Reviewed on: January 08,2016

Good day, I am a student researching inmate perspectives on for-private prisons. Have your experiences been different in federal, state, or local prisons versus your experiences in a for-profit prison. Have you experienced any issues with: unpaid labor, human rights violations, unsafe/unsanitary living conditions, staff violence? How can we as advocates, help to ensure your human rights are respected in ANY prison? What is the one message/story you would want shared with human rights workers? Thank you for any information you can provide and be well.

Asked: November 16, 2015
Ask the inmate answer
Federal prison is by far the most humane and professional of the prison systems. Most of the corrections officers are well trained and decent about doing their work in a most professional manner. State prison is not nearly as well staffed, trained or funded. The private prisons are somewhere in the middle. There are lots of exaggerations regarding unpaid labor or human rights violations and we would feel uneasy fanning the flames of a movement that we generally feel is isolated in its scope. If you take a cross-section of society in any area of interest, you will find exceptionally bad actors that could make the whole genre look bad. This is our opinion from experience with prison and prison life. There are inmates that bring isolation and tough treatment on themselves. Ask the inmates that have done their time abiding by the rules imposed and you will not find one story of injustice. The system of incarceration is the punishment of being taken from society and told when to wake, when to eat, when to sleep and where to be at all times. Inmates pushing back against this regimen create a new set of restrictions that start to fall into areas of human rights violations. But, what can the system that oversees incarceration do about the inmate that doesn’t want to follow the rules of being locked-up? They couldn’t follow society’s rule of law, they don’t like being locked up and to continue acting out forces their isolation into solitary confinement so as to maintain order. There is no way to hold the institution out as inhumane or cruel when they have an inmate population that they have to control in a civilized fashion. Advocacy groups will focus on the exception to the rule and bring attention to an isolated event that is not indicative of the whole picture. We empathize with the aggrieved but we are not moved solely on the auspices of such a small sample of the whole process. InmateAid feels strongly that incarceration should be for those deserving of removal from society for a fair period of time. However, we want to see changes made to the way that offender spends their time while there. Education and rehabilitation should the focus, not just warehousing human beings who've committed crimes. If we can champion a movement whereby the inmates are given some concrete hope for a successful re-entry, we will go a long way towards the released offenders becoming useful, productive and trustworthy citizens. We need to augment the system to train inmates with vocational skills, giving them the ability to get not only their high school diploma but giving them secondary education achieving college degrees or more. Inmates that get released, armed with a strategy of re-entry that has a change will create lowest recidivism rates in history. The prison population needs a reason to stop their criminal thinking. If they are given the tools to successfully re-enter society, promote the skills and temperament to become useful citizens and to provide for their families in an honorable fashion – we will see a confident new work force that America would be proud of. We believe in second chances, let’s give these people a reason to hope for a new start.
Accepted Answer Date Created: November 17,2015

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