-Prisoners are often angry and/or resentful, and letting them have a healthy outlet is an idea to help them become better people.
We have people in our society who are deemed too offensive to live among us. Violence, drugs, suspicious activity – you name it. Some people find themselves locked behind bars, whether they deserve it or not.
I’m not here to plea the innocence of these people, but rather I’m concerned with their current state of being and how it can be improved. Today I will present two ideas that will improve the quality of life in prisons across America!
Idea Number One
He’s running down the street as fast as he can with the police in hot pursuit. He cuts through his neighbor’s backyard, waking him up in the process, and making him quite angry. The police eventually catch him and pin him to the ground, and force his hands behind his back. He’s handcuffed and, after due process, he’s sent to a jail cell.
Depending on the jail he may have things to do, or he may not. He may have recess, work, mealtimes. He may even have access to drugs. However, there is one thing that he probably doesn’t have access to, and that is a punching bag.
Yes, a punching bag. Let me explain!
Prison inmates often (if not always) harbor intense amounts of anger. If anger is allowed to build without release for an extended period of time it can manifest as a criminal act, since ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.
It’s important to give inmates a way to release their anger. They shouldn’t have to sit and let it build up all over again because it
may very well manifest as another criminal act if they’re ever released. This results in a vicious cycle that isn’t helpful for anybody.
It’s also important to give them limited access to the punching bag on a predictable time schedule. This is for psychological reasons. If you give them a punching bag in their cell then they may never use it, since it’s always available to them. However, if it’s only available from 3:00 pm-3:30 pm every day, some of the prisoners will start to anticipate beforehand and be more willing to participate.
Depending on the layout of the prison there can be punching bags in the main room, outside, the recess area, etc. The prisoners should be encouraged to punch the bags as hard as they can for at least 30 minutes, and this will help them live out their anger. This will make life easier for them and the staff who work with them every day.
Idea Number Two
We have AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. Almost everyone is familiar with the program since it’s been around for a long time.
I think prisoners should be required to attend PA (Prisoner’s Anonymous) meetings. The reason for this is simple. When prisoners live together inside of prison they begin to make connections with each other. This connection building can make them even more dangerous if and when they’re released back into the world, especially if they’re still harboring excessive levels of resentment.
If it becomes a mandatory requirement for different prisoners of different backgrounds to sit and make connections with one another (especially with psychological professionals and guards in the room) there will be an absence of one nasty thing in particular – loneliness. We want our prisoners to heal, and the best way to do that is by teaching them how to make strong, genuine connections with each other so they don’t feel isolated and ignored, two feelings that can sometimes lead to violence and the sense of needing revenge.
Beyond these two ideas, we should aim to make our jails a place of recovery, not a place of stagnation. Or worse, resentment. If prisoners have a way to express their anger and a way to form genuine connections with other prisoners/people while they’re there, then everybody will have an easier time, staff, inmates, and the world alike.