PRISONERS REFORM 1Introduction More than 9 million people are sent to prison thought-out the world. Compared to other countries, the United States has the highest rate of incarceration today (Weiss & MacKenzie, 2010). The population dynamics of the United States prison system is appalling as more poor and uneducated Americans continue to be locked up in a jail. Indeed, many of the convicts are African American with statistics indicating that on in three Black Americans are likely to be convicted in their lifetimes.
researcher further suggests that the mentally sick and those with broken family backgrounds are likely to be thrown behind bars (Weiss & MacKenzie, 2010). Places with poor education systems, poor economics and lack of proper housing especially poor and urban societies have severe social effects of high levels of incarcerations. This research discusses the primary correctional goals of prison system in America.
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Retribution The main agenda for punishing criminal wrongdoers is to find retribution for their crimes. Retribution can thus be defined as the process of legitimately punishing individuals for the various crimes committed against state or individuals. Indeed punishing criminals is one way of making the society as safer place. The process of retribution offers justice to the aggrieved families for the pain caused. One more criminal behind bars is a society less dangerous. When justice is served, people get the chance to move on with their lives knowing too well that they cannot be hurt again for the period the guilty individual is locked up (Stojkovic & Lovell, 2013). PRISONERS REFORM 2The disadvantages with retribution is that the justice system gives lesser sentences when the offenders plead guilty and get considerably reduced time.
The criminal justice system is not perfect and investigators as well as prosecutors can make mistakes that water down the strength of the case meaning that suspects can sometimes walk scot free. For instance a murder suspect can plead guilty and get a reduced sentence of maybe 15 years as compared to a full trial when the sentence is life imprisonment. Incapacitation The process of incapacitation rids an individual the chance or ability to commit a dangerous criminal act again.
The community is protected because offenders are locked up behind bars. There is however other forms of incapacitation apart from imprisonment such as court decisions, curfews, restricted movement and drug therapy (Wood, 2007). The most compelling logic of incapacitation of criminals through jail time is that while locked up, the offenders have no opportunity to commit crime against the individuals or society. Zimring & Hawkins (1995) posit that offenders are prevented from causing criminals harm to the community because they are not at liberty or free to carry out the offence.
There are two forms of incapacitation namely selective and collective incapacitation. The main difference is based on the capacity to predict the risk of an offender carrying out crimes in PRISONERS REFORM 3the society. Collective incapacitation the suppositions of offenders committing crimes in future are not used to determine the length of prison sentences or the decision to imprison a guilty party. On the other hand, selective incapacitation uses prediction to determine whether or not to imprison an offender (Zimring & Hawkins, 1995). Prison sentences have a profound incapacitation impact on convicts for the entire period they are locked up.DeterrenceIn the criminal justice system, the act of deterrence is primarily a method of sending a strong message to offenders and the community at large that crime does not pay. When offenders are locked up in a jail, would be offenders are forewarned and those found guilty of having committed a criminal offence are given the punishment equal to their crime.
The criminal justice system is susceptible to giving out harsher retributions to send a message to the community that no one is above the law and that the courts have the prerogative of giving out maximum sentences equivalent to the crimes committed. Stojkovie & Lovell (2013) state that the logic of deterrence is people have the freedom for making rational decisions on their actions and behaviors. The major advantage of deterrence is that offenders when arrested and convicted are embarrassed because of their actions and may not want to repeat the same in future again. The other advantage of deterrence is that the society sends a strong message that new criminal offences will not be tolerated and the system will not hesitate to throw to offenders behind bars. PRISONERS REFORM 4The effect thus is that members of the community will think twice about carrying out crimes that may get them locked up.
The disadvantage is that courts do not publicly show their records and offenders may not be enlightened on types of punishment for crimes they think of committing. Career criminals on the other side think they can always get away with the crimes they commit in the society (Zamble and Porporino, 2013).RehabilitationRehabilitation of offenders is the process of positively changing them to become responsible and law abiding citizens.
The criminal justice system while it has not been effective in rehabilitating convicts, it still aims at releasing changed individuals back to the society when they complete their prison sentences. While it is important to rehabilitate offenders, it may not be the most critical thing to do. The advantage of rehabilitation is that a prison system offers a few programs aimed at changing the lives of offenders such as alcohol and drug abuse treatment plans. There are habitual crimes offenders arrested for driving under influence or drug possession and have better chances of getting rehabilitated in jail (Currie, 2013).
The time the offenders receive treatment in jail sobers them up and there are high chances that they will not repeat the offences once released. The other advantage of rehabilitation in prisons is the availability of group therapies where vocational skills are learned. Offenders are professionally trained and they develop the relevant skills that make them productive as soon as PRISONERS REFORM 5they are released from custody. Guidance and counseling programs gives offenders profound advice on why it is critical for them to turn their lives around. The major disadvantage of rehabilitation is that some offenders lie that they have changed or are cured and fit to lead responsible lives only for them to relapse and commit multiple crimes once they are set free (Chapman, Carey & Ben-Moshe, 2014).RestorationThe criminal justice system strives to promote the culture of responsible citizens abiding by the law by balancing the need to punish offenders and provide justice to the victims.
Stojkovie & Lovell (2013) argue that a good criminal justice system is one that fully comprehends the offense and their consequences by implementing restorative programs in the community. The essential idea is for the justice system to find a mutual ground with offenders, the community and the victims. The advantage of restoration is that the victims and the general community have the chance to interrogate offenders on why they committed the crimes. retrospectively , offenders get the opportunity of apologizing for their misdeeds. They are consequently offered a chance to turn their lives around become responsible citizens and lead normal productive lives (Currie, 2013).
The disadvantage of restoration is than more often than not, offenders and their victims hardly agree to sit face to face again. In the event that they meet, offenders show no remorse and end up not owning up to the crimes they committed. Many PRISONERS REFORM 6instances, victims of murders or heinous crimes hardly accept the fact that convicts have been released from jail and back in the community again. ReintegrationCriminal acts cause serious injuries to the victims as well as offenders and in many instances stigmatization is experienced in the community. Restorative is aimed at reintegrating the victims and the offenders.
The objective of restorative justice is to enable individuals become responsible and productive to the society. There are hurdles in the process because stigmatization of victims by family, the community and friends make it difficult to help people move on with their lives. Loneliness and most traumatic stress disorders are some of the situations many people go through especially in the face of heinous crimes (Chapman & Carey & Ben-Moshe, 2014). Victim blaming is one way that makes it difficult for people to move on with their live because the burden they carry is too much leading to stigmatization.Offenders are the most stigmatized lot in the society because crimes naturally cause fear with the society. When they are locked up in jail, they are separated from their families and friends and once they serve their time they do not have the chance to restart their lives afresh. Often they lack a place to call home, money for upkeep and the opportunities to begin on a new slate. While many of them are rehabilitated and want to lead productive lives, the society is too harsh on them.
Reintegration thus happens when the victims and offenders start to lead healthy PRISONERS REFORM 7and productive lives in the society again. The best way for restoration to thrive is finding a society that mutually respects them; mutual commitment to live responsibly and intolerance for criminal acts (Bachman & Schutt, 2017).ConclusionThe United States of America has tough laws that make it easy for the criminal justice system to lock up individuals behind bars. Many times, sentences people are given are considered severe compared to the crimes committed. Moreover the living conditions of the prison system in American are harsh. As Currie (2013) notes, there has been a rise in female convicts getting locked up behind bars. The consequences have been weak family structures and broken systems. While the criminal system strives to achieve good and turn the lives of convicts around, the rate of incarceration is a worrying trend.
It is worth noticing that the population dynamics of prisoners consists of uneducated and poor members of the society. While the goal of incarcerations is restoring justice to victims, there are factors that make it difficult for the system to achieve its goals and objectives. The essay has identified the basic goals of the correctional system, nothing that circumstances surrounding each case are unique and require different approaches.