Supermax Prison Case Study

Powerful Essays
With supermax prison, many feel that they need in order to help with prison overcrowding and maintaining control over inmates that are a threat to the security as well as staff and other inmates. “The Federal Bureau of Prisons returned to the idea of controlling the most violent and disruptive inmates in indefinite solitary confinement when it opened Alcatraz in 1934”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). Over the years it was “judged as an expensive failure, it symbolized a penal philosophy that was outdated in an era that espoused rehabilitation, not punishment, as a goal of incarceration”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). Following these issues, it was later closed. Although some felt that these behaviors came from the long-term segregation some argued…show more content…
Last but not least, in order for some inmates to earn their way out of supermax segregation, they were asked to participate in a study to determine if mental health issues were a problem for the confinement which only allowed inmates to come out of their cells for 1 hour a day. Also, once the inmates and staff of these type of prisons where back in society their where many of questions on whether or not the long hours and shifts inside of supermax prisons had a positive or negative effect on them. The type of inmates that are housed in supermax prisons are ones “who are dangerous or chronically violent, have escaped or attempt to escape from a high security correctional facility, have incited or tempted to incite disruption in correctional facility, or who have prayed on weaker inmates are removed from general population and housed in supermax prisons”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). Many of these types of prisons were “originally designed to house the most violent, hardened, and escape-prone criminals, Supermaxes are increasingly used for persistent rule-breakers, convicted leaders of criminal organizations and gangs, serial killers, and political criminals”(Ross,…show more content…
The officers tend to create what is known as a “we/they syndrome”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). This relationship is mainly between the officers and the inmates. Also, it has been said that “when there is little interaction except in control situations, the adversarial nature of the relationship tends to be one of dominance and, in return, resistance is present on both sides”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). Last but not least, the officers tend to lose their capacity and become shocked by the things they see or witness in these type of prisons”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). “Over time it destroys them psychologically and brings outrage and sadism and violence and brutality”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). If my state was planning on opening up a supermax prison, I would present them with the ways inmates can earn their way out is by self-control, following the direction of the staff, and participate in work-study programs as well as educational programs. Although “supermax prisons subject inmates to extreme isolation and sensory deprivation for extended periods of time, the main goal and focus are to teach them how to obey the laws of the facility and have respect for the staff and other inmates”(Schmalleger & Smykla, 2015). In order to released from supermax inmates will have to go under monitoring to ensure that they have gain control of their behaviors
Get Access