Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am a supporter of the prison abolition movement. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate. There is vast racial and class disparity within this system and prisons have failed to provide anything rehabilitative to these individuals. There are countless individuals who have committed non-violent crimes who are separated from their families, languish without any skills, are put in settings where violence is actually promoted, not discouraged. We find many situations where a young, poor person will be sent to lengthy time in prisons, whereas those with the resources to hire extensive (and expensive) legal representation are not sent to prison. Many residential 'treatment' centers for juvenile offenders can be seen in the same way, they are not always rehabilitative but rather seek the young persons conformity. The efficacy of such programs are questionable and there have been countless documented abuses in these facilities, not to mention that many of these young persons are typically disadvantaged. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, in 2002 alone, states and the federal government spent more than $4.2 billion on residential treatment for children and youth with less than stellar outcomes. Program evaluations showed a very low rate of success for residential 'treatment' programs.
The disadvantaged are always the ones who are more likely to be psychiatrically drugged for reasons of social control and who are typically oppressed. I believe that we can find a more rehabilitative and restorative model of justice, and that we must focus our efforts on community based alternatives. In addition, if we focused more time and energy on the roots of crime, which largely is a social justice issue, and we transformed ourselves and how our society operates, particularly in regards to the disadvantaged, we would see a vast decline in crime. But as people feel hopeless and desparate, the chances of their entering into criminal actions for 'survival' remains high. When persons are released from prison, they are often set up for failure, as who wants to hire a convict? Thus, a cycle is started, and thr ruling class benefits, because these days the prison system has become a for profit industry. We must come to a greater sense of equality, fairness, and then it may be that what we term 'justice' may really arise.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

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