The now globally recognized principle of ‘leave no one behind’ has produced many great initiatives. However, the more the ‘abandoned’ of humankind are enabled to lift themselves up, the more groups there are who need this help. This implies that far too many people do not benefit from policies and government programs. One of such groups are ex-offenders who are most discriminated against based on their past criminal records. While this seems justifiable, it is also fair to wonder why most ex-offenders in the world do not have access to post-incarceration care and reintegration. Why do governments purposefully lack policies that benefit ex-offender from socially excluded groups?
Ex-offenders face many inequalities across the various continents and countries of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is normal to be incarcerated for a period of close to ten years before landing a conviction. Sometimes, from a very minor offense. This is disproportionately skewed to disadvantage the poor and benefit the rich. Since the rich can afford lawyers, fines and bribes that keep them away from incarceration. The less affluent end up in prions and stay locked away for many years before their cases are decided. After incarceration, the affluent can afford reintegration. This cannot be said for the other persons. Like most rights, while the affluent can afford luxurious standards, there must be a basic standard which all persons can afford irrespective of their backgrounds.
Rationale for reintegration rights
The greatest challenge many of us endure in working with inmates is explaining why they have rights. Many public holders have been caught with this colossal ignorance. Thus, prison facilities are built merely short of animal pens. It is thought that ‘places that hold criminals should be designed to make a mark on them’. One which would dissuade them from ever committing a crime. In reality, the only mark most prisons give is that of membership to a world of crime. Actually, it is difficult for socially excluded people who have been in prison to return to society. This is true is because they have no place to go to. The right solution would be to help them find a home, but what they often get are warnings and further punishments.
Are we proposing a compensation plan? The answer is Yes! Society gets compensated and we can have a more peaceful world. This needs no overemphasis that society benefits most from the reintegration of ex-offenders.
Human rights are the essence of our mutual existence. Without them, the world would be a place of chaos. This has been the basis of defining international human rights since 1945 and recognizing shared values. Similarly, the understanding of human rights principles have developed over the years and must certainly grow continually until all peoples of the world can stand on equal footing.
Human rights are innate in all men. But they are not beneficial if no one recognizes them. Throughout history, there have come times when the world agreed on what else should be enforceable. It is hoped that this could be one of such times. World leaders must as a matter of urgency, recognize reintegration rights!