Friday, July 4, 2014
Another reader asked what programs were available to inmates that would prepare them for re-entry. The answer would depend on the definition and measurement of “programs” and the term “prepare for re-entry.” A prison that confines 1,000 people may reserve a room and fill it with 5,000 books. It calls that room a library, though it lacks Internet access. Prison administrators call that library a “re-entry” program. Prisons may require inmates to work on jobs like mopping floors or cleaning toilets. It calls those work programs “re-entry programs.” It may reserve a room and call it a classroom, then hire prison guards to teach. It calls those rooms re-entry programs.
I found the culture of confinement to be much more influential than programs offered. Many volunteers from society enter prisons to offer programs that could help people inside prepare for success. Yet the culture of confinement is fundamentally at odds with personal growth. Administrators could influence a better outcome, but they are not incentivized to solve the problem of recidivism. So they don’t care about it.
The reality is that self-directed individuals will find ways to benefit from good programs. When good programs aren’t available in prison, the motivated individual will find or create his own. I certainly did. But the culture of confinement discourages inmates from participating. I wrote about that phenomenon in my book Inside: Life Behind Bars in America.
Days since my release from prison: 326
Miles that I ran today: 13.3
Miles that I ran so far this week: 48.76
Miles that I’ve run during the month of July: 29.69
Miles that I ran so far in 2014: 1,388.63
Miles that I need to run in order to reach my annual goal of 2,400 miles: 1,011.37
Miles I’m ahead of schedule to reach my 2,400-mile goal by the end of 2014: 166.61
My weight for today: 167