Inside the Criminal Mind

Understanding the dark side of human conduct

Do Prisons Really Make Offenders Worse?

Prison have long been described as "schools for crime" or "breeding grounds for crime." The central idea is that incarcerating offenders makes them worse because they learn new "tricks of the trade." There is an inevitability to the perception that if you land in prison, you will turn into an even more corrupt or violent person when you leave. Read More

You become like the people

You become like the people that you spend the most time with. What else could be the possible outcome with a prison?

answer to the question

i have known many people who went to prison for the first time and many times after. From my personal experience with that i must say there is no rehabilitation in prisons's vocabulary. First of all, most who goes in for a stupid mistake comes out with an attitude 10x worse than what they originally had. These institutions offer no help. Lets just say if a car thief goes in amd it's their first offense they are housed with murderers,rapists,gangbangers and ect.. what do people think the results would be when a first-time offender goes in? That they come out all better? Well, from experience that doesn't happen!! What they need to do is segregate the prisons by crime and classification and then counseling, maybe some education. then once they try that, they (the public) would most likely see a dramatic decrease in crime all together...

To solve the criminal problem....

To solve the criminal problem we take criminals, put them in a tight confined space with hundreds/thousands of other angry criminals, we make them stay there for several years, we leave them idle without much to do, and then expect them to behave when they get out. I don't know who thought up this plan but, just to let you know, it doesn't work. Though, it certainly does make the tax payer feel really good and superior.

Effects of Prison

I am not in any sense an apologist for the horrendous conditions in some prisons. And certainly there are numerous temptations when a person is crammed into a tight space with other inmates. My point is that, even in oppressive environments, people still make choices as to how they deal with those environments. I am by no means alone in making this observation. Consider other conditions of forced confinement and terrible mistreatment such as the Nazi concentration camps. The human spirit still shone in terms of how people behaved toward one another. Offenders in U.S. prisons are capable of becoming responsible human beings. And having the door of prison slam behind them, for some, is a catalyst for change.

They honestly are capable of

They honestly are capable of making responsible choices, if give an honest chance to do so. Prisons in the US are socially isolating, emotionally degrading and directly aimed at increasing the popualtion they house. The programs they use are nothing more than brainwashing and geared toward return trips for any and all inmates. Just consider the program used by one western state, inmates are told that anger is a choice, and that they and only they are capable of making that choice. The inmates are not given any options about what else they could choose, that would be helping them get out of the system. Inmates are emotionally abused until they give the counselors something to put in their files, thenm that information is used to punish them for years. How could anyone believe that the fourth largest industry in the nation is willing to let itself be downsized by something as simple as helping people?

Pardon me but I disagree

First of all the only comaprison that can be made between the Nazi concentration camps and US prisons is they way those in charge treated the prisoners. That has been proven by Phillip Zimbardo and Stanely Milligram.
I think you have to go a little deeper to see, that these are overcrowded warehouses that only take person's time.They don't rehabilitate people. People are subjected to punishment on top of the punishment of being there, by the way of controlling guards. The person serves their time gets out and then has to report on every job application or anything else for that matter they were convicted of a felony. In the social order of the prison a person may have had respect(this becomes a secondary reinforcer in classical conditioning)and that factor is not taken into consideration, they are put out on the streets at the bottom of the social ladder. The average person is in poverty no matter what intention of staying out of trouble they are going to gravitate to the peer group where they feel they get respect;which is the group on their way in or out,and this I believe is where residivsm happens. The problem is poverty.
I think you should in the name of science and understanding;since you claim to be an expert,go spend a week as a prisoner cut off from your family friends and privelged life. Just a week and you will see how useless it is to put non violent offenders in prisons for years at a time.Don't worry you'll have your big pile of money waiting for you but then try to imagine not having those resources when you get out. Then you will have some understanding of the real problem and the material for another book I am sure.

Pardon me but I disagree

The subject of who belongs in prison is another issue entirely. The writer of the comment seems to believe that, invariably, nonviolent offenders will turn violent and live violent lives. My studies have not confirmed the inevitability of this.

you obviously buy the

you obviously buy the official bait, hook, line and sinker.

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Stanton Samenow, Ph.D.,is a clinical psychologist practicing in Alexandria, Virginia and author of Inside the Criminal Mind.

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