We need to compare our jail system to what is being done successfully in other countries to see why we fail to change a bad person’s ways. In Germany the main objective is rehabilitation not retribution. Germany spends less money on prisons but gets better results. Criminals are not repeat offenders there. We need to cut costs and change our criminal’s ways. We could learn from Germany. In Germany convicted murderers incarcerated for a contract killing, one of the worst crimes, are allowed to spend time out of jail to have a day and dinner with their family. This guy shot a man in cold blood. It doesn’t look much like punishment but it is part of his sentence to rehabilitate and function in society.
After 15 years in prison he is now allowed a weekend out for good behavior. He is on track for an early release. 75% of criminals in Germany who have life sentences are eligible for parole in 20 years or less. As long as he doesn’t consider doing any crimes anymore they can leave prison. The German logic is to reintegrate someone back into society and train them to peruse a new career. Is this punishment for taking someone else’s life?
America seeks to punish. So all we are left is, is a population of angry criminals. They believe that the loss of freedom is punishment enough. So, life in prison in Germany mirrors life out of prison as much as possible. The Germans call it normalization. It begins with small prison populations located everywhere. Prison is reserved for the worst of the worst. In their worst prisons it is quiet and peaceful. The inmates relax and walk freely around in the building. They do not have bars on their cells but doors for privacy. A guy serving seven years in jail for cocaine trafficking has video games and lots of personal items in his cell. Items that would be searched for and confiscated here.
Following World War II the German people followed a new philosophy; there is no death penalty. There will be rehabilitation and new careers developed. It is a system that is working there. We need to change our ways of simply putting angry people behind bars in solitary confinement. We are thinking humans not animals. We need to foster humility and care for people especially in our prisons.