"Prisons are closed institutions. They are established and funded by governments to hold people against their will". This seems to be a known thought amongst society members based on personal beliefs. People often ask themselves if there is a need to reform prisons. The government, citizens, educators, and even prisoners are divided about the right answers. There is disagreement in society about how the purpose of the prison system should be considered. On one hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek deterrence, incapacitation, or retribution to avoid appearing too soft on inmates. On the other hand, the regulations of the prison system may seek to opportunities to re-socialize prisoners or to effect changes in the character, attitudes,
A special case of the rational choice theory is the deterrence theory, which emphasizes the costs of legal sanctions (Liska & Messner, 1999). While the rational choice theory was initially applied to the field of economics, and considered all costs, the deterrence theory was initially applied to the field of law and only considered legal costs. Accordingly, as a deterrent for committing crime, increasing the severity of punishment, increasing the certainty of punishment, and increasing the celerity of punishment will all increase the legal costs for committing crime and, consequently, decrease the benefits versus cost ratio. Furthermore, there is a specific deterrence and a general deterrence (Barkan, 2006). Specific deterrence discourages individuals from committing crimes because they have learned through personal experience (i.e., by being punished) that the cost for their criminal behaviors is too high (Akers & Sellers, 2009). General deterrence, on the other hand, discourages individuals from committing crimes because they have learned through observation (i.e., by observing the suffering of offenders who have been punished) that the cost of committing crime is too high. By using fear, the behaviors of would-be criminals can be modified.
There are several different programs focused on offenders. These programs range from religious, educational, medical and job training related. The main goal in each program is to reduce the chances of them returning back to their old habit that originally placed them in jail or in other words reduce recidivism. Recidivism is a very important element in the criminal justice system, because reducing or increasing the number of re-offenses in the community could be beneficial or make the community flood with criminals and their behavior. Without a focus on recidivism, officers will be arresting the same offenders repeatedly and the individual will not be getting the help they need, which could be the difference of them being a productive member of society or not. With
In America, the private prison industry was made for necessary profit based off of the management of prisons by large, private companies. In David Shapiro’s insightful report “Banking on Bondage”, he discusses the logistics of the United States prison system, saying “In America, our criminal justice system should keep us safe, operate fairly, and be cost-effective”. Today, the United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world, including Russia, China, and Iran. Alongside the issues of private prisons, the increasingly apparent problem of mass incarceration has stripped record numbers of American citizens of their freedom, has a minimal effect on public
It explains criminal careers in terms of destructive social interaction and stigma-producing encounters (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis, 2010). Social reaction theory explains why people choose criminal careers because of labeling. Negative labels have enduring effects in a person’s social interactions and self-image. Social reaction is concerned with how self-identity and behavior of people can be determined or influenced by the terms that are used to describe or classify them and is associated with the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis, 2010). It distinguishes between primary deviance and secondary deviance. Primary deviance arises from a variety of reasons that are biological, psychological, and sociological. Secondary deviance is a way of defense, attack, or adaptation to a problem caused by social reaction to primary deviant behavior (Brown, Esbensen, & Geis,
In 1994, Congress passed the Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive Grants law. Truth-in-Sentencing laws were put into place to help reduce the possibility of an inmate being able to have early release from incarceration. Each state has their own policies, rules and regulations for inmate release. The truth-in-sentencing law requires that offenders serve the majority of their prison sentence imposed by the court in order to be eligible for release. Previous policies included reducing the amount of time the offender served on a sentence, such as good behavior, earn time, and the parole board made a decision to release an inmate. These policies were restricted or stopped when the truth-in-sentencing law came into effect. Abadinsky, Howard, Probation
When society is not accepting the newly released prisoner, it makes them feel like they don’t belong, so they go back to their old ways,which involves reoffending. For instance, when a person has served a long-winded sentence,it could be hard to convert what society is now versus what it was before. In addition, programs are provided to reduce the rate of recidivism, but the effectiveness of the program is the bigger issue. Programs tend to be generalized and do not meet the needs of an inmate on an individual level. Also, the program could lack the essentials such as funding and proper staffing. Without those necessities, it could take away from the effectiveness of the program. Peer pressure and other provocations can also be a contributing factor to recidivism, especially for juveniles. For example, a juvenile might think that they earn the respect of their neighborhood and believe that going in and out of prison is “cool.” A previous example in the text explains economic stress. Economic stress could be summed up using Robert Merton’s Strain Theory. It’s all about finding your place in
School programs were without supplies, inmate classifications weren’t distinguishable, detailed treatment plans fell short, and harsh fines depleted the worth and value of paid labor. Due to the lack of guidelines for indeterminate sentencing the original promise and purpose was lost and abused by officials seeking to gain further control over insubordinate inmates. Parole board members were unqualified and failed at adequately reviewing offenders progress or failures. Overcrowding pushed for early release, rendering requirements lax and often overlooked. Once released, parole officers failed at physically supervising offenders, relying on paperwork and formalities to monitor their progress and reform (Blomberg & Lucken, 2010, pp. 80-82).
The United States is faced with a major issue of mass incarceration and prison overpopulation. With the largest prison population in the world and the second highest incarceration rate per-capita (1 in 100 citizens is behind bars), the United States’ corrections system needs to be reformed now, through both policy and administrative changes. While I am certain you are familiar with these statistics, I would like to emphasize that using incarceration as the primary response to social problems as is happening today in the United States not only impacts those individuals incarcerated and their families, but also costs tax payers billions of dollars.
Changes in the sentencing laws across the United States have accelerated the need for alternative methods of punishment and prevention. As societal norms change and technological advancements continue to improve the way we live, modifications to laws are made accordingly. It is only appropriate that new and improved solutions to the probation and parole systems be implemented, examples are front door and back door programs. These programs have contributed greatly in resolving various issues that have presented in the correctional system because of the changing sentencing laws. The laws that have changed and have had influenced the need for programs include, changes in the compassionate release laws,
Overcrowding in prisons should not be considered cruel and unusual because they are not being harmfully affected enough for it to violate the legal standard of cruel and unusual punishment. It should not be considered cruel and unusual, because being in prison is a punishment and “Punishment is justice for the unjust.”-Saint Augustine
With well over two million people incarcerated in the United States and countless more tied up within the criminal justice system, alternatives to incapacitation are needed now more than ever. Jails and prisons are feeling the strain on their resources due to overcrowding. This overcrowding has debilitated their ability to function as a place to serve out sentences and to rehabilitate inmates. Alternatives to incarceration could reduce prison populations as well as reduce economic costs. A few programs that have shown to be effective are probation and restorative justice. Probation in particular has allowed for individuals to be interactive with the community and has substantially reduced the prison and jail populations. Restorative justice
The justice system is constant work in progress as the system must change and evolve to meet the needs, demands and requirements of the times we live in. The justice system and its statutes sometimes struggle to keep up with the ever-changing world; thus making them lag behind. As stated, one of the core functions of the justice system is to provide intervention programs for those individuals who are deemed to be at risk. Intervention programs do exist but still the justice system is overburden with many criminal cases. The inability of justice programs to work as they are intended to is seen as one of the significant problems facing the justice system. Welsh and Harris (2013) seeks to explain the inability of the justice programs to not work in stating, “The problem is that many criminal justice interventions fall short of their goals because of poor planning, poor implementation, and poor evaluation. It is fair to say we have not yet discovered “what works” to reduce crime.” From this, it is clear that the development of interventions is not the issue and not the cause for them to not succeed in their mandates but the problem is within their planning.
Now, the labeling theory with the emphasis on social reaction theory in regards to deviant or criminal behavior denotes how social, governmental, or economic institutions construct and promote specific labels which
What is the purpose of corrections? Briefly describe different types of correctional supervision. The many facets of the correctional system are all centralized towards one goal that is to carry out the criminal sentence that has been given to the offender. Corrections is defined as any action apply to offenders after they have been convicted and implies that the action is corrective, or meant to change the offenders according to society's needs. It is also stated that corrections have been placed on those individuals that have not been convicted of a crime they have been merely accused. Offense, guilt, and punishment are the three basic concepts of Western criminal law. It is upon these basic concepts that conduct is deemed criminal. As stated