SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2008 AT 01:10AM

Since arriving at Taft, I’ve become fascinated with the criminal justice system. As a matter of fact, just about every person on this compound fascinates me. This is ironic because prior to self-surrendering, I had no desire to learn about a system that had consumed my life for three years.

The incredibly high rate of recidivism interests and saddens me. Seven out of ten prisoners return to confinement upon release. 70% of the felons around me, some friends, will violate parole or commit another crime and return to prison. This statistic proves that our prison system is failing the American taxpayers and the inmates they pay to feed and shelter.

American taxpayers spend more than 60 billion dollars a year to fund our ineffective prison system. Now that I have experienced the system firsthand, I know that we need change. I would like to see changes that would encourage inmates to work toward reconciling with society. There are very few who manage to grow in positive ways through the adversity of the system. It requires extraordinary effort to overcome the challenges of confinement. However, with proper training, improvements can certainly be made to improve recidivism rates.

Preparing prisoners for release is the last thing the institution cares about. The security of the institution is the primary focus. Administrators are held accountable only if someone escapes or if the institution runs over budget. The administrators are not measured by how many inmates they help for re-entry. It’s a sorry state that America’s prison system has never been held accountable by the taxpayers but this is exactly the way the administration wants it.

One specific goal of my blog is to open people’s eyes to our correctional system. The Department of Justice predicts that 6.6% of American residents will find themselves in a state or federal prison during their life time. Prison affects millions of families and prison does not discriminate. I never imagined I would be in a federal prison, but here I am. Our system needs to improve so offenders, myself included, can succeed upon release. This is a goal I will fight for long after I am released.

It is never too late to start preparing…Download Lessons From Prison Now to discover what is truly possible in federal prison.

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