Friday, September 12, 2014

Teenagers in US Prisons

It’s so sad that so many teenagers are being incarcerated, it’s even sadder to know that some of the will be in prison for the rest of their lives. I do understand that they have to pay the consequences of their actions, at the same time I think that one, not the one, but one of the roots of the problem is the lack of higher education. Seems to be a trend when being poor most of the time has a lot to do with not being well educated meaning having a degree, which constitutes on having a job that doesn’t pay much there for not being able to move to a better neighborhood, or give their children a better public or private school or giving them the opportunity to grow in a different environment.
One of them in the video mentioned that not having that male role model, another having their parents divorce and also having their parents to be addicted to drugs in one way or another sets them in a path that when they realized that they are in it sometimes is too late. Higher education, at least in the United States, gives an individual the ability to obtain better jobs and the ability to afford many things that the low income family cannot afford giving the children a low quality of live. More incentives to study should be given.
I admired the many single mothers that are trying to do the best they can, the father being absent many times makes it very difficult for children to grow healthy environment many times causing the child to have a void inside that leads them to drugs, gangs, behavior disorders, to perform poorly in school and anger issues like we saw in the video, not to mention the sex abuse that many girls go through. Tougher punishment should to be implemented.
In the environment that we grew up in has a lot to do in how we are going to end up when we get to be adults. The influence of the parents being negative or positive will most of the time define the path that the child will take as well as his or her peers, also the media, video games has some sort of negative effect in the young children, adolescents and teenagers, nowadays we waste too much time playing video games According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors.”(a)  
The “System” in my opinion can do a much better job, the cycle can be broken in many more inmates, there can be a better success rate using trainings, and programs like we saw and also “work to eat” should be implemented. The average cost to having an inmate in a US prison is about $31286.00 a year, in New York being around $60000.00;(b) they get 3 free meals a day and medical care. In 2011 an unemployed man in North Carolina “steals” $1.00 from a local bank to go to prison so he can get free medical care.(c) Something is obviously wrong with the system. Each prison should be able to be self-maintained or use those $31286.00 wisely using them in programs that have a very good success rates, in changing the way of thinking of these inmates. In Texas instead of an increase in inmates in the last five years has been a decrease to due to state funded programs.(c) We do know that not everyone is going to change but those that want to change will benefit from these type of programs.
Quote from American Experiment Website:
According to Sheryl Ramstad Hvass, Minnesota's commissioner of corrections, "When it comes to community resources, Teen Challenge is one of the best-kept secrets for helping those who have failed again and again in our system."(d)
Teen Challenge is a religious program that is mostly funded from churches that has a 70% success rate. If that is what is working let’s use it, not as a last resource but at the beginning. Teen Challenge argues that if the state funds it may want to dictate what the program needs to teach. If that’s the case is not going to work, because it hasn’t been working.
So if in the system we implement not only programs, but to make the inmates work for the food and have them to pay for their training to get them ready for when they come out these could look better in a near future. The system is not helping them in at the same time is not helping the taxpayer because we end up paying for a system that is not working. Instead of having the undocumented immigrants doing low paying jobs, these jobs can be done by inmates, if they don’t do it, well they don’t eat.
Now A huge problem that we have is that when the inmates get out they don’t have any training or any aspirations to go to school because most employers if they have a criminal background don’t even give them a chance to work and return to society and prove that they have changed, so they feel inferior and looked down upon, The CORI becomes their greatest barrier, and the ones that have changed cannot get a decent job because of it, so they do the math and say in the streets I was making more money either selling drugs, fire arms etc, so they think to themselves this time I am not going to get caught, so what ends up happening is that they go back to where they came from, they start getting involved again with the same crowd as before, because they cannot get a job that pays them well, And the cycle begins or continues. Change is possible if the system give the inmates an atmosphere to change.


(a)    "Brain Post: How Much Time Does the Average American Spend Outdoors?" Snow Brains, 5 June 2014. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.
(b)   Pilkington, Ed. "US Man Stages $1 Bank Robbery to Get State Healthcare." The Guardain, 21 June 2011. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.
(c)    Ward, Mike. "Texas Prison Population Shrinks as Rehabilitation Programs Take Root.", 11 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.

(d)   Kersten, Katherine. "Teen Challenge Operates on Faith but Then Pays for It." Center for the American Experiment, 17 Nov. 1999. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.