Watch the following videos in their entirety and answer the critical thinking questions below.
Joshua Benjamin: Re-Entry Difficulties
Q1: Many individuals trying to reintegrate into society face difficulties like Josh did. For example, offenders are expected to get a job and contribute to society, yet many employers won’t hire someone with a record. Discuss these contradictory circumstances and what can be done to change them.
Joshua Benjamin: Prison Victimization
Q1: Discuss Josh’s experience of being sexually assaulted in prison and how he says it helped him understand what victims experience and also brought him to a critical moment in his experience of life and God.
Jennifer Schuett - Prison from a Survivor's Standpoint
Q1: Do you agree with Jennifer that inmates receive “too many luxuries” in prison? Many individuals who experience incarceration suffer emotional and psychological damage. Does being able to watch t.v. or have snacks really make a difference given the number of social depravities that inmates experience? Consider Gresham Sikes’ discussion of “the pains of imprisonment.”
Q2: Should individuals like Jennifer’s attacker be locked up and kept out of society, or is it possible for them to receive treatment and successfully reintegrate back into society, like in Josh’s story?
Q3: What are some concerns about the societal view that certain individuals should be locked up for life? What does this say about society and how does it affect the health and safety of a society?
Chris Farias - Involvement With Restorative Justice After Reentry
Q1: Chris explains that it’s been difficult to engage with people who were very punitive toward him, but that he sees that ultimately they helped him. He states that he embraces that we have to live in this society together and that offenders restoring themselves to community is important. What do you believe the implications could be if everyone in society, including police officers, politicians, students, offenders, non-offenders, etc. embraced this view?
Q2: Chris recommends that individuals entering the program be given an overview of what they’re choosing to participate in in order to fully understand program requirements and expectations to enable participants to be more successful.
Joshua Benjamin: Treatment vs. The Real World
Q1: Do you think laws keeping registered sex offenders away from women and children are always warranted? As Josh discusses, being unable to apply principles he learned in treatment in the real world would inhibit him from practicing healthy habits and safe interactions and participating in society as a fully-functioning human being. Do you think with safeguards, such as the accountability partners Josh mentions, sex offenders should be allowed to be in any social setting?
Joshua Benjamin: Employment Complications
Q1: Josh explains that research shows lower recidivism rates when criminal offenders have stable jobs. Therefore, should criminal offenders and, specifically, sex offenders, be inhibited, by law, from so many work places?
Q2: Do you think it was warranted for the President to bar Josh from working at the University? Why do you think politicians often take the stance that they do against sex offenders as well as violent offenders?