Why do guys go back to prison?

I have read posts about this, and have been asked this more than once, and it is indeed a strange question. If prison is so bad, why to guys keep going back. Or, it also opens some venues to think that maybe the prison system isn’t tough enough. Maybe criminals NEED to bust rocks and eat bread and drink water.

Isn’t that what some of you think?

If you think about it, there may be some logic to it. If prison is supposed to be the punishment, then the act of punishing should deter a person from wanting to go BACK to prison. But if people keep going BACK to prison, then is prison really doing their job?

It almost lends to some idea that maybe the punishment does NOT fit the crime, and maybe it almost rewards the person for breaking the law. So if a guy breaks the law, does his time and then breaks the law again, then society loses because the person does not “learn their lesson”.

Is that how you see it?

I got about 3 emails about this in the last week, from people who are trying to understand this. As a guy that has been in prison, I can now see both sides of the prison story. If you have never been to jail or prison, or have never been in any legal trouble in your life, nor KNOW anyone in jail or prison, it might be pretty easy to see this as a one-sided issue:

“Once a criminal, always a criminal”.

This is why courts are getting tougher on repeat offenders, and sending them to prison for longer sentences when they break the law. But what does it really solve, if you think about it? Every person must pay taxes to support that person who is in prison, whether you like it or not. Consider how much you pay for an inmate through the course of a year. If I remember correctly, each inmate in NC (where I was incarcerated) cost tax payers about $30,000 a year. I know those numbers might have changed, but you get the idea.

Imagine how much it will cost for the state to “care” for an inmate doing life.

Now imagine about 1000 such inmates…or more.

You see, there are different venues to look at this, from the inmate’s view, from the worried loved one outside the prison’s view, and the person completely outside the box.

Or, to put it another way, the hot, cold and luke warm sides. I want to try to go over this, using only what I experienced and what I have seen. The reason why I am doing this is to make my very small attempt to chime in on an old debate, one that is never going to change.

So then let’s talk about why it guys keep going back to prison or jail. Now I am sure some professor from a university can probably add more to this, but let’s try to keep it within the normal reasoning. I said earlier that this can be seen as “cold, hot or luke warm. Let’s identify the positions:

Hot: this is describing the inmate himself, the one who has been in prison and jail, and probably more than once. He or she is the true center of the debate, of which everything else revolves around.

Luke warm: This is the middle, which is where a lot of you fit in. Moms of inmates, wives of inmates, girlfriends of inmates, pen pals of inmates, you get the idea. The situation involves you because you know someone that is in prison, or HAS been in prison and got back in trouble. This is the group that can understand a bit of the problems of an inmate, but still wonder why a person would give up his freedom to go back to prison.

Cold: This is the group of people that have little to no sympathy for those in prison. Note here, I am not saying that these are all people that say, “send the criminals to hell”, I am saying that these are people who don’t fully understand the life of an inmate and the difficulties that might have led to that person going to jail, doing time and repeating the problem.

On this blog, the easiest for me to talk about is the “cold” group. This is because, for the most part, they don’t (or won’t) look at how a prison is really supposed to work. You punish a person for doing wrong, so they won’t do it again…but it goes further than that. You must also show that person a BETTER way, else you have done nothing but delay that person from doing wrong again. Read more from Prison Place

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