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Prisons are often held up as a solution to crime, but incarceration without rehabilitation is a cause of crime too. With violence inundating cities, it’s time to look inside prisons and reimagine their possibilities.
While serving time for bank robbery, I saw up close what didn’t work. Two decades later, I have spent years as an advocate, and there have been improvements to the prison system, including sentencing reform and better access to prison programming – but successful outcomes remain elusive.
We can no longer ignore the reality that the prison environment directly impacts public safety. (iStock)
Prisons weren’t built to rehabilitate. We cannot expect people to become good citizens when corrosive prison culture sabotages character change. It’s time to transform how we “do” prison in America.
Recidivism – the rate at which released prisoners return to state custody – has long been the reigning statistic of American corrections. Instead of quantifying success, though, it measures failure. While recent research challenges the idea that recidivism is a sufficient metric, it remains a focus of the prison system. To combat recidivism, researchers have identified risk factors, like antisocial thinking and behavior, to target for reduction. Officials