous of.
Perhaps this is the reason why recidivism rates are so high, and so many experts agree that prisons do not work in reforming offenders.
Some possible ways to solve this problem:
1) Do not allow prionsers with known gang affiliations to hang out as a gang on the prison yard.
2) Force prisoners to work with their known rivals and mix ethnic races.
3) Ship prisoners to other far away locations where they cannot hook up with other members of their group.
4) Rotate prison yard time to reduce chances of meeting other like minded individuals.
I don’t think any of these suggestions are unreasonable. Just ways to mitigate negative social networking.