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Readers' forum: Inmate rehabilitation

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 23 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

I would suggest that the committee considering building a new prison try changing its focus from punishment to rehabilitation. All of those now in prison, or who have ever served time, have three strikes against them when it comes to returning to life on the outside.

First, they are branded with the title felon or convict. Second, they lack job skills which are essential for financial survival on the outside. And third, some of the parole officers appear to be focused more on putting these people back in prison than on helping them to find jobs and return to normal life.

Why not build a secure facility where those inmates who are willing to put in the effort can be trained in everything from the various trade skills and technology to even college credit classes? With modern technology, classes taught at universities, community colleges and technology institutes could be transmitted to such a facility. The costs would be minimal.

There are many inmates at the prison who are repeat offenders simply because they lack the skills mentioned. We are too focused on punishment and not on rehabilitation. When I was on the Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Committee in the Utah House, I was mainly focused on punishment. I now realize that education and other helps are extremely important to the system.

Robert H.M. Killpack

West Jordan

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