| Announcing the publication of a new book, Facing the U.S. Prison Problem, 2.3 Million Strong. This informative book was written by Shawn Griffith.
With recidivism rates ranging from fifteen to seventy percent, and the U.S. debt burden in trillions, the general public deserves a detailed account of the mistakes being made in our criminal justice system and the common-sense solutions to fix them. Facing the U.S. Prison Problem, 2.3 Million Strong accomplishes this with a no-nonsense perspective from a rehabilitated ex- convict after serving 20 years in prison.
Beginning with sentencing laws, the book describes how judges’ discretion for downward sentencing and drug-treatment alternatives has been abridged by legislators and replaced by mandatory provisions dispensed by prosecutors who commonly abuse their powers. The role of some media and politicians who influence tough-on-crime legislation for pollitical advantage is also evaluated. Chapter 2 explains slave labor and lazy labor policies that significantly worsen recidivism. These policies also disproportionately affect African Americans and other minorities to their detriment. Chapters 3-7 detail medical neglect, nutritional deficiency, physical and sexual abuse by officials, disregard for fairness in disciplinary proceedings, and other practices that increase anti-social tendencies in prisoners. Chapter 8 illustrates how the courts frequently allow such violations to go unchecked, strengthening many offenders’ perceptions that a society antagonistic to their basic neeeds is not a society within which to reintegrate. Chapter 9 extends this analysis to the parole commissions that parole less than two percent of eligible prisoners in contradiction to statistics showing how earlier releases would be favorable to society. Chapter 10 explains how the families of prisoners are treated like criminals. In elaborating upon this sad trend, particulary the effects on prisoners’ children, this evaluation illustrates how relationships are weakened through corrections policies that contradict professional studies. The special interest groups that support these practices are exposed in detail. Special focus is placed upon the corrections guards’ unions and private vendors who contract with corrections systems. Chapter 11 then provides an analysis on prior rehabilitative and educational failures, especially anecdotal examples in Florida, in addition to solutions that might be applied to all corrections systems. Chapter 12 expands upon 2 and 11 to develop the need for a non-exploitive wage through a mathematical Corrections Risk Factor (CRF), in dollars, attached to hiring a prisoner. This CRF would be fundamental to any incentivized work program and would help to reduce exploitation of prisoners by setting a wage floor of $2.50 per hour that could not be further reduced for costs associated with a prisoner’s incarceration. Chapter 13 ends with an account of what pre- and post-release offenders need for re-entry.
These topics are timely because of the recent rehabilitative initiatives in the U.S. and have been developed for an enlightening read for college students, criminal justice professionals, prisoners, and their families for a wide target audience. The prisoners’ family resource guide in appendix A also ensures that this will serve as a reference book for prisoner-related issues for years to come.
The book is not only unique because the author is a released, rehabilitated felon, but also because it illustrates the growing development of a non-profit corporation, called the Prisoner Family Union, Inc. This is not only a book; this is a movement which has the potential to change the criminal justice system as never before seen.