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September 12, 1967 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-09-12

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Prisons Update Programs


with a rapidly growing criminal
population and increasing crime
cost, America's prison officials are
experimenting with new programs
and modernizing century-old tech-
niques in an effort to rehabilitate
the offender.
Many have worked. With fail-
ures, penologists just try again.
Past Attempts ,
Some examples:
--Several daytime employes of
the United States Department of
Justice in Washington, D.C., spend
nights and weekend in custody,
completing sentences.
-In Danbury, Conn., companies
train prisoners in highly special-
ized electronics-and then move
them immediately into their plants
even while they're serving sen-
--General Electric Co. has pro-
vided instructors and computers
;o the federal penitentiary in At-
Lanta, Ga., for a data processing
class-and hires those who pass.
These are some methods pen-
Dologists are experimenting with
to try to solve the problem of
criminal rehabilitation. It is a
never-ending, though always-
changing battle.
The aim, of couse, is to keep
released offenders from returning
to jail.
About 95 per cent of offenders
in the United States are male,
most between the ages of 15 and
30. More than half have never fin-
ished high school and also lack
vocational skills.
Key Education
Thus the heart of the new pen-
Dlogy-the effort to shift correc-
tions from revenge and restraint
1o rehabilitation and reintegra-
tion into society-is first-class ed-
ucation and development of skills.
But that's not all. The com-
plicated process, modern penolo-
gists have learned, also includes
help from psychiatrists, ministers,
social workers, businessmen-and
aceptance froni the community,.
because that. is where the ex-con-
vict must live like others or re-
turn to prison.
"Many inmates are in need of
general medical and surgical
treatment upon arrival or during
the course of their commitment,"
reports California's Department of
Dorrections, which runs one of the
most progressive programs in the
How do you cure the criminal
and reshape him as a useful mem-
ber of society?
New techniques include ideas
advanced as long ago as 100 years
and just now getting attention,
such as prerelease of halfway-out
residences and work release; in-
mates go out to work, return to
jail to sleep.

Conservation camps and other
minimum security facilities re-
place walled prisons.
Criminologists agree on one
thing: no longer can prisons sim-
ply free a man with a prayer, a
new suit and $10.
But the new criminology, ac-
cording to adherents, doesn't mean
coddling prisoners; rather it
means coddling society, because
society is the big gainer if the pro-
jects work.
It means rehabilitating inmates,
training them for useful lives and
jobs, eliminating harsh punish-
ment. It means breaking down the'
impact of the high walls and iron
oars: .
Less Confinement
Richard A. McGee, recently re-
tired administrator of California's
Youth and Adult Corrections De-
partment, says: "One of the clear-
est changes is depending less, on
long' periods of confinement, ex-
cepting cases of life imprison-
Alexander looks at it this way:
"Instead of just dumping offend-
ers out we are experimenting with
new- kinds of carefully controlled,
supervised, vigorously watched re-
lease to the community."
This gradual release, he says,
means the inmates are injected

Keeping the nation's prisons
operating is expensive. It costs
about $7 a day to keep a person in
prison. Based on the present daily
prison population of around 430.
000, this means Americans are
spending $3 million every 24 hours,
or about $1 billion a year.
Th annual cost of crime in the
United States is $27 billion-and
On an average day, the 50 states
and the federal government handle
nearly 1.3 million offenders, of
whom one-third are in institu-
tions. Not counted in these figures
may be another million held daily
in local jails for drunkenness and
disorderly conduct,
By 1967 it is estimated the daily
corrections population will be
1,841,000. Juvenile offenders to-
day total 360,000 and this is ex-
pected to climb to 588,000 in eight
America has some 400 adult
prisons, 61 built before 1900. Juve-
niles are held in 325 institutions.
Probation Problems
Last year, more than half the
nation's convicts were released on
probation. Some penologists say
half is not enough; but almost all
agree the chief trouble with pro-
bation is lack of supervisory pro-


You Know


What They're GingTo
0-- Ij~l inesNext?


back into society via community bation officers to handle those re-
and guidance centers staffed by leased.
proper supervision with training Before many convicts are pa-
in the "new penology." roled they are subjected to a new
California Example modification of an old practice
C-11r-A xa pl "4rVr zno~c _m~~v

California - the nations most
populous state-today has one-
.fifth of its total prison population
n minimum security facilities.
M. C. Koblentz, Ohio's commis-
sioner on. corrections, sees the
trend toward specialized facilities:
for the emotionally disturbed, for,
the sex-offender, for training cen-
ters, work schools and camps.
But notmatter how you look at
it, statistics worild. seem to bear
out contentions that prisons have
been unsuccessful in achieving
their main goal-preventing crime
Two-thirds of the state prison
inmates are former convicts and
ane-third of those sentenced by
federal judges return to prison.

galled "work release -meaning
simply getting a prisoner a job
before he is freed.
Many prisons are offering col-
lege training to inmates by enlist-
ing faculties from nearby univer-
sities. High school diplomas are
But normatter how good the in-
prison program, what a convict
needs most is work when he's
-ut. Joblessness usuallybreeds
Companies, unions and individ-
uals are gradually overcoming
hostile attitudes about ex-convicts.
Even the federal government, tra-
ditionally barring offenders, shift-
ed its policy a year ago. Some ex-
convicts now can even be bonded.

Nobody knows for sure.
But you'll know as soon as
anybody when you read the
fashion pages of this news-
The big stories from every-
where are here: Broadway's
newest leading lady; the lat-
est from Washington; the
fads that are sweeping col-
lege campuses; success stor-
ies from Wall Street; and the
news about the newest auto-
mobile safety device; the
sports hero of the hour, and
the cost of a college diploma.
How do we do it every day?
With our own fine staff of
reporters right here, and The
Associated Press everywhere
else in the world.

TUESDAY, September 12, 12:00 Noon
U.M. International Center
Subject: j
"Some Contributions of Western Christianity
To The African Revolution"
SPEAKER: Mr. Solomon Gwei (Comeroon)
Graduate Student in Higher Education


For reservations,
call 662-5529

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