Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Resocializing the Imprisoned
Resocializing the Imprisoned: Resocialization is the unique psycho-social process by which prisoners get re-integrated into regular society. The process occurs during incarceration whereby psychologists and sociologists have a set period of time to study the changes which define an inmate's personal outlook. Parole boards, in particular, take into consideration the degree of change in prisoners' attitudes as they prepare to re-enter regular society. But critics of resocialization see it as an oppressive process that undercuts a prisoners' true individuality. Forcing change upon someone is neither natural nor organic. Fundamental change, especially in someone's personal disposition, must be an internal process, and resocialization seems to constitute an externally coercive regime. The idea of eroding an inmate's individuality through mandatory haircuts and uniform clothing only appears to create a perverted system of dependency in prison settings. Yet I suppose that's the price one pays for being convicted of a crime. I wonder how French critical theorist Michel Foucault might react to resocialization. Similarly, how much does resocialization really help former criminals transition into regular society? That is the primary question which parole boards and other prison officials ought to be asking themselves.