After finding myself in the depths of youtube like many do, I stumbled across prison documentaries and the gangs that form within prisons.
In particular I saw a link on my page about a documentary made by the National Geographic with the dramatic heading Extreme Prison Gangs. This sparked immediate interest within myself and I began to watch what I expected to be an exciting and scary portrayal of life in prison.
40 minutes later I found myself thinking about life in prison, the people behind bars and the complete change of lifestyle one must prepare themselves for. A particular comment that stood out for me the most was how people go to prison for criminal acts and may deserve to be there, however recent statistics show that 60 percent of convicted adults will return to prison within 15 years of being released. The figure being even more dramatic with jueveniles with an immense 80 percent.
This figure so high made me immediately doubt the reliability of the source and after further research found that this is true with most prisons across the US and Australia, give or take a few. In particular the US has such a high return rate of re-offending criminals, and it’s surprising more work hasn’t gone into re-evaluating the system. This got me thinking about our legal system and how mum is always telling me that the way the law is set up at the moment, we are all being made criminals in regards to how easy it is to be fined these days, especially if you own a car, i.e speeding fines, parking violations etc.
The documentary and many others that I continued to watch discussed life in prison and how those that go in for relatively minor offences are forced to succumb to the rough way of life in order to protect themselves from the brutality that can occur. You may have gone in for a non violent offence, however to live in a corrupt world, you must learn to be corrupt yourself. You no longer live by the rules you grew up with out in the community. Now you live by prison rules where every day you must be cautious of who you offend or get in the way of because you don’t just get told off, you are stabbed or beaten to be shown where you stand within this community.
I don’t question the ability of our legal system and their ability to keep our streets relatively safe in regards to taking criminals off the street and protecting out families, however, I do believe that the rehabilitation process within prisons needs to be worked on as the clear statistics show that something is not working and the return rate of criminals is way too high.