Best-selling author Ted Dekker joined John B. Wells for a discussion on America's incarceration complex and the societal forces that fuel this billion dollar industry. "The statistics of our prison system, right now, are shocking," Dekker declared. According to his research, 1 out of every 100 American citizens will spend time in jail in the next 12 months and, in the last 40 years, the incarceration rate has increased a staggering 700 percent. "We're becoming a penal colony," he lamented, noting that the number of prisoners, per capita, in the United States is five times higher than in Canada or any European country.
While Dekker acknowledged that there is a huge industry which benefits from the increasing amount of incarcerated Americans, he called it a "relatively small problem" when looking at the issue on a greater scale. To that end, he contended that the root of criminal activity lies within the lawbreakers, themselves, and how our culture treats them. "They are hurt. They are wounded," he observed, "and so they are looking for love. They are looking for a fix to their lives." Therefore, by merely incarcerating criminals and forcing them to live in the harsh environment of prison, Dekker said, society is only exacerbating the problem and creating "monster factories" which cause increased crime.
On how to solve the problem of increased crime in America, Dekker dismissed a bureaucratic solution, saying that "there won't be new laws that will fix it." As such, he surmised that "unless we love these prisoners, we're never going to change." This capacity to love, he stressed, must first be developed within individuals before it can be adopted in society as a whole. "The journey starts with ourselves," he mused. Ultimately, Dekker suggested that eschewing material gains and finding contentment with oneself are two critical aspects of developing the internal love which can lead to a transformation in society where crime has become a thing of the past.