In my previous post entitled, Recidivism and the Prison Industry (Part 1), I explained that the prison industry does not effectively rehabilitate offenders because doing so is not in their financial interests. The prison industry profits from the expensive wastefulness and ineffectiveness of the prison system. As I said about rehabilitating offenders in the last post, the problem is not that the prison industry does not know how to do it; the problem is that they do not want to do it. In today’s post, I will explain how we can get the prison industry and the politicians to actually rehabilitate offenders.
It all comes down to money. We have to make it profitable for them to actually rehabilitate offenders and lower violent crime rates. And we have to make it unprofitable for them to keep wasting our resources.
To that end, we need to create a system of strict financial accountability.
When a prison releases someone who goes on to commit a new crime, I suggest we hold the prison financially responsible by making them pay for the damages caused by the crime or by making the prison pay a penalty fine of some sort.
I suggest prisons do not receive funding based on how many inmates they have each year because that can leave it profitable for the prison to keep inmates too long. Instead, I suggest prisons receive a certain amount of total funding for each inmate no matter how long they keep the inmate so that it is in the prison’s interest to rehabilitate and release that inmate as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To help ensure that inmates are not released until they have been rehabilitated and are safe to be released, I suggest that professionals must be put in charge of reviewing inmates and approving or rejecting each inmate for release. Then if a released convict commits another crime, a single person can be held accountable for releasing the dangerous, non-rehabilitated inmate. The especially helpful advantage is that we can fire reviewers who have approved the release of a relatively high percentage of inmates who re-offend. So we can find reviewers who are able to predict more accurately whether someone will re-offend and thus drastically lower the recidivism rate.
Finally, we need to ensure that effective incarceration and rehabilitation systems receive a lot of funding if they work correctly. The funding provides the financial incentive for the industry to actually rehabilitate offenders. And the funding also provides the ability to afford to rehabilitate offenders. For more about providing the funds, check out my post entitled Funding Security.
What do you think? How do you suggest we make it in the financial interests of the prison industry to actually do their job, rehabilitate offenders and lower recidivism rates?