I believe most countries across the globe sits with the same problem, so with this I’ll try and relay an alternative idea, and maybe someone, somewhere who reads this will be able to implement it. The idea is workable, but it will need someone with strong moral and ethical values to pull it off.
- Firstly, studies have shown that most inmates are returnees
- Secondly, it costs the tax payer money to put them in there, keep them in there, and keep them alive for the duration of their sentence
- Thirdly, the inmates themselves are in most of the cases not rehabilitated
In most cases the inmates are better off in jail than they are out in the world of the free. To explain what I mean please take into consideration the following.
The scenario is worked out around what we are currently experiencing in South Africa, but I am pretty sure that the situation around the globe will be along the same lines.
To keep a inmate locked up for a year costs round about R250.oo per day. So 365 x R250 and you get to an astonishing figure of R91 250.00 per year. That is rougly R7 600.00 per month.
In South Africa a normal domestic worker will earn, if he/she is lucky R5 000.00 per month, working every day of the week and most Saturday’s. Normally it will be less, since the middle income class can’t afford to have a domestic worker every day, so they only have them come in 2 days a week at anything between R150 per day to R300 per day.
The same is the truth for most of the uneducated populace of our country, the salaries they are able to earn is so low that a life of crime seems to be the only way out of their solution.
Now we know this costs us money every day, so why not make use of these non-violent individuals who are now being subsided by the tax payers month to actually earn and income of their own, and to help build the economy and to better themselves?
I propose that a non-profit takes charge of such an initiative, and with the input of Government and academic institutions you will be able to take these inmates and rehabilitate them, so that they can be reintroduced back into society as schooled laborers after their sentence.
The core idea behind the program would be to show the inmate that it’s more difficult to build up something, than to help to destroy it, while giving him the opportunity to keep a steady job, earn a Government and Academic accredited certificate with a little spare change in his pocket and to create a sense of belonging as part of a community within him/her.
The Rehab Facility should cater for the following
- Should be build on agricultural land so that some of the inmates can raise crops and life stock to feed themselves, surplus food can be sold of at the markets and find it’s way into the economy like every other commercial farmer’s produce.
- Should be close to a sustainable water source, so that they can water water their crops, and have water for their own usage, as well as a water treatment plant so that they can treat sewage.
- There should be different workshops, automotive, electronic, carpentry etc, with top notch tutors so that they can learn to repair and manufacture
- Construction division which will focus on building new infrastructure, and maintaining existing infrastructure like roads, railways, bridges and buildings.
These are only a couple of professions that could be implemented at the Rehab Facility, and I am pretty sure if one can get a think tank going on this that more opportunities will be identified.
With the products they deliver and the services they render, and the food they are now producing for themselves they will be less of a burden on the tax paying populace, and the money which was used to sustain them could be used to further develop the country.
This will also give them a measure of self worth, because most of us who have created something knows that the feeling you get from seeing your product in it’s completed stage is next to none. Apart from that they will develop the basic skill to be part of a productive society and, if their income was good, they might even get “dividends” from their labor which one could deposit into a savings account for the day when they step out of the facility, so that they have some start up cash.
Of course this will only work with certain security measures in place, and you will only be able to use the non violent crime offenders. I am pretty sure the same could be applied to violent crime offenders, but a lot of limitation would have to be in place to safeguard the general community.