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mark johnson

CEO Life To The Brim, Inc, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Retired

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Do we Ignore incarcerated men, women and juveniles or help Restore them back into community?

I am recent retired Department of Justice employee (Federal Bureau of Prisons)and Dream Coach. Part of my life's purpose is to Inspire, Impact, Empower and help Transfrom those in the space I occupy. Understanding that rehabilitation does not happen just by incarcerating a person, but actually takes place when the individual recognizes the need to change from the inside.

The likelihood of this happening is when (society) the institution create and provide programs for the inmate to participate in while incarcerated. Is such an idea grandiose? And if not what type of programs would cost effective and cognitively meaninful?


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  • May 23 2012: Are resources limited or unlimited? Do we expend those resources on those who have a history of making the most of their opportunities or on those who have responded to difficulties with anti-social behavior. Do we reward success or failure? Empowering which group better serves society? Harsh as it may seem, I think society is better served by supporting the successful. This doesn't prevent me from empathizing with the less successful, but as a societal choice, we have to make the choices which lead to the greatest good for the greatest number. It is inspiring that there are individuals who make the choice to serve the less fortunate, but I don't think it's the best choice for a society to make.
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      May 28 2012: That is all good and fine... except we greatly effect the success and failure of those incarcerated. Until we implement policy that is guided by what works we will continue to follow policy that favors a secondary agenda. an agenda that favors failure of those incarcerated.
      • May 28 2012: I completely agree with you. It's the "all good and fine" part that troubles me. Is it better for "society" to divert resources away from the best and brightest and toward the failed and incarcerated? It seems to me that the logic of that leads to a society which is dominated by an effort to cater to the lowest common denominator. How do you tell someone who has followed all the rules, has worked hard, made the best of the limited opportunities that they've had, that they can't go to college because you want to attempt to rehabilitate someone has a proven history of failure and that you want to do so through a system which has yet to be devised, implemented and proven. It's difficult for me to see that as being the most beneficial choice for a society to make.

        If changes are to be made in the penal system, and I sincerely hope they are, they need to begin with an attitudinal paradigm shift within the existing system, not spending more money on a system which is manifestly unsuccessful. That would deal with what I think you correctly perceive as a "secondary agenda". It needs to begin with real science and with an unblinking eye toward who is really capable of being rehabilitated and who isn't, what works and what doesn't, and is the cost justified.

        I'd probably agree with you on a case by case, but policy cannot be made on an individual basis The macro is often in opposition to the micro. I invite those who feel that strongly about this issue to "adopt" a prisoner and fund that individual's rehabilitation. I am not less sympathetic than you, I am simply sympathetic along an alternate path.
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          May 28 2012: There is good science that supports what works... it is called "What Works"... early in the 70s Palmer responded to what Martinsen said that "Nothing Works" so Palmer set out to inf=vestigate that, and as Martinsen was actually qualifying from his research the question was "What works" Palmer worked toward andswering that and with the research of Palmer Cullin Gendreau Andrews and Bonta and many others they discovered "What Works" it is based on the Principle of Effective Intervention, (POEI) this measure the offender based on the Risk Need Responsivity Or the Levels of Service Inventory- Revised (LSI-R). With this measure we can address specifically the areas that are driving the criminogenic behavior. This is done by a program that can be measured for effectiveness using the Correctional Program Assesment Inentory (CPAI)...

          We know this but we do not implement this because it is not backed by the money that backs the lobbiest and the political agenda that backs the system as it is... This program shows a marked success, it is not what any one "Beleives" it is based on years of indepth research by scholars... Google any of the names I mentioned and you will get an idea of how this works...

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