Prison has been around in human society for many millions of years. Having someone who disobeyed the law of that village, town, city or country punished in some form of institution, cutting them off from people, is a common concept - a popular and supposedly "needed" process society has taken to doing for many years now has been put under the spotlight many times by many different figures and people in society. The question remains - do prisons only make people worse? Many articles have been published in many journals and newspapers of the western world (mainly the USA, UK and Australia) saying prison only makes a person worse yet no complaint of the method has come from the less liberal eastern societies; this only proves how in countries where the rights of humans are valued such issues as if prisons only make people worse are important and relevant to keeping fair to all. Punishing criminals by putting them in a correctional facility such as prisons can be successful in repenting the criminal as they would reflect on their own actions, allowing the guilt to make them better people, probably even seeing their own faults through other prisoners. Prisons give criminals a chance to rehabilitate themselves by using the facilities there present such as the counseling and seminars given. The fact that prisons house a lot of criminals that associate with each other has created a "criminal community", an atmosphere where crime inhibits; therefore criminals can only aid each other out to become better "crime", learning the tricks of the trade as well as toughening each other up through the highly abusive nature of the criminals there.
Health wise, prisons can highly be dangerous and lethal to the prisoners; such diseases as AIDS from homosexual relationships and drug use is prevalent, as well as male rape, and even female rape, even some become mentally insane. In general however, prisons aren't a nice place to be. Something not very common in prisons is that some prisoners could, through reflecting on their own actions and correcting their own faults, fixing themselves emotionally they would leave prison better humans. Prison can be a place where criminals reflect on their actions and see who they are through other prisoners, and using this a sort of 'therapy' where they would better themselves. Yet even though this isn't true for many prisoners, prisoners such as in the article entitle "Please never forget that even the good criminals are bad" (EXT. RESP: ART#1, the man, Roger Kiser Sr.
, who had suffered emotional damage from his childhood, was deeply sorry and upset for the hurt he cause a victim of his named only 'Mr. Pfister'. This man was a child who had had it rough, who had been into juvenile detention as an adolescent, yet when he was enlisted in the army as his punishment at sixteen, he regretted his actions. Yet, when, years later, he robbed and assaulted this 'Mr.
Pfister' with two companions, the man [Roger Kiser Sr. ] regretted his actions whilst in prison, becoming a more mature and better person when he left jail. This man had gone into prison as a hardened, 'tough' man, coming out a repented, better person. This example just goes to show not all who go into prison come out worse from before or in general. There are those few cases where prison is their 'thinking' place.
Allowing the time spent to reflect on life and how one can become a better player in it, such as Roger Kiser Sr. The crime they committed also would traumatism them, showing how much of a heart and how really human they are. Prison can make many people worse people than they were before, but to some it can make them turn back to the 'path of good'. Some prisoners could use the facilities and opportunities provided in prison to better themselves as people, even becoming the best type of person they ever would have been, which was the case of Jeri Becker (EXT. RESP: ART#2). There are those prisoners that repent themselves whilst they are in prison.
Whether that repenting would have been that they did not want that life, that they used something in prison to aid in changing themselves or discovered something of themselves they never knew existed. The nature of the prison, having a lot of time with nothing to do, pushes one to reflect, ponder on themselves and what the had done to receive such a horrible punishment which they had deserved. Jeri Becker had been with a companion at the time when he had shot dead another man during a drug deal. Becker had received life I prison, that is twenty-four years, where she had become someone she thought she never could become.
Becker had transformed into a repented person; she became a much more valued and virtuous woman than her dark days of the past. At age 56 she left prison a new woman, ready to live life the right way. Whilst in prison Jeri was 'repenting her past and preparing for a different kind of future', overcoming her drug addiction and ridding her of the evils that brought her down. Jeri had accomplished much whilst in prison, probably more than many people in the outside world. She had taught to other inmates who had changed their lives also, 'embracing a deeply spiritual path's he published 'moving' essays, which were for the Catholic Women's Network in the USA. Thanks to the time she had spent in prison, Jeri Becker had proved many wrong that rehabilitation was the way to work a criminal into becoming a better quality human once again.
Becker is a great example of how prison can transform and change a hardened and criminal heart, through the services on offer and the reality of being prison for a period of time, many would rid themselves of their devils and vow never to do wrong again - coming out of prison better people than any worse. Even though prison can be the first step to transformation for the small few who go into prison coming out better, for the large majority prison only makes them worse, even allowing for them to become 'better' criminals. Prison itself is swarming with criminals, so criminals enter prison they enter into a crime-riddled community. They share an atmosphere with other criminals alike to them - with their own thinking, their own mentality and such things alike. The values, the ideas, the thoughts of the criminals that go into prison are simply then part of this 'criminal chain' where the values, the thoughts and ideas of criminals are simply shared and 'recycled'. For many criminals going into prison is only a chance to become better at what they enjoy doing best, and that is being criminals and being the worst people they can be.
Even though the idea is sad, but this is the reality. For example, in the worst prisons in UK, the high-security prisons, there are still men in prison who co-ordinate drug deals within prison through messengers who take it to the outside world. There are people in those prisons that would still take drugs, kill other inmates and carry on the same, many learn the "tricks of the trade" while still in prison, so when they leave they can commit more crimes - the 'proper' way. Therefore, through this, how prisoners only go in prison to become a part of the large criminal community located there, prison can only make people worse. A pressing matter regarding prisons is the health of those prisoners, if they would contract various deadly diseases and / or mental diseases. As there are many people concentrated together in such a space, diseases could spread through germs; diseases from dangerous activity can also be contracted, with being in a prison a temptation to partake in such activity like taking drugs or having homosexual sex (when men have sex), such as AIDS or STDs; the diseases like AIDS could also be contracted with male rape, done by the more 'forceful' prisoners.
Mental illnesses can also be 'contracted', developed whilst in prison due to the nature of the prison - having no contact of the outside world, no freedom, not knowing what is going on. There is more of a chance of becoming mental ill in the high security prisons, where everything is much more restricted and there is much time spent alone, especially when one is put into solitary confinement. This could not only make people worse but dead. As is seen in the last article regarding the woman who hung herself (EXT. RESP: ART#3), the effects of having one put into solitary confinement can be so devastating. Jessica Lee Roger had succeeded the fourth time she tried to commit suicide, with being alone in such an environment and already having mental problems leading her to her death.
Much controversy has come about from her case about solitary confinement, yet in general it is sad to see criminals go into prison, coming out not only worse but sometimes dead - so could going into prison make people any better? Prisons are not ever pleasant to be in and when serving a sentence in prison, each and every person who has been through a prison would remember it as a major life experience, of course negative. However it can be seen obviously that the experience of prison for some can be greatly life changing for the better for some people. Roger Dean Kiser Sr. and Jeri Becker from the previous articles used prison for repenting and thinking about themselves, about their actions and from this becoming great people with Becker becoming a known author and teacher, a famous example of how prison can change people.
Nevertheless prison can be hell for the large majority with criminals going into prison only to become worse people and better criminals, learning the tricks of the trade better. Some of those who go into prison become ill mentally or physically - some with diseases that will scar them for life both emotionally and physically, some would come out dead, such as is the case of Jessica Kelly Roger who committed suicide from her depression through solitary confinement. Ever still, the question remains - does prison really make people worse. Well the answer is yes, prison does make people worse, as it only betters those people who have the heart to become well easy; yet for the many hardened criminals, prison is just a place where they keep sinking and drowning further into crime. Another solution to prisons needs to be found or society will only suffer.