How can we reduce recidivism? The insiders know that one of the best ways to help subjects return to normal, law-abiding lives is to provide ample opportunities for rehabilitation.

I had the opportunity to sit down with one of Vant4ge’s experts the other day to discuss the power of a rehabilitative intent in corrections versus incarceration and punishment as an agent of change in an offender’s life.  Mark Pepper, or “Doctor Pepper” as he is known by his clients, is a trained professional therapist specializing in working with individuals struggling with mental health and/or drug and alcohol abuse. He has dedicated his career to helping people find a stable mindset to live by.  He personally opened and ran three different treatment centers, creating environments for healing to help expand the world of rehabilitation and help more people—so he would be able to help even more people than he could before. He also worked in eight other treatment centers, giving him a broad understanding of many different personalities, and more importantly, how those personalities respond to various treatments.  Working with so many different people makes him an expert in guiding thoughts on rehabilitative processes, programming, and environments to maximize the effectiveness of them.

When I sat down with Mark,  I asked him why he thinks states should legislate prisoner rehabilitation.  He started by explaining the main differences between incarceration and rehabilitation. He told me rehabilitation is restoring one to health or a more ‘normal’ life through therapy, incarceration, and/or treatment. Incarceration is simply being imprisoned. He responded by saying how much more people would benefit from rehabilitation than incarceration. As we continued discussing, he talked about how rehabilitation is the better option because it is statistically proven that rehabilitated subjects are less likely to return to prison than those going through incarceration. He said that about 60% of people who went through rehabilitation were less likely to go back to prison.  According to Timothy Murphy from Medium, “The most important justification for the right to rehabilitation should be grounded in the dignity of prisoners as citizens who have committed crimes and are worthy of restoration, redemption and rehabilitation.” (Murphy, Timothy) The goal of rehabilitation is to bring back humanity to prisons, because in the end, we are all human beings who deserve compassion

As our conversation started to wrap up, Mark Pepper told me about one of his subjects that he was working with. He talked about how hard it is for subjects that are just coming out of rehabilitation. Because when they are coming out of prison from serving their time,  people will still treat them like they haven’t served it, and will treat them like they don’t belong. But that isn’t the only struggle they have to deal with when they get out. Some of the people are completely shunned from their families and friends, and this by itself might cause people to go back to their old ways of living. They also have the job of setting an example for those who are coming into rehabilitation next, so they can have hope that they will be able to live a good life.

Murphy, Timothy, Nov 19, 2019, “Why States Should Legislate Prisoner Rehabilitation” Retrieved from Medium: https://medium.com/@lifersofamerica/why-states-should-legislate-prisoner-rehabilitation-bbf7102e2695

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