Treatment and Programing Inside Prisons Today



Prisoners usually stay inside prisons for usually a long period of time, and it can be easy to go insane. Surely there are some people who need help in prison, rather than just sitting inside a jail cell wasting away their lives. Throughout the years, research found that treatment and other programing is helping the prisoners not only learn a thing or two, but to also help break the lifestyle they are in and become a productive member of society. Institutional programing is providing success to prison life too, there is a lesser chance of conflict due to prisoners being busy. There are many treatment programs, drug treatment, fire fighting, and auto body, to name a few. 

In the late 90s to early 2000s, the cause of prisons becoming overcrowded was drug abuse. Years later, prisons are looking for ways to keep inmates out of prison and away from these powerful drugs that can ruin their lives. Combating the drug problem will last after the inmate leaves prison, effectively showing the offender how they can live without using drugs. In San Diego, there was a study with around 480 inmates taking part. Three years later “only 27 percent of the prisoners involved the prison's drug treatment program with aftercare returned to prison, compared to a recidivism rate of 75 percent for those not involved in the treatment program.”(Inmate Drug Abuse Treatment Slows Prison's Revolving Door) 

In addition, the Federal Bureau of Prisons emphasize “Drug treatment studies for in-prison populations find that when programs are well-designed, carefully implemented, and utilize effective practices they: reduce relapse, reduce criminality, reduce recidivism, reduce inmate misconduct, increase the level of the offender’s stake in societal norms, increase levels of education and employment upon return to the community, improve health and mental health symptoms and conditions, improve relationships.”(Federal Bureau of Prisons)The FBP states qualifications to be in this treatment is to “have short sentences: may not meet the criteria for the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), are awaiting RDAP, are transitioning to the community and, to have had a positive urinalysis test.”(Federal Bureau of Prisons) The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ main goal is to make sure these inmates do not fall into the same path, doing drugs and ending up in prison. 

Another effective program within the prison is fire fighting. The prison will teach the inmate essentially how to be a firefighter and how to effectively put out and control fires, especially wildfires in some states. In Western states, especially California, they are effectively teaching their inmates to fight wildfires. According to ABC 10 news, “The crews can respond to incidents like wildfires, floods, and search and rescue.” Inmates will learn to both work in wildfires, floods, and also search and rescue. Not all inmates are eligible, one must either be on good behavior and have “non-violent behavior”. (ABC 10 News) There are over 3,000 inmate firefighters with a little over 2,000 fire line certified. These inmate firefighters average about 3 million emergency hours per year. The inmate can earn between 2.90 and 5.12 through the prison with the possibility of an extra dollar by the Cal Fire. 

On the other hand, states across the country, including California and Massachusetts, are trying to partner with trade schools. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCP) there are 500 inmates enrolled in the automotive programs. “Eighteen of the adult institutions in the state offer automotive programs; 14 of them in auto body repair and 15 in auto mechanics, and the majority offer both.”(Inmates Being Trained as Auto Body Technicians Across Nation) Classes are offered 5 days a week, about 5 and a half hours long. These classes perform just like a trade school class, there are lectures, textbook learning, and also hands-on learning. Inmates with a felony conviction can find a job in this field. This program is an important program in the prison setting because instead of commiting crimes, inmates can find out what they enjoy doing and pursue that specific path they want to be in, whether it is “painters, body workers and mechanics.” (Inmates Being Trained as Auto Body Technicians Across Nation)

In conclusion, treatments and programs are important to prison life, and changing the way the typical inmate thinks. Changing how an inmate thinks will change his lifestyle, hopefully providing them with a more successful life, with no prison. Ways prisons can help are by providing treatment and other programs, such as drug treatment to get them free of being addicted and needing drugs 24/7, firefighting , and auto body so they can find something they have a liking for and hopefully make a career out of it.