Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prisons vs Education, by Dr. Steven Jones

I frequently write about PRISONS vs. HOSPITALS AND OUTPATIENT TREATMENT for the mentally ill. The article by Dr. Steven Jones that I share with you regards another important area that suffers from the nation's huge prison budget, called "PRISONS vs. EDUCATION."

The truth is that prison profiteers put PRISONS BEFORE ALL ELSE. It is their cash cow and the black hole for many of your tax dollars. Unfortunately, many of our decision makers are themselves prison owners and investors. When prison profiteers decide how tax money should be spent, rest assured that more and bigger prisons is choice no. 1. At the same time, YOUR tax dollars must be withheld from education and programs that provide jobs and recreation for our youth, mental health care, outpatient supervision for the mentally ill, drug addiction therapy, and prisoner rehabilitation services, because those programs REDUCE the number of people going to prison and combat recidivism.

In addition to public funds for prisons, profiteers earn significant profits from prison labor projects. If you would like to know where many jobs went in this country, check the prisons. Therefore, everything that diverts people from prison threatens prison profiteers' financial gains. There is much debate regarding prison labor projects. The Center for Research on Globalization carried an article by Vickie Palaez published on March 10, 2008, which stated:

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens [therefore, war helps prison owners and investors]. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

(Emphasis added) See the link above for the entire article.

Around 2.3 million people are imprisoned in America right now, including 1.25 million mentally ill persons who should be in treatment instead. Also, be aware that 2/3 of those in prison were sentenced for NONVIOLENT crimes. Nonviolent inmates make the best slaves and are in demand for many prisoner work projects.

Below is the article by Dr. Jones:

by Dr. Stephen Jones

According to the "Philadelphia Inquirer" newspaper Pennsylvania intends to build four new prisons for 800 million dollars. Did you know that it also takes $50,000 a year to house a prisoner? Reading this was upsetting because it was so easy to build four new prisons. Governor Rendell had spent three months trying to get the state budget passed because he refused to put education on the chopping block. The State of Pennsylvania could educate 5 children rather than put one man or woman in prison. It seems like our country's priorities are all twisted. Other countries are investing in education and they are experiencing expansion while America is in a state of decline.

Pennsylvania was not the only state to assess its commitment to education. Students in California and other states are experiencing overcrowded classes, and bus services have been cut. Students don't vote so they are an easy target for budget cuts. The majority of children in the United States need a better education than they are experiencing right know. Filling prisons is not the solution to our problem. Too many prisoners are high school drop outs. In fact they need an education if they are to change their circumstances and not return to prison after they are released.

When is this country going to face the reality that a major solution to our economic crisis is right in our own communities? There are children who need access to better instruction and they need parents who are not in a prison cell. Too many grandparents are raising children because they have no choice. It is difficult for grandparents to provide the resources and guidance that growing teenagers need. Parents need to play an active role in their child's education at all K-12 levels.

Expanding prisons is not the solution to the economic crisis. A prison my generate jobs but it does not compare to what a well educated entrepreneur can do. We need to choose business development and job creation in areas where jobs have been depleted. Why not build new schools with modern technology that will lead to more sophisticated instruction and students who are prepared to succeed in college? Many of the schools in Philadelphia are over 50 years old, and the maintenance expenses are unreasonable. These old buildings are not the best places for students to learn.

It's time to make education a priority in every state. If we continue to fill our prisons with perfectly healthy young men and women, we are becoming our own worst enemy. There is a tremendous amount of talent that is sitting in a cell and wasting away. Changing a young person's potential to end up in prison starts at birth. Children need to develop an early passion for reading and learning. Parents can be a major part of the solution. The future is within our grasp and we need to say no to prisons and yes to education.
Dr. Stephen Jones is an education coach and author of "Seven Secrets of How to Study," "Parent's Ultimate Education Guide" and "The Ultimate Scholarship Guide." For more information about Dr. Jones and his work, visit
Call or email your representatives and demand that treatment replace prisons for mentally ill people in your state. Request that more money be appropriated for education and recreation for our youth, jail diversion programs, and rehabilitation for inmates. Be reminded that 90% of inmates have a release date in their future, and they will again become our neighbors. Promote their success and reduce crime and recidivism by creating and strengthening programs that prepare them for re-entry into society. (Hebrew 13:3)

The good news is that progress toward prison reform is already being made to a limited degree. Despise not the day of small beginnings. Changes are taking place, and we need to report them with equal zeal. To find out what happened lately to promote positive changes in several justice quests, I invite you to please visit my HubPages, where I report all good news for justice and congratulate the individuals, organizations, agencies, and police officers involved:

Come back frequently and access more articles in this blog. Fresh material is added almost daily, and much valuable information was published in previous work. Thanks for your interest! Here is something you can use in order to "be not a hearer only, but a doer," according to James 1:22 -


Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

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