Analysis Of Jimmy Santiago Baca 's Coming Into Language Essay

Analysis Of Jimmy Santiago Baca 's Coming Into Language Essay

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Jimmy Santiago Baca had spent five years in a maximum security prison when he decided to make a choice that many inmates do not have the opportunity to make; he decided to learn to read and write. This choice impacted his entire life and led to him not only becoming a reformed individual while in prison, but also an award winning poet, novelist, and memoirist. In his writing, Coming into Language, Jimmy Santiago Baca described himself before he started writing as feeling lost only to find himself through his writings. He wrote,
“I had been born into a raging ocean where I swam relentlessly, flailing my arms in hope of rescue, of reaching a shoreline I never sighted. Never solid ground beneath me, never a resting place. I had lived with only the desperate hope to stay afloat; that and nothing more. But when at last I wrote my first words in the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale”.
Jimmy Santiago Baca’s description of being able to write shows how impactful it was on his experience; however, many prisoners do not get this chance because 75% of inmates are illiterate (Tikkanen, 2010). Due to the lack of educational programs in prisons, there is little chance of the prisoners learning to read, write, or gain any educational knowledge while they’re being “rehabilitated”. By preventing prisoners from gaining access to educational programs, it is also preventing a large part of the population from contributing to society. Mandatory education programs in today’s prisons are crucial because they lower the rate of recidivism and help former inmates attain full time jobs which in turn encourages them to maintain their rehabilitated lives.
The increased level of rehabilitation that is brought about thr...


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...ore pertinent for the younger population.
As shown by the evidence previously presented, mandatory education programs in prisons are very important because they have positive effects on not only the prisoners themselves, but on our society as a whole. There is a plethora of information and studies that support the benefits of correctional education programs rather than just physical labor in prisons. These programs help prisoners to adjust to their new lives following their release and maintain their freedom by lowering the chance of recidivism. The programs allow prisoners to obtain fulltime jobs that in turn help them to acclimate back into society and support themselves in a productive and positive manner. By excluding the mind from being rehabilitated while in prison, not only the inmates are at loss, but our community as a whole and each one of us inside of it.

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