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Justice system refers to the set of social as well as legal institutions which focuses on enforcing criminal law in harmony with stipulated set of procedural rules in addition to limitations. On the other hand, prisons are conventionally institutions and form part of United States criminal justice systems such that incarceration or imprisonment is a legal punishment imposed by country for the commission of a committed crime. Currently, the prisons in United States have become overcrowded, with evidence of sexual abuse, as well as inhumane treatment of prisoners. Nevertheless, the correctional department has a burden of coming up with ways of reducing recidivism. Similarly, the department has rehabilitative programs, programs that enhance smooth reintroduction of inmates to the society as well as approaches that seek to ensure public protection. Although prison has a significant role in the society, solid strategies need to be laid out to ensure reduction of recidivism upon an inmate’s release from prison.
Purposes for prisons in the US justice system
A prison is mainly a correctional facility where individuals are physically interned or confined. Moreover, prisons are conventionally institutions and form part of United States criminal justice systems such that incarceration or imprisonment is a legal punishment imposed by country for the commission of a committed crime. Prisons, therefore, play a significant role in the justice system.
Prisons in United States act as rehabilitation centers for the law breakers. Most important, criminals receive rehabilitation they require to become productive as well as non-harmful citizens in the prisons. In order to achieve proper rehabilitation the prison department in United States has established programs that encourage inmate to develop psychological, emotional along with discipline development. In additional, these programs were initiated to allow in mates obtain educational services with an aim of producing dependable citizens who will become useful in the future. Rehabilitation of criminals’ plays is a vital role of prisons in United States.
Prisons in United States play a particularly suitable ground for punishing inmates for the crimes they have committed. Prisoners are contained in a secure place where they are not supposed to interact freely with other citizens. Prisoners receive punishment by being kept away from family members and breaching their freedom of movement. Even though, this is the case, other prisoners are punished by their fellow inmates despite the fact it was not the objective of the judgment that was prior to the imprisonment. However, a number of people support this type of punishment believing that prisons have a role in its execution (Dolovich, 2005). All in all, most inmates are sent to prisons by federal courts to be punished of the crimes they had committed.
Prisons also protect innocent civilians in the society through segregating criminals from them. People found to be a threat to individuals in the society are sent to prison to allow propagation of peace. Segregating the criminals will not only prevent them from committing more crimes but also they protect civilians from cruelty of criminals. Moreover, property as well as national wealth is protected from being mishandled by the criminals. Prisons, thus, is not only a correctional facility, but also it serves as protection agent against criminal acts to united states and civilians.
Condition of US prisons
Currently, the prisons in United States have become overcrowded. According to statistics cited by the commission mandated to look at the condition of prisons in United States, the inmate population has quadrupled over the past two decades (Geiger, 2006). The commission stated that the current population of inmates stands at about 2million people in all states. This figure is high above the expected one and indicates overpopulation in the prisons.
Similarly, there has been evidence of sexual abuse among the prisoners in the United States prisons. According to the high level commission, aver one million inmates have already been sexually assaulted over the past two decades. Most important, out of this number, quite many have passed on because of sexual assault and related cases. Sexual abuse is believed to emanate from the poor state of prisons and has significantly affected the credibility of correctional department in the United States. However, the department has laid up programs that are meant to reduce the sexual abuse cases among the inmates. The programs were initiated after an investigation carried out by the high-level commission which was to check on the conditions of prisons.
Moreover, correctional facilities have been suffering from accusations of inhumane treatment inside the prisons. There have been frequent reports of corrections officers in the United States engaging in misconduct especially mistreating the inmates. Similarly, the officers have been using crude methods of dealing with inmates, for instance some have engaged in physical harassment of the inmates. Consequently, there have been cases of violence inside the prison doors as the inmates try to retaliate. These cases indicate an unhealthy condition that exists in United States prison currently, which calls for intervention in order to achieve the stipulated purpose of the prisons.
Reducing recidivism in modern prisons
According to Dolovich (2005) recidivism is an act of an inmate repeating the same undesirable behavior which made him be imprisoned and has already faced the full consequences of the same. To reduce cases of recidivism, correctional department in United States has come up with programs with hope of correcting inmates’ behavior. Such programs include education along with rehabilitation of the prisoners.
Educational programs are a prison department programs developed to reduce recidivism cases in United States. According to Geiger (2006), prisoners have lowest educational rates as well as highest levels of disability and illiteracy more than any other segment of the society. Subsequently, most of these can qualify for paroles at some time in the future, as well as, most of them are unprepared for life after imprisonment. Henceforth, most of the inmates will tend to commit similar crimes to the ones that led to their imprisonment. To enable prisoners become dependable as well as useful to the society, there is a need to invest in educational programs in prisons. Inherently, education will impact the necessary skills that will encourage inmates to be involved in useful activities once they are out of prison. Moreover, education will train the inmates to become responsible and open up many ways of supporting oneself other than crime. Educational programs, therefore, will reduce recidivism cases in United States.
In addition, correctional facilities have embarked on substance abuse treatment as a means of reducing recidivism. In United States, substance abuse has been categorized as a widespread problem affecting the prison population, and with the re-addiction following release of inmate marked as a frequent root of recidivism as well as a barrier towards achieving stable employment. Consequently, the released inmate will be imprisoned again. To cub this, correctional facilities have been involved in mandatory treatment of prisoners affected by addiction. Moreover, most of these facilities have initiated substance abuse programs not only in prisons but also continued as well as intensive care management alongside parole supervision of the free inmates. According to Seiter (2011), substance abuse treatment of the prisoners has played a significant role in reduction of recidivism.
Furthermore, prisons have come up with employment services programs to address recidivism cases in United States. Notably, lack of proper work and jobs of released inmates has been a cause of recidivism in United States. Most of the institutions find it hard to accept people with prior criminal record, making crime become the only source of income for such persons. Lack of jobs has hence increased recidivism rates and prisons have initiated employment service programs which have become effective. For instance, the report released by New York’s community and Law Enforcement Resources indicates that recidivism rates of inmates who participate in the programs stand at 17 percent whereas for them who have refused to engage in the program depict 41 percent recidivism rate.
Prison rehabilitation programs in United States are diverse and target a specific group with specific needs. The programs usually provide education in prison as well as training such as religious training of inmates. Most important, this training is useful in assisting inmates to be acclimated to life outside prison doors. The programs include education religious prison, alongside religious rehabilitation programs.
Religious rehab programs serve as a main part of rehabilitation programs. The program calls for teaching of different religious faiths to prisoners, which depend on the major religion (Seiter, 2011). Henceforth, in United States, most prisons will allow teaching of religions such as Christianity and Islam to cater for the majority of inmate’s religious belief. Consecutively, many believe that prisoners’ soul need to be healed after dark past and, therefore, support the religious prison rehabilitation programs. Inherently, the programs initiate a positive perspective amongst the prisoners giving the prisoners a hope for a better future. Similarly, the prisoners will tend to take advantage of the chances presented to them, and interestingly, a number of prisoners who take these programs may end up becoming religious leaders. Religious prison rehabilitation programs are, therefore, efficient.
On the other hand, there are educational rehabilitation programs in the prison. Most important, this type of program allows prisoners to acquire academic degrees or vocational. Most of the courses that are available in the universities as well as colleges are available for prisoners. Educational rehabilitation program equip prisoners with the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them have a better future. Moreover, most of prisoners undergoing such programs receive assistance in their job applications.
Reintroduction of inmates to the society
Reintroduction of inmates back to the society refers to offering the prisoners a second chance where they are given a chance of becoming positive contributors to the society as well as the economy (Geiger, 2006). The reintroduction will not only be beneficial to the inmates alone but also it works well for quite a number of people in the society. Specifically, the respective family members of the released inmate benefit most after the return of their loved one. On the other hand, re-entry of the inmate can be a daunting prospect to many.
In facilities where there are reintroduction programs, the inmates learn about anger management, family reunification, as well as parenting, and problem solving. Most important, these programs are rigorous and inmates are required to meet the standards; otherwise they will relocate to a facility that is appropriate to their classification together with their risk level. The reintroduction program provides one with the necessary knowledge and skills that will assist the individual to cope with outside forces. Moreover, the relatives and close people of the inmate will benefit most from this program as they meet with positively changed person.
Nevertheless, lack of re-introduction programs will be a daunting prospect to many people. Often, most of the inmates are not well prepared to cope up with daily challenges that are likely to confront them once there are outside the correctional facility. Moreover, lack of re-entry program will then make the offenders go back to their previous starting point – not only incarcerated but also lacking jobs and life skills necessary to help them land into a stable employment and stand out as contributors to the society. Consequently, this will increase the possibility of inmate committing other crimes. Reintroduction programs are, therefore, important to the prisoners.
Programs to avoid endangering public
Strategies that seek to improve the re-entry outcomes of released prisoners have come into play to challenge the increasing number of inmates returning to communities resulting to high rates of re-offending. The former prisoners threaten the public by committing crimes thereby compelling the involvement of police in the re-entry program to ensure public protection. Moreover, beside the re-entry initiatives, the police have come up with strategies such as increasing surveillance as well as encouraging compliance by the released prisoners with an aim of improving public safety.
To protect the public, community and law enforcement departments have been in support of increasing surveillance (Seiter, 2011). The police in conjunction with correctional officers work together with same individuals at different periods to achieve substantial collective insight into the personalities, as well as family dynamics of the returning prisoners. The information they obtain provides a crucial window into individual circumstances that will enhance or may threaten their capacity to reintegrate successfully affecting the public safety. Team supervision, therefore, which accompanies parole home visits, and parole involvement become a key tool in maintaining surveillance. Similarly, knowledge of criminal as well as substance abuse past of the returning inmates goes a long way in enhancing surveillance. Eventually, surveillance helps in focusing on the intervention strategies which will ensure public protection.
In addition, the returning prisoners are encouraged to comply with distinctive conditions of release. The conditions range from curfews, participation in various programs, random drug testing and upholding regular contacts with mandated supervising agents. These conditions aim at deterring crime that may build upon the events of post-release of the inmates. Similarly, there may be discussions that lead to range of sanctions due to unlawful behavior, alongside incentives that encourage the returning prisoners stay clean as well as drug free. Eventually, this will encourage compliance of the returning inmate.
Although there are strategies that seek to ensure community protection, most returning inmates engage in criminal acts that are threatening to the public. Therefore, to achieve public safety, need for more strategies that will discourage the returning inmates into engaging in crime is apparent. The strategies include assisting victims of crime as well as providing an exemplary environment for the collaboration of the returning prisoners with social services organizations.
To achieve public protection as well as ensuring prison does not re-offend upon release, the returning convicts should be assisted. The assistance should allow alliance of victims together with victims organizations participate in the re-introduction process. Despite the fact that victims may share same goals along with other partners, many believe that participation of the victim will result to negative outcomes of the inmates. However, since the victims and offenders may reside in the same community, the victim may provide helpful insights that will assist in managing the risks that may accompany the prisoner’s return. Involving the victims will, therefore, assist the process.
Similarly, involving the offenders in social services will assist in improving public protection. Social services organizations have a role in enhancing community enrichment programs such as athletic leagues as well as youth mentoring that assist the youth. Henceforth, the returning prisoners should be encouraged to participate in such activities to dampen the criminal nature in them. Moreover, these organizations can help the returning prisoners if they can connect them with positive support services in the community.
Prisons are conventionally institutions and form part of United States criminal justice systems such that incarceration or imprisonment is a legal punishment imposed by country for the commission of a committed crime. Currently, the prisons in United States have become overcrowded, with evidence of sexual abuse as well as inhumane treatment of prisoners. Prison rehabilitation programs in United States are diverse and target a specific group with specific needs and include education religious prison, alongside religious rehabilitation programs. Moreover, re-introduction of inmates back to the society refers to offering the prisoners a second chance where they are given a chance of becoming positive contributors to the society and the economy without infringing public safety. However, to achieve public safety, need for more strategies, which include assisting victims of crime as well as providing an exemplary environment for the collaboration of the returning prisoners with social services organizations will go a long way in reducing recidivism.