The Corner

Rehab Rebut

Ramesh, I have no doubt at all that this country’s abandonment of serious attempts at rehabilitation (which, for any number of reasons, is both contemptible and self-defeating) is a contributory factor, but it’s not the contributory factor. As the writers of the piece make clear, there are other causes too, including too high rates of incarceration (just what good exactly is achieved by locking up people for possession of small amounts of a banned drug?), overcrowded jails and inadequate staffing. If I had to add another couple of explanations, I’d look at what is obviously a breakdown of internal discipline throughout the system (was rape a problem on this scale half a century ago?) and the fact that society’s apparent acceptance of this scourge has sent a signal to inmates that this is, somehow, expected behavior – and, alas, people tend to feel that it’s all right to do what is expected of them.

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