At the end of 2016, an average of 2.2 million people were incarcerated in the United States. That’s 2.2 million people waking up on the same hard bed, eating the same old disgusting food, and having to live through the same routine every single day. The condition of a jail cell can tell a lot about how a prisoner is treated. In Norway, prisoners have access to televisions and don’t have bars on their so called cells. People living in Haiti’s prisons don’t have access to luxuries like that, instead they’re crammed into one little cell and are expected to live in rundown conditions. A correction facility is supposed to correct and rehabilitate those who do bad things, not torture them so I believe all prisoners should be treated like people, not animals just because they made a mistake. If every prisoner could live like Norways prisoners people would be a lot nicer, maybe even the guards would ease up, crime rates could be reduced and people could have help when it comes to something so important like mental health.
As mentioned earlier, Norway is a place with the lowest crime rate most likely due to how prisoners there are treated. Prisoners are given single bedrooms with no bars separating them from the rest of the population and they even get dvd players and music played for them. A prison’s job is to help one conform to the normal roles of society and to do that you need to insert positive energy instead of punishing someone. Most people in jails come from poverty stricken areas and if you give someone like that a nice bed to sleep on, an education and a well planned out meal, the person could get used to living like that so they won’t want to go back to their previous living conditions. In America many of the people in prisons didn’t get the proper life or education they deserved which is a reason why 35% of that population end up back in jail. If all prisons granted prisoners with basic human things and treated them like they were still a part of the society, things could start to look up for the U.S. Federal System.
Mental illness is something that is so huge today but is rarely talked about so imagine being an inmate and not being able to talk to a therapist or get the medication you need. An average of 2 million people with mental illnesses are jailed each year, most of them being non-violent so they’re forced to sit in a cell 20 hours of the day until it’s their turn for trial. Since it’s so hard to talk to people about this serious topic, people often get worse before they’re even offered help. Eighty-three percent of inmates in jail don’t get the help they need so when they’re released they often have a hard time finding a job, a house or even access to medicare which is a reason why people end up back in jail. Depression is one of the most popular disorders in jails and prisons and can take a serious toll on a person and people can’t even get help with that. Imagine not only having to fight with the ongoing thoughts in your head, but having to fight with other people just to get the help you need.
Phillip Zimabrdo is the name of a Psychologist who wanted to find out how people would behave when put into different social situations. So he came up with the Stanford Prison Experiment which involved 24 middle class men, separated into two group, 12 being guards and 12 being assigned to prisoners. Throughout the very short experiment, guards would assert dominance in every situation and the prisoners would obey them because thats what they were told to do and if they rebelled, the guards would become more aggressive. In the end, the 12 men portraying prisoners began to break down and couldn’t take it any longer. In this experiment people were dehumanized and stripped of their self worth which is just like a real prison. Real life prisoners are expected to obey orders given by the guards and negative repercussions are enforced if rules aren’t followed. A guard is given so much authority over one and this experiment goes to show that any body even if they’re good can act out in a bad manner.
I believe people in prisons and jails should be treated better because they’re still people and still need access to basic human things. Often times power is abused, living conditions are bad and peoples mental health deteriorates while in there which isn’t fair in any way. A prison is supposed to help someone get onto the right path, but because of all the factors and people not realizing that inmates are people, people often end up back in the same place, prison.