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Research Proposal

Butterfly Wings's picture


“What should be done in prison and outside of prison to rehabilitate incarcerated and/or formerly incarcerated people?” - Sheila Pinkel, in a reply to my comment on her invitation

The United States’ prison system is a living nightmare. Conditions are terrible, recidivism is through the roof, and the sheer number of people that get put through the prison system everyday is astounding. Despite containing 5% of the world’s humans, the US holds 20% of the world’s prison population. It is also true that there is an enormous stigma against prison population; as we read in Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”, part of this stems from the fact that our laws and the very basis of American government stem from the idea of people’s input, therefore criminals are seen as people who wish to hurt society as a whole and want to go against the common good. Because of this persistent ideology of bad intentions, the prison system as a whole works to PUNISH in the United States, rather than rehabilitate. This plays back into the recidivism rate, as incarcerated individuals are often unable to succeed legally upon any release. The case of rehabilitation, then, is incredibly important in its rarity. Rehabilitation would allow a greater number of incarcerated individuals to return to regular life. Knowing that rehabilitation is less effective in the US, based on recidivism rates, I am curious to learn exactly what is offered to people and how effective it is so I can consider further what might be done to reduce stigma and increase success after release. 


         A psychological perspective/opinon piece on whether or not rehabilitation in prison should be encouraged.
         A lawyer’s perspective on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (NY) proposed plans to bring down recidivism rates in New York.
         An article on the effectiveness of education in changing the recidivism rates of prison populations. Would tie into our discussion of whether prisoners should be able to receive Pell grants or not.


(Sorry for the delay!)