Do prisons actually rehabilitate criminals? The answer to that question is both yes and no. Being an ex-inmate myself, I can honestly say that prison saved my life. I was involved in a very volatile relationship; one that nearly killed me on more than one occasion. Between the drugs and beatings, I statistically should be dead. The night before my arrest, I had been choked so hard that I passed out on the kitchen floor.
When I woke up, I was shaking and crying uncontrollably and I remember screaming out to God to please take me out of this lifestyle before it was too late. By golly, He did just that because the very next morning there were two state troopers knocking at my door to arrest me.
The thought of jail certainly didn’t thrill me but on the other hand, it was a huge relief too. Once inside, I had many life changing decisions to make and the very first one was trust God. By making up my mind that I wanted to be rehabilitated, things started to rapidly change for the better. My health improved, I got much needed exercise and I actually ate 3 meals a day. I hadn’t done either one in at least 2 years.
The prison also offered many classes and opportunities to better myself but it was my choice to do it. The key to any type of rehabilitation, whether it be in prison or out, is something the individual has to decide for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to be in prison; it’s hard, it’s mean and it’s very lonely but you can make it what you want it to be.
Either choosing to take advantage of all the courses and classes the prison offers or you can choose to drown in self pity and sink into the lowest pit. I found it rather amusing that many inmates, and we are talking hardcore violent people, didn’t think that they deserved to be there. Personally, after hearing some of their crimes, I had to wonder why they weren’t in the loony bin but none-the-less, none of them were interested in rehabilitation because they didn’t think they did anything wrong to begin with.
Rehabilitation is a personal choice and nothing or no one can make that choice for you; not even prison. You can send someone to prison and they may come out worse than when they entered but it isn’t because the Prison doesn’t offer what they need to succeed. It is the inmate themselves who has to make the decision that they don’t want the life that led them there anymore. Yes, Prison can rehabilitate and No, it can’t; the choice is up to the inmate.