Like President Obama, Republican presidential candidate and esteemed doctor Ben Carson has also visited a federal prison, but he had a wildly different takeaway from the experience.
Carson agrees that we lock too many people up, but the bigger problem, in his view, is that the ones we do lock up have it too good on the inside.
"I was flabbergasted by the accommodations -- the exercise equipment, the libraries and the computers," he said. He said he was told that "a lot of times when it's about time for one of the guys to be discharged, especially when its winter, they’ll do something so they can stay in there." [...]
"I think that we need to sometimes ask ourselves, 'Are we creating an environment that is conducive to comfort where a person would want to stay, versus an environment where we maybe provide them an opportunity for rehabilitation but is not a place that they would find particularly comfortable?'" he told reporters.
Access to information and education through books and computers is one of the only avenues to rehabilitation that are available in prison.
I was going to crack wise about Carson proposing that all inmates become religious monks, but that too would require access to the books contained in a library. Libraries are bad, right?
Absent the opportunity to exercise or gain knowledge, it's not clear what Carson's alternative path to rehabilitation would be in his Victorian dungeons.