For decades the American corrections system has failed to provide adequate, much less successful rehabilitation to prison inmates. Paired with other factors contributing to crime, America has the unfortunate distinction of owning the world’s highest incarceration rate. Some prisons offer rehabilitation programs, many of which are very successful, but in an environment of fiscal austerity, they are often the first to be eliminated. Correctional industries are becoming more common in prisons due to their unique ability to be completely self-sufficient in requiring no government funding, as well as to provide meaningful rehabilitation that has a proven record of success. Private prisons have arisen as an alternative to relieve overcrowded public prisons. Some facilities are well managed and provide useful programs. Many private facilities, however, are purely profit-driven, and unless these facilities are held accountable to standards of financial transparency as well as meaningful rehabilitation, their numbers could grow malignantly and become nothing more than warehouses of captive labor for unscrupulous business ventures.
Speaking to a long-standing tradition of the Rockies Report Cards "grading" the region on a variety of attributes, this year includes a brief look at three areas: crime and incarceration in the Rockies, historic preservation in the Rockies, and an evaluation of regional representation by elected officials. The Report Card also tackles issues of wildlife in the Rockies, dedicating three sections to the topic: "Wildlife: Range and Condition," "Wildlife Management," and "Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife." Tangentially, the Report Card addresses water issues and population changes with the sections: "Wild and Scenic Rivers" and "Repopulating the Rockies." Edited by Walter E. Hecox (CC professor of economics), Elizabeth L. Kolbe (CC class of 2008), and Matthew K. Reuer.