For many law abiding citizens we think of jail or prison as a place to keep the bad guys who get caught. While that is the basic idea there is supposed to be more than just putting up criminals in a tax payer funded kennel. There is supposed to be some rehabilitation going on. I think many of us would agree that based on the number of repeat offenders we have lurking in  our midst, the current system isn't functioning at a very high level.

Chris Surprenant is  a professor of Philosophy at the University of New Orleans. He has just been awarded a grant to study prisons and possible alternatives to the current system. Professor Suprenant hopes to find the answers to questions such as these,

Does it require, in all cases, that we incarcerate someone?  Could it be better achieved by other means of punishment?

In speaking to the Louisiana Radio Network Professor Surprenant said the prison problem is especially important to Louisiana. Our state has more people incarcerated per capita than any other state in the union.

The grant from the Charles Koch Foundation will provide funding for an academic conference and studies related to the questions surrounding incarceration. Specifically are there better alternatives to prison.

There are a lot of alternatives that are used around the world and I think we'd like to look into those and to see what which ones may be able to achieve in realizing justice.

The United States has more people incarcerated on a per capita basis than any other country in the world.