Some Prisons Of The Future May Be Campuses Of Sorts
Obviously, this approach isn't for just anybody who gets sent to prison but there are some interesting ideas from the "Reset Foundation," an organization to create and fund what would be the first nonprofit edu-prison for adults. The piece, for NationSwell, was written by my friend David Wallis:
The proposed day and evening schedule of learning is not for slackers. Reset's candidates -- limited to men between the ages of 18 and 24, who are serving one- to three-year sentences for crimes not of a violent or sexual nature -- must demonstrate the "personal motivation to succeed." Life skills workshops, such as lessons on parenting and anger management, will start at eight in the morning, followed by two hours of literacy and basic math education. Students then take a career class to learn workplace skills like using computers or writing memos. Lunch might be served with a mentoring session. In the afternoons, students will tackle projects focused on the humanities or science. And the opportunities for education do not end in the evening. Students receive one-on-one therapy, addiction counseling (if needed) and join support groups. Upon release, graduates return to Reset for "ongoing support and check-ins."
Should a student flunk anger management, discreet security specialists --whom Wilson describes as "almost like bouncers" -- step in to diffuse conflicts. Reset has yet to determine whether security staff will be unionized. But Porter argues that a positive environment, "and how busy you are," are far more effective at maintaining calm than the threat of a baton to the gut.
Educating inmates has proved to be "the single most effective crime prevention measure," concluded a 2003 study published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change. The study tracked nearly 26,000 released prisoners in Texas; ex-cons who had received an education were significantly less likely to serve time again than those who had not taken classes while incarcerated.