Not all felons come from broken homes. Some had a bad night, some are simply morbid, while others are only doing what they were taught. The circumstances which led each person to each crime is different. The picture must be painted with each case.

These kind of differences create logistical problems for rehabilitation. It becomes more of a mental health crisis. Which is delicate in and of itself. Many prisons do not allocate vast amounts of cash to pay for real mental health treatment. In fact it is common that there is only one Psychologist and usually less than five PA’s, which consult the one Psychologist (who is usually only reserved for patients with medication requirements).

This isn’t the states fault either. Its everyones fault. If society began to demand that state correction centers actually correct felons the prison system would look much different.

Sure, there is always going to be the individuals who do not want to be helped. For them, there is this place called maximum security, send them there. It is not like they are hard to spot. In fact, they stick out like sore thumbs. To be truthful, I have seen the effects of a corrections center shift its focus to realistic and creative rehabilitation.

What does creative rehabilitation look like? Its cost effective solutions to corrections. Oftentimes, prisons have limited space for large amounts of educational and programming use. This creates additional logistical problems. Creative rehabilitation means looking in places with fresh eyes.

Empower inmates to lead their own rehabilitation programs. This begins with finding those inmates who are already driven to succeed (were out there, we also stick out like sore thumbs…to everyone), working with them to create other programs that are cost effective. Programs like reading clubs (you would be shocked at what 35 men reading the same book and talking about it in a group setting can produce, I have personally cried with some of the toughest), yoga (yoga has real psychological effects, since mental health is limited, this is a FREE alternative that inmates can lead themselves.

There are so many options here, but the main focus needs to be in getting inmates to care about their own rehabilitation. Those that do are rare, those that WANT to care are not, they don’t believe its possible.

There are +17,500 inmates in Washington alone. 2/3 of them will commit another crime upon release ( that’s 11,666 new victims btw). Of those 11,666, if they get college education while in prison, they reduce their recidivism rates by an additional 30%. What’s 30% of 11,666 = 3,499. That means that there will be 3,499 less victims AND that means that 3,499 LESS people that YOU have to pay $20,000+ a year to incarcerate. What’s 3,499 x 20000? It is just shy of 70 million.

If you don’t care about creative rehabilitation now, just wait, I have more…

With Love
Jeff Utnage