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Social Worker: California Needs To Spend More to Rehabilitate Inmates

California's prisons are overcrowded. Photo courtesy of California state government.

Social worker and writer Rachel Meyer made some good points in this Women’s International Perspective, Inc. column on California’s prison system.

California’s incarceration rate is rising but the state has not increased spending on substance abuse treatment, education, job training and other rehabilitation programs, making it more likely ex-inmates will commit more crime and get locked up again, she said.

But check out what Meyer had to say about the disparity between the pay for prison guards and social workers:

“As a Social Worker I am required to complete six years of higher education, maintain licensing requirements through the Board of Behavioral Sciences, and meet continued education obligations. Juvenile Institution Officers are only required to have a High School Diploma or GED. After two years of employment my annual salary is approximately $55,000 per year. Comparatively, with overtime, a Juvenile Institution Officer makes $70,000.”

Q: Can social workers do anything in these hard economic times to get states to spend more on rehabilitating inmates?


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  1. I completely agree with Ms. Meyer . My boyfriend was returned to jail 1st time on minor parole violation and now 2nd parole violation left him in there for 6 months , he is to get out in April 2010. Since he has been in there he falls back into what I call ” jail mentality “.
    He recently sent me a horrible email due to things he cooked up in his mind because I had not written in 3 days . He ended up apologizing profusely and saying he was not a nice person and such. He did comment when he first got out he was seeing counselors but he had to beg to get that help . I just hope when he gets out this time he will be able to see counselors again as that really helped him and us. I have said all along that on these minor parole violations jail was not the answer . It only turns back all the good and progress one has made and then getting out again might just seem so completely overwhelming . Are we in the business of setting up ex-inmates to fail ? It sure seems that way to me . This system we have esp. in CA needs to be updated , modernized and fixed . But will we ever really see that happen ? I certainly hope so but maybe its just wishful thinking .

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