Posted: November 28th, 2013
The Last Graduation
The Last Graduation is a film that was directed by Barbara Zahm and DeeDee Halleck in 1997. The film explores the issue of the federal governmental whereby they cut off funds directed towards the effective college prison curriculums. The film is framed within the Attica prison demonstrations that took place in 1971, in New York. The film investigates the educational development programs for the reformatories. The post-Attica transformations included opportunities for inmates to achieve advanced education. The film documents the final closing down of the Marist College, which was one of the educational centres for prison programs in New York. In addition, the film revolves around the tragedy, which occurred because of the decision made by the congress and states in 1994, and this affected the prisoners. The federal government decided to terminate grants that were vital for prisoners. This is because it helped in changing their lives due to the knowledge they acquired while in prison. The film reveals the power of education as well as the boundless prospective for making change. The Pell grants cut off in 1994 led to documentation of the last graduation, which took place in 1995 where the inmates proudly received the degree for various programs.
The two elements from the text are particularly interesting or significant. First, the college education programs and the degree awarded to prisoners are significant. This is quite captivating when providing advanced education programs as well awarding the criminals degree honors for various programs. In fact, it creates change amongst the criminals as well as reduces crimes in the society once the prisoners are released from prisons. The second element that is significant is the cut of the Pell grants. This is fundamental because there is need to reduce the resources spent in the correctional education programs, and direct them to other key sectors such as criminal investigations and crime control in the society. This is because if the government does not control crime, the crime levels will be high thus the expense of the states in providing college education programs as well as catering for the needs of inmates shall increase. Therefore, cutting off these grants will enable the government to educate the public on consequences of crimes rather than educating those who have already broken the laws.
These elements relate to some of the core themes of the course in varied ways. First, the college education programs provided to prisoners are related to the core themes of the course. This is because, under criminal law, correctional education programs are carried out in many jails. Prison education encompasses various activities carried out by prisoners within the prison. They include both vocational and academic education. Such activities are carried out in order to prepare for future success of the inmates while they are outside the prison, and it enhances their rehabilitation while still under custody. Therefore, the college education programs provided in the film are related to correctional education programs discussed in the course of criminal law.
The second element of the cutting off the grants by the federal government is related to the core theme of the course. This is because through reducing the grants on prison education, the government can finance other key sectors especially the Federal Bureau of Investigations that is responsible for investigating and controlling crimes. Nevertheless, the resources can be used to educate the mass in order to increase awareness through educating the public on the effect of crimes in the society. This issue is related to the main theme because, under criminal law, the government is required to set aside resources for carrying out innovative programs. It is the role of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to shield the society from crimes. Thus, education programs are seen as one of the self-improvement prospects for prisoners. However, this should be balanced through distributing the scarce resources effectively in order to avoid leaving other key sectors lagging behind.
The reading affected me because of the rash decision made by the congress and the states in cutting off the funds directed towards an effective college inmates programs. This decision was not effective because college education programs for prisoners are an effective tool for changing their lives. In fact, this programs inspires many prisoners who largely increases their commitment levels, growth as well as create change in the society. The National Crime Bill implemented during the congress made the program to end. Therefore, the rash decision made by the congress made me wonder why they decided to cut off the Pell grants for college education programs for prisoners.
In addition, from the above question of cutting off the Pell grants, I think the federal government and congress have diverse reasons behind cutting off the grants for prison education. First, the increased number of correctional population led to increased government expenses in fulfilling the education programs for every prisoner. The number of inmates kept increasing every year thus the federal government found out that they are spending alot on college education programs. Secondly, the state discovered that more grants are being spent on other basic needs required to keep the inmates in prison thus leaving other crucial sectors lagging behind. Therefore, instead of spending more money for correctional facilities and paying correctional employees, they decided to cut off the programs. I think this was done in order to directed that resources towards other activities such as crime investigations or control so that they can reduce the number of crimes in the states. Lastly, the funding for college education programs became limited and scarce thus, the government had to cut off the grants. This was done in order to raise the national debt, which had already started rising because of too much money that was being spent on the correctional education programs.
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