Human Psychology : A Dark, Clammy Room, By Fyodor Dostoyevsky Essay

Human Psychology : A Dark, Clammy Room, By Fyodor Dostoyevsky Essay

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You are in a dark, clammy room. Eight steps to your right, you meet a wall; ten steps forward, another. Your only possessions for the next few days, weeks, or maybe even years, are a cot, a toilet and the clothes on your back; you’re granted no human contact, and a taste of freedom only one hour a day—in a cage. This is solitary confinement. “The degree of a civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” speculates Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whose literary works analyzed the human psychology. Prisons are typically thought of as a facility in which criminals are stripped of their freedoms and punished for their crimes; it is also used to instill fear onto those who dare fathom breaking the law. America has the highest rate of incarceration, per capita, in the world. With that in mind, rehabilitation programs could prove useful in minimizing the recidivism, or relapse back into crime. The focus of prisons should be to encourage mental health to those who seek it, making them more cooperative contributors to society upon release. How civilized is our society?
There was a study done of the recidivism of the prisoners released after their sentence. The results concluded, “67.8% of the 404,638 state prisoners released in 2005 in 30 states were arrested within 3 years of release, and 76.6% were arrested within 5 years of release” (Durose et al 1). It seems as though punishment is not always the answer. An American psychologist and behaviorist, B. F. Skinner, carried out studies which show that humans tend to deliver the desired response most effectively when positively reinforced. “Positive reinforcement strengthens a behavior by providing a consequence an individual finds rewarding” (McLeod). For that reaso...


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...of washing dishes by hand is an example of the small tasks and personal activities that once filled people 's daily lives with a sense of achievement.”
The reasoning behind why people commit crimes is greatly influenced by their environment. A negative environment, with no sense of morality, is more likely to birth a convict than a positive one where morals and values are taught and encouraged. For this reason, prisons should practice the latter. According to Richard Harding of University of Western Australia, “A prison where the staff are unhappy or feel unsafe or frustrated with managers is likely to be one where the social climate for prisoners is likewise dysfunctional” (165). Ergo, the positive influences should trickle down from those at the top. Rehabilitative options should outshine punishment, and provide a sense of hope for those who are devoted to change.

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