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Twenty five years after the Strangeways riot began on 1 April 1990, chronic overcrowding driven by a near doubling of the prison population over the past two decades continues to undermine standards of decency in prisons and restrict opportunities for rehabilitation, according to a new report by the Prison Reform Trust.
Most people have no idea what it feels like to be in prison, statistically only one out of every five people will know what its like to be in prison. Approximately million people out of the .’s 280 million people are in prison. (Thomas, 2) The only reason people know about prisons is because of the media. The news, movies, and books all contribute to people's stereotypes about prisons. Prisoners receive three meals a day, workout facilities, a library, as well as other things. People are also given the idea, through the mass media, that prisoners are free to walk around certain parts of the prison. All of these ideas are cast upon prisons so that people will not be afraid of them. Society has been given the idea that prisons are not very bad on the inside. What is prison life really like?
The mass media uses prison life as the source for movies and television shows. Over the years there have been many movies written about prison but the most prominent in my mind is Frank Darabont’s, The Shawshank Redemption. Throughout the film there are many examples of the falsities of prison life. There are some elements of truth but they are out weighed by the misconceptions. Numerous prisoners are allowed to walk around the prison and the prison yard with no guards in sight. In actuality there are always guards around, especially on the inside. The prisoner’s movement through the prison is highly restricted.
In many prisons there is some corruption but in the movie there is an exceptionally large amount. It appears that it is very easy for the prisoners to smuggle contra ban into the prison. Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” is able to get just about anything, posters, cigarettes, etc. In todays prison system it is not something that is openly discussed, but it is not nearly as easy as it appears to smuggle things into the prison.
The television show “OZ” on HBO, is another good example of how the mass media sugarcoats prisons. The inmates live in a fictional prison called Oswald Correctional Facility, in which they have created a test program called Emerald City. Emerald City is a part of the prison that is separate from the general population. The prisoners are allowed a great deal of freedom. They have television, games (. checkers), computer facilities, a library, and a full gym. There are some ideas that are accurate from the show ...
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...ly makes for fresh conversation among inmates, at the same time truly violent acts remind the prisoners of the harsh realities of prison life.
There is very little variation from the prison routine. Basically from the time an inmate starts his term till the time his term ends there is hardly any variation from his routine. The prisoners can either work every day or refuse to work and be locked in their cells during working hours. Obviously most choose to work and not be locked in their cells. “‘I just seem to go through the motions every day. It doesn’t take much though to wake up when the bell rings, go to chow, when the bell rings, go to work when the bell rings, and go to your cell when the bell rings. There really isn’t much choice or alternatives; you either do or you don’t.’” (Jones, 90)
With out actually being in prison it is hard for a person to grasp what it would actually feel like. The media gives us some idea but they are usually sugarcoated and do not give an accurate portrayal of prison life. A constant routine and hours of boredom constitute part of prison life. It is unfortunate that some people in our society are so bad that they have to go to such a facility.
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