Most people may think of prisons as nothing more than facilities where criminals are incarcerated and deprived of their freedoms while serving a sentence for a crime. While this is true, the concept of imprisonment is also intended to rehabilitate the prisoners.
The basic idea of rehabilitation through imprisonment is that a person who has been incarcerated will never want to be sent back to prison after they have been set free. It is hoped that an inmate’s experiences while locked up will leave such a lasting impression that a former prisoner will do whatever it takes to avoid a second term.
Unfortunately, research has consistently shown that time spent in prison does not successfully rehabilitate most inmates, and the majority of criminals return to a life of crime almost immediately. Many argue that most prisoners will actually learn new and better ways to commit crimes while they are locked up with their fellow convicts. They can also make connections and become more deeply involved in the criminal world.
In an effort to offer better rehabilitative services to the inmates, many prisons have begun providing psychiatrists to help deal with prisoners’ mental disorders and psychological issues. Prisons also offer classroom settings in which inmates can learn to read and educate themselves. These methods are proven to have a positive effect on the prisoners and have helped many to overcome a background with little or no education. Upon their release, prisoners who have stuck with these programs are given a better opportunity to succeed and to become law abiding citizens.
Rehabilitation of prisoners is an extremely difficult process. Inmates are segregated from the general public and forced to live in a society with people for whom crime is a way of life. For many, time spent behind bars will push them farther into a life of crime, but for others, the horrors of prison life and the lessons they learn there are enough to deter them from committing crimes again in the future.