Council in prisons can transform incarcerated populations. Incarceration should prioritize opportunities for rehabilitation, so that individuals can re-enter society at the end of their sentence as individuals who contribute to the flow of life and lead a productive life. However, systemic issues in the world, and especially within the carceral system, have left the US prison system, one of the largest in the world, plagued by issues. Without proper opportunities for rehabilitation, recidivism is much more likely.
The US prison system has long been criticized for its lack of effective rehabilitation programs. Many prisoners are released back into society without the necessary skills, education, and support to successfully reintegrate into the community. This can lead to a high rate of recidivism, as well as increased crime and decreased public safety. While some states have made efforts to provide rehabilitation programs to incarcerated populations, many of these programs are underfunded and understaffed, making it difficult for inmates to receive the help they need. Council is an effective and self-sustaining rehabilitation program. Jared spoke about this on the Hero Maker Podcast:
“I think the transformation that some folks are able to engage in in the rehabilitative process is really striking. And I think we have seen, as a result of what we have brought into prisons, some extraordinary and inspiring transformation of individuals and their capacity to be of benefit as agents of change when they get out. And that's because they've done this work inside. And the work they've done on themselves is then translated to the work that they do in relationships, and in community.”
The US prison system is plagued by a high rate of recidivism. Recent studies determined that approximately two-thirds of released prisoners reoffend within three years. This can lead to a cycle of crime, incarceration, and reoffending, which is not only costly for the prison system but also detrimental to public safety. To reduce the rate of recidivism, it is important for the prison system to provide effective rehabilitation programs that address the underlying causes of criminal behavior and provide incarcerated men and women with the skills and support they need to successfully reintegrate into society. While Center for Council’s programs offer extensive opportunities to learn and practice council inside prison, the organization’s Council Reentry Program provides a continuum of care by engaging formerly incarcerated individuals when they are released. Jared spoke about the re-entry program on the podcast:
“When you're dealing with system-impaired folks who are in an environment in which they are taught to behave certain ways, and then they go into prison, many of them harden in those ways of communicating and behaving with one another. This extraordinary culture of toxic masculinity is about intimidation, being on guard, and not showing any kind of vulnerability. And then they are expected to move back into communities and cultivate successful reentry with families where there are children, and maybe there are spouses, or loved ones, and all you've known is how to kind of bully your way through something and protect yourself and not get killed inside there... Learning these new skills is so critical in all directions for cultivating a more compassionate community.”
The US prison system is facing a number of pressing issues, including overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, lack of rehabilitation programs, and a high rate of recidivism. To address these problems, it is important for policymakers to invest in rehabilitation programs and re-entry programs. Only then can we hope to create a more just and effective prison system that promotes public safety, reduces crime, and supports the well-being of those in its care. We must not lose sight of how those incarcerated individuals continue to impact society while they are locked up and, particularly, as they come home and reenter society.
Learn more about our prison programs here: https://www.centerforcouncil.org/incarcerated-and-system-impacted-individuals.html
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