Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rehabilitated: A Made-Up Word

Rehabilitation Officer: Ellis Boyd Redding: your file says you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?
Red: Rehabilitated?... Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.
Rehabilitation Officer: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society, to—
Red: I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?
Rehabilitation Officer: Well, are you?
Red: Cause not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here; or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that left. I gotta live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So go ahead and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.

I was having a conversation with my best friend about this topic and we were probably depressing ourselves talking about does prison really serve as a medium to rehabilitate its inmate. Sadly we came to the conclusion that none of these facilities used to house offenders are made for the purpose of rehabilitation. It is a made up word used to sound good in the ears of others who have taken no real stake in the justice system. It's an idea that has no real evidence to show for it. The rehabilitation idea is more like a scared straight experience. making a person feel so low about themselves and revoking their right to be human is their idea of rehabilitation.
Think about it...what happens in prisons just from even watching TV or movies? Or personal knowledge. You see a person walk in there. First they are stripped of their identity and authenticity. They no longer have a name unless some one calls them by their last name, When you look them up or call them, they are known as inmate XYZ. They are no longer known as Daniel, Rick, Diane, etc. They are nothing but a number. Then they do more to do that. They give you the first and last outfit that you will be able to wear for a period of time. So whatever style that you had before prison is over. Aside from a few tattoos or body marks, your wardrobe is that suit that they give you.
This has already been taken from you but they affirm they take your liberty by telling you how to conduct yourself and when to do this and that. They tell you when to use the bathroom, shower, eat, etc. This system is doing more to make you feel lower about yourself than they even probably expected. They are probably doing more to damage the psyche more than to reform it.
They are now letting you get a degree in prison. This is a great initiative! There are some people who see the error in their ways and want t come out of prison much better than the way they went in. They want to make something more of themselves than what they have become as this point in their lives. This is my issue though. The degree is good in principle. What about when they want to get a job even after acquiring these accreditation? They have to report as a former felon. They have to go through the awry details as to why they were incarcerated to a person looking over it who probably has no compassion or no belief that this person has made a change in their life. Also while they are out, they have to report to a parole officer who has to check on them still making them feel like a prisoner. They have to check in constantly for a period of time.
A lot of these past mistakes will be treated like the stain on your shirt that will never come off no matter how many times you wash it because no one wants to give you any detergent. Meaning  no one will give you what you need to make your life clean again even when you're trying to renew it. They won't expunge a record if they feel they don't have to. They won't give you a job. They won't do any of these things. Then when you get caught back up in the adverse behavior that landed you in a predicament they feel you haven't learned your lesson and treat you twice as bad.
The lesson is the justice system has done NOTHING to ensure that these people who are trying to make change will get a fair opportunity to be rehabilitated sending back into the same stuff that failed you. You'll never be rehabilitated in America...thank you for taking a look into My Thoughts...

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