Could Our World Exist With No Prisons? Doubtful, But It Could With Better Prisons

Education, rehabilitation, and society can make it happen.

Damian Delune
6 min readApr 5, 2022


Photo by Hédi Benyounes on Unsplash

A world without prisons sounds like a utopian dream or a nightmare, depending on who you are I suppose. As someone who’s currently incarcerated, even though I am innocent of the crime I was accused of, I’ll be honest and tell you, I am fully aware we are not at a point in time where we can exist without prisons.

However, they should be overhauled and our current justice system changed completely if you want or expect them to be effective.

As it stands today, in the US, almost 62% of people who are released from prison are re-arrested within 3 years. The recidivism rate for people with an associates degree is 14% — it’s 5.6% for those with a bachelor’s degree, and it’s 0% for people with a master’s degree. Yet, obtaining a degree while in prison is almost impossible.

Getting rid of prisons isn’t something we can do effectively, not in the near future, but there are ways to reduce the amount of people incarcerated, which would go a long way towards reaching that goal, eventually.


From 1980 until its peak in 2009, the total federal and state prison population of the United States climbed from about 330,000 to more than 1.6 million — a nearly 400 percent increase — while the total general population of the country grew by only 36 percent, and the crime rate fell by 42 percent. The catalyst of this prison expansion was policy changes that prioritized “getting tough” on crime.

In a lot of areas in the United States, mostly urban, this ‘tough on crime’ looks like cracking down on drug crimes and incarcerating people for inordinate amounts of time for petty drug crimes. Mandatory minimum guidelines have seen people like Edward Douglas sentenced to life in prison for selling small amounts of drugs. Mr. Douglas had never been to prison, but had been charged with selling small amounts of crack-cocaine previously. His third strike was being caught with 140 grams, which landed him a life sentence.

The First Step Act, a rare bipartisan effort by Congress passed in 2018, changed the federal government’s…



Damian Delune

Incarcerated writer sharing real stories about life on the inside, through my wife, Demeter Delune (editor, publisher, promoter, responder)