Professor Jerry Stahler who teaches geography and urban studies here at Temple talked to our class about mass incarceration, the justice system and its effects in the communities most affected. Stahler is part of the inside-out exchange program, which is a class of 30 students who half are college students and half are students in prison. Teaching with the program has given Stahler an inside perspective of what it’s like to be in prison in the United States; one important fact he taught our class is that the U.S. is one of the most punitive nations of the world.
Professor Stahler presented us with several statistics. For example, he said that 1 in 38 adults are under correctional supervision in the U.S. and that about 80% of US prison and jail inmates had prior involvement with drug and/or alcohol. Incarceration is the punishment that keeps on giving due to how those who have been released are set up to fail, Stahler said. Typically the situation for released offenders is usually arriving home with little money and few resources, little social capital, and because of a felony record, most are unable to obtain employment to find housing. This results of a large portion of released inmates to end up re-incarcerated.