The main aim of imprisoning criminals has been to help them get rid of their anti-social behavior. However, research has shown that there is a high tendency for people to commit crimes after they have been released. As a result, many organizations have come up with suggestions on how the rate of reoffending can be reduced.
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It came to the attention of the authorities that people who were likely to commit crimes after being released from prisons, were those who could not secure employment due to lack of formal education. Consequently, programs were initiated to offer post primary education to prisoners as well as training on various jobs. However, some people have been skeptical about the effectiveness of the programs and their advantages.
The prisons department has introduced various courses which are aimed at providing practical skills to prisoners to enable them secure employment once they are released. In these initiatives, correction facilities have partnered with various institutions including industries, which offer opportunities for prisoners to put the skills gained into practice (Clear, Cole & Reisig, 2008).
Prison training is tailored towards offering technical skills that are as close to job demand as possible. In addition, the training is supposed to equip the prisoners with employment skills and at the same time provide them with formal qualifications. The type of training offered include: light engineering, textiles, joinery, building and construction, printing, electrical assembly and catering and laundry.
Though these programs have encountered negative arguments from critics, they have proved to be beneficial to the society. To begin with, the programs have in place mental health courses for prisoners. The courses have helped many prisoners adapt to social life because they get enough training in preparation for life after prison.
On the same note, lack of formal education in many prisoners makes them unable to secure employment hence resulting to commission of crime again (Skapinker, 2012). Job training therefore enables the prisoners to get employed thus reducing the chances of ex-prisoners going back to crime.
Moreover, job training for prisoners usually provides practical skills to enable them start their own businesses. Consequently, the prisoners become self dependent thus preventing them from becoming social burdens. Similarly, since the programs partner with local organizations, prisoners have somewhere to work immediately they are released (Chen, 2011).
Research has shown that crimes are committed by the same people mostly. As a result, empowering prisoners with life sustaining skill will reduce crime prevalence. So far, prisoners who have been trained are less likely to commit crimes again.
According to Skapinker (2012), “only 10 per cent of the alumni reoffend within a year of release, compared with the usual recidivism rate of nearly half “(par 3). Notably, when prisoners are trained they end up working or starting their own business. Consequently, these people will be able to contribute significantly to economic growth.
On the other hand, there are those who have criticized these programs based on different reasons. Firstly, it has been argued that organizations partnering with the government in offering prison training usually take advantage of the prisoners.
The organizations are said to pay prisoners a fraction of the minimum wage rate. On the same note, some people have complained about being sacked from duties because their employers prefer employing prisoners (Clear et al., 2008). Furthermore, even after training, some prisoners still go back to crime after they have been released.
Critics have therefore raised questions concerning the effectiveness of the whole process. Moreover, the affair is very costly to the government yet it is about training criminals. Similarly, the payments that the prisoners receive from their employment cannot be enough to pay for their training, thus leaving the responsibility to the state. There are other important government issues that need to be attended to.
Contrary to what others may be spreading that training prisoners is not effective, this programs have proved to be very effective. The rate of reoffending among trained prisoners has highly reduced, as compared to times when training was not incorporated into correctional programs. Unfortunately, the programs are not spread because of the high costs involved in rolling out the program.
Chen (2011) depicts that, “tight budgets could make it awkward for lawmakers to propose advantages to prisoners in public discussion forums” (par 11). On the same note, not many organizations are ready to partner and support the programs because they want to protect their reputation. However, prisoners have positively reacted to the program and research shows that many prisoners like working.
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Given the current economic state and the rising rate of unemployment, equipping prisoners with skills that makes them dependent on formal employment may not be very effective. As a result, giving the prisoners practical skills that enables them to become self employed will go a long way in ensuring that the prisoners become economically dependent, when they are released (Clear et al., 2008).
Consequently, it is prudent that correction facilities focus more on empowering prisoners to become self reliant through more practical lessons.
Chen, G. (2011, May 19). Sending Prisoners Back to School? A New IHEP Study Says Yes. Community College Review. Retrieved from https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/sending-prisoners-back-to-school-a-new-ihep-study-says-yes
Clear, T. R., Cole, G. F., & Reisig, M. D. (2008). American Corrections. Stanford: Cengage Learning.
Skapinker, M. (2012, September 12). The Pros and Cons of Employing Prisoners. Financial Times. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/507ec196-fbf9-11e1-aef9-00144feabdc0#axzz2BDzeyGS4