I've never really felt that prisons were any good at reforming people. The impression I get is that people go to jail and come out hardened criminals... Especially true if they are young.
What's also worse is how difficult it then becomes for them to reintegrate into society.
I REALLY don't understand how colleges in the US can refuse admission to people that have been to jail.
I can understand an employer being wary and wanting to know about criminal history, but it's then a case by case decision whether someone gets hired.
To deny education to ex-cons is pretty much relegating them to the bottom rung of society, no matter how much they want to reform.
Having said all that, prison isn't just about reform. It is also about punishment and deterrent...
If people were sent to jail and spent their time there attending counselling sessions, learning to bake, and talking about their feelings, there would be no reason for people to be scared of jail.
Prison has to be harsh enough and scary enough that people don't want to end up there and will behave themselves when they are released so they never have to go back.
Maybe hard labour should be reintroduced like in North Korea!?
It's a complex question, and there's also the question of funding to consider too...
I keep hearing about how much it costs to maintain a prisoner, and how prisons are all overcrowded and people are being released early because the prison population is too big... How much more funding would it take to create a system that was effective in rehabilitating?
A lot I guess.
But you could argue that successfully rehabilitating prisoners would actually cut costs in the long run, considering the reduced amount of reoffenders... But politicians and voters don't think about the long term much these days, we're all too worried about how we're going to balance the budget in the short term