What I Changes I Would Like To Make At Herlong Prison Camp and The Oakland Halfway House


I’ve been thinking about what could make prison camp more productive for the inmates. If these suggestions are possible, it could make the inmates ready for society and make their sentence fruitful and productive.  Below is a list of some things I’d like to change about prison camp and the halfway house.

Improve the conditions to make inmates more psychologically sound. That camp did little to help inmates’ psychological mindset. We had psychologist but, from what I was told by inmates, she only came when someone was requesting her, but we would never see her sit around the office in case someone wanted to talk.

I think there should be classes for inmates to learn new technology.  How does a man adapt to a fast-paced world when he been in here for 20 years? If the inmates had classes, conducted by COs and the tech were locked down, the inmates could learn about the new technology and software while increasing their confidence to compete in the world when they are released.

I’d like to see all drugs legalized. It’s not that I think drugs are good for society. However, I think it’s we as a society need to be more focus on helping people get off drugs and giving them better solutions than selling drugs.  Legalizing drugs would free two-thirds of the prison population—most of which are non-violent offenders.  I don’t believe the streets will be full of druggies like some politicians believe. If people had living wages, decent living conditions, and access to great education, it would decrease the need for drug selling in the first place.

Also, I’d like to see first-time offenders go to the halfway house, have an angled monitor on them, or work in the community. It would mean less money coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets and more out of the offenders’ pockets. For example, let’s say I stayed working at that restaurant, I would have given the halfway house 25% out of my check. They would make $250-$600 a month. That’s assuming I make between $1000 and $2400 a month gross.  I’d have to pay for all my lodging and food cost. It’s still a punishment but inmates wouldn’t have to start all the way over.

If there was a second offense, send them to a low-security prison. I think the camps should be used for inmates who need to transition from the higher institutions before going to the halfway house.

I think inmates should pay restitution or jail time. I think both are obsessive.

I’d like to see a return to parole instead of supervised release. I just feel once a felon finished his time, he should be done with all things with the government. Felons shouldn’t have to check in with POs after they finished.

I think all halfway houses should be non-profit and government-owned. I think corporations focus too much on saving money and not enough on the actual needs of the resident in the house.

There should be classes offered to help inmates become entrepreneurs and businessmen because if they could own their own business, maybe the transition from prison to society would be easier and this could help reduce unemployment rates among inmates coming home.

The government should allow more family to visit inmates during jail time. If not, services should be available to help inmates with reconnecting with their families.  I would also suggest video chatting and group messaging such as Skype or Google Hangout to give inmates a chance to visit family who can’t travel to prisons.

I think inmates at the camp level should be allowed to have several three-day furloughs to allow them to get ID’s, driving tests or any other information they need before going to the halfway house.

If the above idea isn’t possible, then have a service set up to where the inmate could get these services.

There should be a halfway house within 30 miles from every major city in the state. In my case, the nearest halfway house was in Oakland and my life and family was in Sacramento. If there was a halfway house in Sacramento, there could be a ton of inmates who would get back on their feet faster because they live in that area.

There should be lower sentencing guidelines for all inmates. Most inmates I’ve seen repeated offenders, but their sentences were so long most just gave up and figured, “they don’t want to come back, but they know they are going to.” If the inmate sentences were shorter, it could restore some optimism and increase the chances for felons to reestablish themselves into the communities and families.

Lastly, we need business and community leaders to create jobs that would help prevent the need for people to want to sell drugs. If these jobs paid $20/hr., full time, and were available after high school, the need for drug selling to pay bills would decrease.


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