Friday, December 31, 2010

Prison, The School of Change

Going in One way, Coming out Another
By Patrick Dunleavy

With the ushering in of the New Year comes the desire for change. Many will make personal resolutions for change, to either break an old habit or commit to a more positive form of behavior, such as spending more time with family or a getting involved in a charitable endeavor. This desire for something new is innate within us and many have sought to use this for success. In 2008 Barack Obama ran on a platform of change and won. He was not the first politician to do this nor, I dare say, will he be the last.

There is in society, however, a place where change is not always for the better: prisons.
Jail is often a place, like Dante’s allegory of Hades, where the residents who live there interact with each other in different ways and for different purposes. The official goal is confinement or removal from society. The desired goal is rehabilitation. The reality is neither.

Prison can provide a wealth of knowledge and enlightenment. Where else can a two-bit burglar learn to become an international jewel thief, or a purse snatcher grow into a weapons procurement financier?

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