Posts Tagged ‘Reform’

Prison Bars

Photo by Vectorportal via Flickr

Slavery. Fathers, mothers ripped from their children. People thrown in the bottom of slave ships where many of them died. Transported from Africa to America. Prodded and displayed for sale in markets.

Today we look in horror at what our ancestors did. How could human beings do those things to other people?

I fear, however, that our descendents will look back at our era and say the same things:

They put their law-breakers in cages? They had these things called prisons, fenced in spaces where there weren’t any trees. They ripped the identity out of the people, told them in countless ways that they were evil. Some of the law-breakers they executed. And these people of the 21st century claimed to be educated.

I can hear it now. A descendent of mine. She studies my history. What did he do? Did he support this evil by paying for it? Yes he did. He paid his taxes.

So I take a very small step. I’m going to write a blog on prison reform. Who am I? I’ve been teaching creative writing in prison for 23 years. My heart aches with what I see.

What do I believe? Yes, a very small minority of those currently locked up in prison have to stay there, at least until they change. But most men and women need something besides prison. They need rehabilitation. Our current prisons are warehouses for human beings – and they are crime schools.

I don’t know all the answers. I’d like to hear your views. But we must start. Our descendents are watching.

What do you think about prison?

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