Incarcerating offenders for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the members of mainstream society is not the only function of the Bureau of Prisons. The truth is that the Bureau is engaged in rehabilitating offenders so that they could become productive members of society after serving their time in prison. In this connection, the programs and services being provided in the different federal prisons are not only meant to meet the basic needs of the inmates.
Prison officials are also tasked to ensure that inmates are prepared for a “successful reintegration” into society and that their leisure is being structured in such a way as to contribute to their general transformation. Achieving this threefold objective, according to the bureau, would effectively ease the inmates’ way back into the folds of society, and prevent them from committing future offenses, thereby reducing the rate of recidivism (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n. d. ).
The most immediate concern of prison officials once an offender is committed to a prison facility is to attend to his or her physical and mental health needs. Hence, a physical check-up is done and any ailment consequently diagnosed is immediately treated. Afterwards, the inmate is led through a program of orientation. Under this program, the inmate is made aware of everything about the facility such as its policies, the different programs which he or she could avail of, the basic services being provided, and the procedures being followed by every inmate (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n.
d. ). Guided by findings of various studies on recidivism, the Bureau has adopted programs which are meant to increase the inmates’ self-respect; become more tolerable of other people; mold them into more responsible human beings; and become productive members of society. For instance, religious programs are available to inmates. These programs are being undertaken with the help of prison chaplains, volunteers from the community, and spiritual leaders of different religious faiths being contracted by prison authorities.
Inmates are encouraged to attend religious services and go to bible or scripture study groups aimed at their self-improvement. Other religious services like “pastoral care, spiritual guidance, and counseling” are likewise available to every inmate (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n. d. ). Aside from these religious programs, inmates are being provided with opportunities to acquire the necessary skills which would qualify them for employment after leaving prison. These opportunities come in the form of “education, vocational and job training.
” Federal prison facilities, for example, allow inmates who have not finished high school to obtain an equivalent “General Educational Development (GED)” certificate by attending the literacy program for at least 240 hours. If an inmate is not a native English speaker, he or she should also take classes in “English as a Second Language. ” Inmates could also attend the training programs which would provide them with the vocational and occupational qualifications needed in the outside world. These programs include opportunities for on-the-job trainings where inmates work in “Federal Prison Industries.
” After completing these programs, inmates are ready to look for employment in the outside world since they are already qualified for vocational and occupational jobs (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n. d. ). Acquiring the necessary qualification for employment, however, is usually not enough. After being incarcerated for a number of years, inmates often become disoriented and lost when they go out of prison. The task of looking for job opportunities in their fields of training and then actually applying for vacancies have proven to be very intimidating or overwhelming for most released inmates.
To prepare their inmates, prison officials make them undergo a “Release Preparation Program” 18 months before their actual release from prison. This program teaches inmates how to write their resumes, how and where to look for a job in the community, and when able to land one, how to behave in order to retain it. Usually, they are also taught how to look for additional training opportunities in the community in order to strengthen their qualifications (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n.
d. ). Prison life should not be a total waste for an inmate who is determined to reform and leave the prison walls as a productive member of society. While there are numerous opportunities that an inmate could avail of, the three programs outlined above should suffice. First, by attending the available religious programs, he or she gets to be a better person. Then he or she could acquire valuable vocational expertise by attending the training programs designed for this purpose.
Finally, through the “Release Preparation Program,” the inmate is assisted in looking for gainful employment as soon as he or she rejoins society. Therefore, by going through the process of rehabilitation, an offender is able to give a new meaning and direction to his or her life. Hence, there is a very high probability that said inmate never sees the inside of a prison facility again. References Federal Bureau of Prisons (n. d. ). Inmate Matters. Retrieved February 6, 2010, from http://www. bop. gov/inmate_programs/index. jsp