This is a continuation of my thoughts on the prisons of America. The criminal system is doing a good job of getting criminals off the streets (crime rates have fallen), but studies have shown that they don't do a good job of deterring crime, or making habitual criminals not want to commit crimes.
I don't know how to prevent individuals from committing the first crime that lands them in jail, but once they are in the prison system I have some ideas.
You cannot teach someone to be a model citizen. You can show them the light but it will always be their choice on whether or not the choose to become an asset to society instead of an liability.
But you can instill fear and hate of the prison system into them.
Prison needs to be hell. You need to have horrible but nutritious food every day except for the last day of the month (show them the light at the end of the tunnel). Also, little or no entertainment. Prisoners should be bored out of there minds, so they have time to think about what they have done. They should not be allowed to work out (a person should not be stronger when they come our of prison). They should be offered the same basic education as everyone else (high school diploma), but after that they should have to pay for any additional education their selves, after they are our of prison.
Everything in prison should concentrate on what they are going to do when they get out. There should be pamphlets (very easy to read pamphlets), that explain how do do simple stuff, such as open a checking account, apply for college, interview for a job.
That is the first time a person is in prison.
If they get in there a second time, more extreme action should be taken. It is a well known fact prisoners have a lower average IQ than the rest of the population.
When should use this to our advantage and brain wash them. You will use drugs to make them more suggestible. We will have to instill in them, the ideas that they will not steal, kill, or do anything wrong. You will have to change their entire outlook on life. We will give them a monk like state of contentment about their poverty and give them a priest like motivation to help others. We could put them in pastel cells with plants that they have to care for. When they leave there cell they will be bombarded with slogans of peace and goodwill toward man. Of course a small percentage of prisonors will fail, and their reaction against the brainwashing might be worse than what they would have done (but the overall average of the crime would be less than before). But once they are back in prison, they will receive special treatment, where their minds will be rebuilt (or we could just ship them to counties that we don't like).