Communication and Humanities



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Victoria Dee Carattini, Jazmine Holloman and Joshua Knickerbocker, CWP 102: Argumentation and Research
Faculty Mentors: Professor Susan Mary Paige, Academic Success Program and Professor Jane E. Sullivan, College Writing Program

The United States penal system has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world. Despite having the largest economy in the world, the US is struggling with the cost of thousands of convicts returning to prison while other countries do not. The reality is that other countries do not have the same approach to the incarceration of convicts. This circumstance suggests recidivism is not tied to the amount of money spent on a prisoner, but instead on prisoner treatment/rehabilitation. Rwanda is a country with a lower recidivism rate. Rwanda is still recovering from the 1994 genocide, which took millions of lives. Rwanda’s approach towards prisoner treatment is completely different from the United States and focuses on perpetrators and victims coming together for reconciliation. Rwanda’s treatment of prisoners is more humane because it treats the source of the crime, rather than the expensive “time out” the United States government sentences prisoners to who have committed lesser crimes than genocide. Does Rwanda's approach to incarceration affect rates of recidivism? Could the United States replicate this approach? With prior IRB approval, we interviewed faculty and students from an urban, public, four-year college who have first-hand experience with Rwanda’s prison system. We use these data, along with the information gathered in a comprehensive literature review, to compare the prison system and offer recommendations for reform.

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Arts and Humanities

Improving America’s Prison System: Using Rwanda as a Template
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