Knowledge is a subject with many interesting characteristics. For instance, it is handed down from one generation to the next and in this way can survive for thousands of years. This handing on can happen in many different ways, be it a father telling his son, folk songs narrating stories, written on scrolls or a certain sequence of zeros and ones on a computer drive.
But knowledge not only duplicates but it multiplies. Marie Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach, a German author who lived around the turn of the twentieth century, inspired an meaningful quote which goes as follows: “Knowledge is the only good that multiplies when you share it.”
And one of mankind’s greatest characteristics is its pursuit of sharing knowledge. One very recent account of this will of human beings to share and spread it with as many as possible is the emergence of Internet. So knowledge of things, ideas and workings has always been of importance and was sought after very much. This made it important to also think about the concept of knowledge itself. Over millennia people have tried to figure out the nature of knowledge and find an appropriate definition for it, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates being one of them. Before him and after his time many others thought about the topic as well, following on his ideas or coming up with completely different understandings of the concept of knowledge. But much as this was discussed in earlier times, it is of just as much importance today.
The knowledge I have acquired from being ignorant of the consequences the devices I used to get into prison offered me is the very knowledge I desire to use to empower a targeted group of people called ( Ex-Offenders). Society is suffering as a whole from this disingenuous correctional business. I say business because it offers no corrections, just incarceration. In my stays within the correctional systems I never was offered rehabilitation. May 25th 2010 I found happiness through receiving my vision of “Second Chance Alliance”. I am asking my fellow citizens to think hard about donating to my wife and I cause because we really believe it will make a difference in our communities we are apart of. Socrates cajoling his fellow citizens to think hard about questions of truth and justice, convinced as he was that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” While claiming that his wisdom consisted merely in “knowing that he knew nothing,” Socrates did have certain beliefs, chief among them that happiness is obtainable by human effort. Specifically, he recommended gaining rational control over your desires and harmonizing the different parts of your soul. Doing so would produce a divine-like state of inner tranquility that the external would could not effect. True to his word, he cheerfully faced his own death, discussing philosophy right up to the moments before he took the lethal hemlock. Through his influence on Plato and Aristotle, a new era of philosophy was inaugurated and the course of western civilization was decisively shaped.
Socrates has a unique place in the history of happiness, as he is the first known figure in the West to argue that happiness is actually obtainable through human effort. He was born in Athens, Greece in 460 BC; like most ancient peoples, the Greeks had a rather pessimistic view of human existence. Happiness was deemed a rare occurrence and reserved only for those whom the gods favored. The idea that one could obtain happiness for oneself was considered hubris, a kind of overreaching pride, and was to be met with harsh punishment.
Against this bleak backdrop the optimistic Socrates enters the picture. The key to happiness, he argues, is to turn attention away from the body and towards the soul. By harmonizing our desires we can learn to pacify the mind and achieve a divine-like state of tranquility. A moral life is to be preferred to an immoral one, primarily because it leads to a happier life. We see right here at the beginning of western philosophy that happiness is at the forefront, linked to other concepts such as virtue, justice, and the ultimate meaning of human existence.
The price Socrates paid for his honest search for truth was death: he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” and sentenced to die by way of Hemlock poisoning. But here we see the life of Socrates testifies to the truth of his teachings. Instead of bemoaning his fate or blaming the gods, Socrates faces his death with equanimity, even cheerfully discussing philosophy with his friends in the moments before he takes the lethal cup. As someone who trusted in the eternal value of the soul, he was unafraid to meet death, for he believed it was the ultimate release of the soul from the limitations of the body. In contrast to the prevailing Greek belief that death is being condemned to Hades, a place of punishment or wandering aimless ghost-like existence, Socrates looks forward to a place where he can continue his questionings and gain more knowledge. As long as there is a mind that earnestly seeks to explore and understand the world, there will be opportunities to expand one’s consciousness and achieve an increasingly happier mental state.
The costs of incarceration stretch far beyond prison walls, meals, and guards:
- The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world.
- It costs over $26,000 to incarcerate one federal prisoner for one year — more than the average cost of one year of college education.
- American taxpayers spend over $60 billion each year on prisons.
- Half of all federal prisoners and one in five state prisoners are there for a drug offense — and it’s usually a nonviolent one.
- Men who have served time in prison earn 40% less each year than men who have not been in prison.
- One in every 28 children under age 18 has a parent in prison.
- Long mandatory sentences have led to overcrowded, unsafe prisons
that are less cost-effective than alternatives like treatment and drug courts.
When Raynard Reaves left the North Carolina prison system last year after 32 years behind bars, he left with a bus ticket and the clothes on his back. But he also had something less tangible, something unavailable to most of North Carolina’s prison population: A support system provided by Winston-Salem’s Project Re-entry.
Now he’s a success story, a family man and productive employee with 15 unblemished months of freedom.
The man he is today is a far cry from the 19-year-old heroin addict who committed armed robbery and landed in Raleigh’s Central Prison, a maximum-security institution notorious for its tough inmate population.
Reaves said he credits Project Re entry for much of his success on the outside. The program starts inside prison with a 12-week curriculum of life skills classes. Once they’ve been released, ex-prisoners who’ve successfully completed the 12-week pre-release program are eligible to receive services and employment on the outside. It’s the only pre- to post release re-entry program in North Carolina and serves nine facilities including the Forsyth and Guilford correctional centers.
“I think they should make it mandatory for everyone who is in prison to go through the re-entry program,” Reaves said. Rebecca Sauter, director of Project Re-entry, measures the program’s accomplishments by employment statistics. Every program graduate who goes on to take and keep a full time job and doesn’t re-offend is considered a success. Now the city of Winston-Salem is considering contributing to that success by actively committing to employ graduates of the program, which started in the Forsyth Correctional Center in 1999. City Councilwoman Vivian Burke, who represents the city’s Northeast Ward, said Winston-Salem should be an example for area businesses by implementing an employment program for ex-offenders. Right now, the city doesn’t have a policy either barring or encouraging the employment of ex-offenders. A proposal working its way through committee would encourage departments to hire ex-felons who have successfully completed programs like Project Re-entry.
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This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged #Ex-Offenders, #Michael Santos, #Prison Rehabilitation, #Social Impacts, America, changed lives, disenfranchisement, human existence, injustice, Marie Freifrau, Martha Steward, philosophy, Raynard Reaves, social issues, social justice, Socrates, Struggles.