Education is key in rehabilitating prisoners back into society. There is a high percentage of incarcerated men and women that are woefully uneducated. I believe help comes in the form of education. Without education, a man cannot properly prepare and apply himself. If a man is educated, he can help himself with the proper resources and assistance needed to prepare himself in this journey we call life. However, with the lack of knowledge and education, that journey will be filled with many obstacles along the way. The fact of the matter is better reentry programs are needed because these individuals are returning back into some of the same neighborhoods that you currently live in.
Most of these programs provided by the M.D.O.C. are not at all beneficial or useful to the product (The Prisoner) reentering back into society. These programs are required or recommended by the parole board. I believe the healing begins within self- Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul in the form of self-educating, self-rehabilitating, and being accountable for past actions. A person should not have to be close to their release date to receive the necessary reentry programs provided. The Michigan criminal justice system is a well-constructed business, which punishes its product (The Prisoner) and pretends to rehabilitate the product with frivolous programs. As a result, many men and women return back to prison on parole violations or new cases before their parole is completed.
Educational programs are desperately needed and should be available and provided for all prisoners, not just those who are doing short time. These programs are obviously needed throughout the prison system, rather it be law (paralegal training), reentry job training (acquiring a trade), academic schooling (college degrees), business 101, or parenting and family classes for all men and women that are incarcerated. There is vast number of incarcerated men and women that are basically stuck in the era they were convicted, and they are clearly lost in the sauce. A lot has changed in five years, a lot has changed in ten years, a lot has changed in twenty years, a lot has changed in thirty years and most prisoners are so out of touch when it comes to the current technology that is being use on a daily basis in society.
The access to education in the M.D.O.C. is not offered to all. In some cases, certain individuals want to attend beneficial programs such as college courses but are being turned away because they do not fit the quote on quote criteria, rather it be life sentences, E.R.A.’s (earliest release dates), disciplinary reasons, or the lack of religious beliefs in the sponsored programs that are offered. How can prisoners in Michigan focus on rehabilitation when their being treated other than human? Every day we’re faced with different obstacles and distractions that come along with being incarcerated. We’re constantly being relocated further and further away from our families. Years go by without seeing family, and on top of all that we’re forced to lock with total strangers. The list goes on. To add insult to injury, we endure physical and verbal abuse from correctional officers, fellow prisoners and other staff members, which is also mentally challenging. However, most men and women that are incarcerated are able to avoid these distractions with the help of outside programming, faith, religious beliefs, self-discipline, and the support of family and friends.
A lot of time is being wasted on frivolous recreational activities such as board games, card games, checkers, and dominos. I remember playing cards for eight hours, and I thought to myself, “I just wasted all that time doing nothing productive towards my freedom or the betterment of self. At that moment, I realized that I could have read a few chapters in a book or studied for those hours that were wasted. That was the last time I played cards and began to self-educate myself by studying and reading more. I took the time to educate myself and be a part of different study groups in my unit because certain classes and programs were not available for me to attend. How is it we only get 6 hours of law library a week and even then, we still have to wait on other prisoners to finish using the 10 computers that are available? But we receive more hours in three days to exercise, play basketball, play video games, play floor hockey, attend big yard, and gym call outs .It just does not add up.
“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs ,our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits and our habits become our reality” (Jen Sincero).
Clearly, the Michigan criminal justice system does not truly focus on rehabilitation or keeping prisoners connected with their love ones. Their business and focus are on convictions as well as the amount of money received for housing the convicted. I believe there should be programs that will allow families to reconnect with family members that are being release back into their lives and living conditions. Many men and women are being released back into situations that they are no longer familiar. With the proper reentry programs such as parenting, family connection, and real job training courses, the transition back into the free world would be simplified because educating the uneducated is the key to rehabilitation. As the African proverbs states, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far then go together.” I wrote this article because the help we need comes in the form of education that is provided through the proper reentry programs.
(REMEMBER 2 REMEMBER) REDEMPTION,REBUILDING,RESTORING,REWRITING,REWARDING,AND REMINDING society that we can change and become REHABILITATED by REESTABLISHING ourselves back into society with the proper ASSISTANCE and RESOURCES provided along this journey.
“EXCUSES ARE POISON TO OUR GOALS.”(STEPHEN GRAPES)
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