Class discussion topic for today...“The hardest thing in life is to learn which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.”Today the teacher of my course let me know that she had taken a look at our site, so let me welcome her to our discussions. Together we tried to briefly explain to our class the purpose and content of the last ten months of this blog, and suggested that I might want to share blog comments with the class and possibly obtain questions from the class to ask all you readers. I think this is a great idea that may help us refocus our agenda here and make the blog more interesting and sustainable. (I’m not sure about you, but I have definitely found it much harder to be creative in my writing recently. ) Please offer your suggestions and/or questions.
Maybe knowing the topics will help you think of some questions. The study topics that remain during my expected stay are: 1) Re-entry into Society, 2) Personal Development,
3) Interpersonal Relationships, 4) Civil/Legal Responsibilities.
For background information, there are about 25 members of this class ranging in age from 19 to probably 50 years old. All of us expect to be released within 4 months. Some of us will go home at the beginning of December; others, who just started the class, might have a full 4 months until they get out. There will be other people that will enter the class between now and the time I leave who are currently still awaiting their specific parole answers.
I received another round of your comments in the mail last night. My mom had sent them out at the beginning of the week. Thanks again for all the input here that you’ve kept up. I still really appreciate it. I took some time last night organizing all of the blog paperwork I’ve collected over the last 8 months. Does that sound kind of funny to hear? The “paperwork” part, I mean. I’m guessing that I’m the only person who doesn’t view the blog via a computer screen. As a side note....you have no idea how inconvenient the lack of a computer is! I brought all my paperwork to class today and I’ll try to order it in a sensible fashion where I can share it with the class and receive some feedback.
A question that arose in class today is something we would like to pose to the readers here. It concerns probation. There are a lot of guys in here that have been placed on probation in the past. It seems to us that probation is not a good solution to our criminal dilemmas. There is a general feeling in here that probation is a recipe for failure. Let me ask the questions directly:
1) How many of you have been on probation in the past?
2) Did you successfully complete your probation?
3) Does probation make revenue for counties or does it cost counties money?
4) Do you think probation is a viable rehabilitation tool?
Here are some things about probation that guys in here find fault with:
1) It is too expensive for the offender.
2) The impositions it directs onto the offenders are so limiting, on a time constraint level,
that the offender often has a difficult time trying to maintain and hold down any normal job.
3) Probation offers next to zero rehabilitation opportunities.
4) When someone is placed on probation they usually make the decision to go on probation under duress. The ramifications of not completing probation are almost never explained to an offender beforehand.
With regard to the financial aspect of this: Does it cost the state/county more to carry an offender on probation, or more to send them to jail? In a nutshell, the experiences of many prisoners with probation is negative. What percentage of offenders complete their probations? Is there a better alternative to the way the current probation system is set up?
We will all be looking forward to your comments. Thank you.