Not many issues prompt as much discussion as those that surround judicial procedure and criminal rehabilitation, especially in a society that has a serious problem with overcrowded correctional facilities and restrictions in public expenditure. These are social issues which burden the US at this present time, and are tightly interwoven through the vast sums of public money that it currently takes to maintain the crowded and bustling correctional facilities which are currently in operation throughout the country.
Crime has become something of a social epidemic in recent times, with the last 2 decades seeing the prison population rise by over 1 million inmates. This has unfortunately been the catalyst to the inflated levels of public money that have been invested into building and maintaining correctional facilities, while also accounting for rising amount of tax payer revenue to feed and house the criminal fraternity. With both crime and public spending coming under intense public focus, now is the time to tackle the theories of rehabilitation and how convicted felons should pay their debts to society.
A Case in Point
DC Central operates a Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program, which is geared specifically towards homeless and previously incarcerated individuals. This is the kind of initiative which has developed in the wake of increased rates of conviction and criminal behavior, and is primarily conceived to give those with a criminal past an opportunity to grow and refrain from re-offending. As this and many similar schemes have a keen basis in the interests of society, they also allow their employees to repay their debts to the society that they once disparaged.
Hundreds of chefs have graduated from this program, and this success rate has given individuals the focus and purpose that they need to live decent and law abiding lives. They are then able to repay their social debt by becoming tax paying and contributing members of civilization, providing for their families while also reinvesting their wealth back into the national economy. This scheme is an example of how social initiatives can reduce criminality and prevent former convicts from re-offending, while also affording them a crucial step on the path to redemption in the eyes of both the law and their contemporaries.
Community and the Recession
If you consider the current economic climate and budget deficit of the US, then these schemes are crucial in providing employment to individuals who have been recently released from prison. With unemployment still high and organizations loathe or unable to commit to job creation, community initiatives allow released or paroled offenders to obtain work and not find themselves treading the well worn paths of criminal conduct again. This function cannot be underestimated, as without it the state of contemporary USA could prove to be still and uninspiring to an individual looking to pursue a clean living existence.
It could actually be argued that the current social circumstances actually make it an ideal time for felons to repay their debts to society. With poverty rising across the southern belt line of US states, and the evolving application of social media outlets creating numerous charitable ventures with the aim of tackling social issues, more positions are being created for those with a criminal record to grow, self improve and invest something back into the society from which they have taken so much. This should be considered as a significant stage of social rehabilitation, and the step that bridges the chasm between prison and civilized society.
Rehabilitation for the Criminal Fraternity
With this latter point in mind, there is sense in creating more defined aspects of judicial punishment. By looking to punish and then rehabilitate offenders rather than looking to achieve both simultaneously during an inmates incarceration, the process and development of the individual can be better managed by officials. This can ensure that their first tentative release is both deserved and suitable, and that the felon in question poses no discernible risk to either himself or the society that they seeks to take their place within.
In essence, social schemes and initiatives then offer an excellent potential outlet for an offenders rehabilitation, especially if they are able to participate in them before their permanent release. The volume of community schemes now being conceived and their social relevance mean that they offer the ideal opportunity to help reform a recently released or still incarcerated felon, and give them a crucial foothold on the paths of rehabilitation and self improvement. This fact, and the over crowded state of US prisons that demand a suitable and swift resolution, means that now may well be the ideal time for offenders to repay their debt and utilize community schemes to complete their social rehabilitation.