2.1. The moral correction system adopted by Warden Burl Cain in Louisiana’s Angola prison can be used as a basis of the Evangelical Christian (Baptist) religion’s implementation in the prison programs. The program is statistically effective, as the inmates upon release show a much better conduct and feel of rehabilitation than other programs. Before it was implemented, the Angola prison was considered to have the most violent conduct in the south. As crime rates got higher and higher, slowly effective concepts like Cain’s became the need of the hour (Ridgeway, 2011) He took this concept and applied it to the most brutal prison in the area and achieved commendable results. But, as the case of the essence of the Baptist practices, he believes in the use of force and literal extracts from bible to use as a primary weapon to deal with criminals. Following are the pros and cons of the implementation of this system:
- Effective system that yields results.
- Minimum physical torture.
- Induces a sense of forced respect of law into the criminal mind.
- Change of scenery into a friendlier and cleaner environment allows the inmates to think they aren’t neglected
- Christian beliefs and concept of afterlife can be used to force people to behave.
- May not be practical in all cases.
- Involves use of force
- Recidivism cases might arise due to forceful handling
- Careful attention and mentoring program is needed.
- Religion might be used to justify crimes (Peters, 2013).
2.2. The claim in the video from the Heritage foundation form the basis of what Evangelical Christian system’s protagonists claim as their primary strength. It claims that through the implementation of such Baptist system from the start of a person’s grooming and training, such heroes that are depicted in the book can rise from the community and commit acts of valor instead of doing petty crimes and being in jails. This concept can be implemented in the case of rehabilitation of inmates in a prison facility as well. By helping in their reconnection with religion, social and moral values can be taught to them. The moral values once instilled, are carried by them wherever they go. There are countless cases of heroism in the battlefield where the soldiers had to fulfill their vows and they did so without any thought of the consequences. Reduced Recidivism and rehabilitation go side by side. If a person is a serial offender, he is not feeling wrong about anything or he is doing it because he was punished harshly because of his opening act. Both cases can be managed with the Baptist approach as it focuses on humane principles and only necessary correction. There is plenty of solid evidence to support this claim. The affectionate stories from battlefield are one, so is the story of the success of Angola prison run by Warden Cain.
2.2.1. Some real limitations to the programs like Men of Valor and The Heritage Foundation were suggested by the Dr. Clear and Dr. Dennis (“Men of Valor”) I don’t think there can be limitations if the program is successfully implemented. It has ambitious targets of rehabilitation and connecting to God which may seem a little too good to be true but the program has seen success in the hopeless cases of prison inmates who were convicted of the most terrible crimes. If they can become functional citizens by the Heritage Foundation and Baptism, then anyone in the society can. True, many people resist in following it to the letter but it is the best we have.
2.2.2. It is true that right wing non-profit organizations like The Heritage foundation and MOV are working with the private prison authority called Correction Corporation of America which is the largest private stakeholder in prison facilities in America. It even has offices alongside the CCA’s. This could be an attempt to privatize the prison correction systems in the country by involving one of the most respected institutions alongside CCA’s corporate endeavors. The truth is that the state controlled rehabilitation programs have never been affective. The crime rate is always increasing and more and more culprits are finding their way into the prison facilities. There is a need for non-governmental involvement like the Jails for Jesus initiative in which they are brought closer to their religion and embark on a spiritual journey (Shapiro, 2013). The government should have no issues with the program because for the first time, the rehabilitation programs are proving to be successful. However, cases of human rights violation can arise in any circumstances, so as a possible solution different NGOs can work together in prison facilities to make sure that no human rights are being violated and the inmates are being treated properly. The governmental control over the misuse of prison doctrines should also be ensured.
188.8.131.52 The Men of Valor and the Heritage foundation are a collective organization based on promoting valued Christian beliefs among the inmates and other affected people. They are very dedicated in their work and they take it as a duty. But as the case with all governments, they aren’t very happy with the role of the government. They believe that the government should become more involved in the affairs of the prison to help the inmates recover from their unstable and unethical actions. Their take on re-entry is the same as all such organizations.
2.2.3 “A hard straight” is a documentary regarding 3 prisoners from California state prisons who are released on parole and try to live in the society with the tainted reputation that every freed criminal has to face upon release. It reinforces the Evangelical beliefs more than anything because after the freedom, it can be very difficult for the parolees to find jobs and fit into the society. The Evangelical engagement of the past helps the inmate be more social and thankful instead of being frustrated on the biased approach of the society in general. The Evangelical approach also helps in building connections with people in order to get jobs and abide by the law.
In a time of fiscal austerity measures and cultural division, I can say that it is not necessary to implement a Christian Evangelical system in all prisons because I believe all religions preach compassion in one way or another. There is a need to implement a less harsh and spiritual version of such systems in the prisons. The private corporations like CCA are here for profit and they would like nothing more than to use their human resource of prisoners to the maximum advantage. But, it is the job of organizations like Men of Valor and other NGOs to help them maintain a balance between profits and rehabilitation. We all want crime rate to plunge don’t we?
Clear, Todd, Cole, George F. and Reisig, Michael D. (2013) American Corrections 10th
Shapiro, S.M (2003). “Charles Colson’s Jails for Jesus”. Mother Jones. November/December Issue.
Ridgeway, J (2011). “God’s Own Warden”. Mother Jones. July/August Issue.
”Unsung Heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front”. The Heritage Foundation.
Retrieved9 October 2014. http://www.seeksocialjustice.com/index.php/restoring-dignity-and-purpose-the-importance-of-work
Peters, J. (March 2013). “New Study Suggests Religion Might Help Criminals Justify Their
Crimes” Slate.com. Accessed November 9 2014.
“Men of Valor” Accessed 9 November 2014