Made up of detention facilities like jails or prisons, probation, and parole, the “corrections” system in the United States may actually do more harm than good. Extensive study of the corrections system has found that once someone is entangled in it, their likelihood of being arrested and detained by the system again dramatically increases. If the primary goal of corrections is to keep our communities safe and cultivate improved civic behaviors, why do we rely on methods that produce such poor results? Communities throughout the United States routinely incarcerate people who need help for their mental health and addictions, and those rates are increasing.
Today, we have the capacity and intelligence to implement proven interventions that actually correct the behaviors of populations in detention, and that successfully interrupt cycles of crime. We must create and support programs that turn our costly and often ineffective incarceration system into a true corrections system that addresses the health needs of adults in custody, yields improved civic behavior, and reduces rates of reoffending. And we must recognize that the removal of liberty is itself a serious punishment in the Land of Liberty.
- Universalize access to quality education and vocational training in outcomes-focused correctional settings
- Provide continuity of quality health care
- End the use of prolonged solitary confinement