The media tries to portray the "new" prison as a way to rehabilitate prisoners, whether it is through education or drug rehabilitation; however, this is far from the truth for most.
The first point where this fails is the prison system does not transition their prisoners back into the community. The prison system isolates offenders from their community and family. For violent offenders, yes this is what they are suppose to do but people who are needing drug rehabilitation need support from their family and community. Additionally, a person can find more drugs in prison than he or she can find out on the streets; however, at a higher price but they are still there.
The second point where the rehabilitation programs fail is the prisoner has to want to change his or her life around and many have not come to that point yet. Additionally, many states offer time cuts for taking these rehabilitation programs and many prisoners take these programs just to get the time cuts. I have many a prisoner come up to me and say, "Yeah, I am going to go back out on the streets slinging drugs because that is the best way I can make money." Which did not make any sense to me because now most prisons do have vocational schools or college courses available; however, depending on a person's offense, it does not matter the education level, sometimes it is very hard to get a decent paying job once released from prison.
Maybe a good solution for this problem is for a first time drug offender or a person who seems to suffer from a mental illness, put them in a rehabilitation center instead of a jail or prison. Prison only makes people angrier and teaches them how to be better criminals. I have seen people go into prison for white collar crimes and come out drug addicts and better criminals. The prison system is something that definitely needs to be re-worked and re-adjusted because it is definitely failing.