Crime is a Community Problem

Posted: April 9, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , ,

By: A Guest Blogger, a thoughtful inmate in a Fraser Valley institution.

CommunityCrime is a community problem that requires solutions that involve the community. As it stands right now, the community has very little involvement in the rehabilitation of offenders but instead entrusts this duty to the Correctional Service of Canada and blindly hopes they are doing the job of rehabilitating offenders and preparing them for re-entry into society.

The problem with corrections is that the Correctional Service of Canada is expected to rehabilitate people in the absence of meaningful community involvement. In our institutions, inmates are locked away and offered programming that is only marginally effective in the hope that when they are released to the community,


It takes a Village

they will be better citizens.

Many inmates do not feel themselves connected to the community, at least to the regular community at large, and it is this disconnection that makes it easier to commit crime. In fact many inmates, and criminals in general, feel themselves part of a different community, a criminal community or a jail community.

There is some community contact in prisons but not nearly enough. There are volunteers that come in for various activities and programs within the institution but for the most part inmates are locked away with only other inmates for company.

I like to think that if communities were more involved in the rehabilitation of offenders rather than leaving the entire job to the Correctional Service, there might be more successes. Eventually most offenders are released from prison and they are going to communities. Those communities should want to be involved in the rehabilitation of offenders for their own peace of mind.

Prisons could use restorative justice programs that connect offenders with victims or with representatives from the community so that there may be a dialogue that could lead to a sense of connection. Building a connection to the community, in this writer’s opinion, might be one of the most important steps in the rehabilitation of criminals.Community

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  1. Joanne says:

    I agree that community involvement is very important for rehabilitation. I also think the idea that disconnection from a community makes crime easier to do is an important one to point out to people. I wish I could do more to help with this! I truly do. And if someone could tell me how, without jeopardising anyone’s safety, I’d be all over it.

    I’d like to point out–not to always harp on the negative but there is so much of it–that it is CSC that makes it difficult for community connections to happen. Rules about only being on one prisoner’s visiting list at a time make it very difficult for people in the community to be supportive. And need I even mention the difficulties that people have first being approved for visits, second finding time to visit during some really restricted visiting hours (not so much in BC as in other places) and third running the gauntlet of the drug dog and ion scanner? Visits to some intitutions are clearly and deliberately discouraged by certain institutional policies.

    • prisonsorguk says:

      Greetings from the UK.
      As someone who lamentably spent 14 years in jail for robbery and who, since coming out in 1995, has turned his life around, I agree Crime is a community problem – and a lot of its solutions are to be found there too. However reducing reoffending requires offenders to want to change, to do that they need to realise their future is in their hands, crime is a choice – and so too are its consequences. Providing skills training of inmates is important, its not the whole nine yards: there is not much use training the prisoner to be bricklayer if you do not train the bricklayer not to burgle houses.
      The US policy seems to be about building more and more prisons, but I’ve never understood this. If you think that building more prisons will reduce the crime rate then why not try building more hospitals to reduce the number of road accidents?
      The reality is that by the time the prison or hospital enters the equation, the victim has already suffered.
      Confrontation with a victim through restorative justice is the real way forward in my book.
      Keep up the good work
      Mark Leech (

    • Ed Griffin says:

      What can I say, Joanne, except “you’re right.” All too true. Sadly. Perhaps then one sees that the institution mostly operates for the sake of the staff. Bringing the community in of course has some dangers, but there are creative ways to deal with that danger.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      And I will share your comments with the inmate, Joanne

  2. […] Crime is a Community Problem ( […]

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