|Volume XXVIII Issue 22||March 20, 2003|
The goal of prison reform is unclear and is
not a solution
What is the ultimate goal of a prison-reform system? Many people would say the rehabilitation of the criminals that are placed through it.
Unfortunately, however, our system cannot do these things with the way it is setup. Scientific research shows that the human body may behave violently or aggressively, the typical qualities of a criminal, due to certain chemistries.
To build upon that, these chemical imbalances may only be enhanced in a prison setting.
Research shows that low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (found in the brain and associated with mood) leads to irritability and aggression.
By increasing levels of serotonin you can decrease aggression and even depression, which is often done with prescriptions like Prozac.
More evidence proves that low serotonin levels are found in violent offenders, such as arsonists, individuals susceptible to impulsive violence, and even those who are suicidal.
Now this is where the prison-reform argument is tied in. Isolation, which is what a prison typically is, often leads to the lowering of serotonin levels.
Why take aggressive offenders, who most likely already have low levels of the neurotransmitter, and put them in isolation as punishment to make them behave when this has a likelihood of escalating the problem?
- Michael Orr
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