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Criminal justice system comprises of three components namely; corrections, law enforcement, and courts. In this case, the main component of study is the corrections component. In relation to correction, we define Justice as a situation where a person receives the proper punishment for a wrong he or she does i.e. the offender is responsible for his or her mistake. Learning about criminal justice in this University has helped me get a proper definition of justice, throughout my study, I have come to learn that understanding justice is not simple and, therefore, going into deep details of it is very crucial.
During my study in the university, I learnt all these details of corrections as part of criminal justice and this has helped me come up with this proper definition of justice. I was able to learn about the different regulations and rules that govern corrections, which many people fail to apply when at work. This is actually how I derived my definition for justice (Tyrer et al, 2009).
My intended career is criminal justice and with this, I will try to give the qualities of the correct meaning of justice and not the opinion of other parties. Justice is applicable to criminals and the punishment given to them should not outweigh the offence but rather equal it. There are so many ways in which prisons ensure that administration of justice is achieved. The current practices that prisons use to show that justice is administered in correcting offenders include NA or AA courses. These courses are very important and can be viewed as ways of rehabilitating the offenders especially those addicted to drugs and alcohol. These courses entail effects of addiction and need to refrain from these drugs.
Inmates who successfully complete these courses come out of the prison as changed individuals and their lives afterwards significantly change positively. Secondly, another practice that is used is the work programs. In this case, the inmates work in groups. This is applicable for those offenders who are not violent. This helps them to embrace the importance of working with other people in harmony to achieve a common goal. Lastly, education programs have been put in place in many prisons to improve inmates’ education levels and talent innovation (Tyrer et al, 2009). These programs aim at shaping the inmates so that they do not commit crimes once they are released from the prisons.
Generally, statistics show that many offenders are illiterate and due to lack of employment, they end up committing crimes. Having this education, therefore, puts them in a better position in the society and can secure themselves jobs once they are out of prison. This reduces their chances of committing any crime again. To a higher degree, everyone will agree that these three practices used in the prisons demonstrate justice. This is because; they are all aiming to get the inmates into living a normal and acceptable life in the society. Unless on selfish motives by certain individuals, although the probability is minimal, these practices may not result into injustice at any given point. This is because they generally help in improving the lives of the inmates.
Before the American September 11 attacks, many prisons were reluctant on their rules and regulations. Just after this attack, there were numerous changes in corrections that were done. Three of these include regulation of the kind of reading materials available for the inmates. There is a restriction on the books and other reading materials in the prisons. Inmates are only allowed to access particular reading materials. Those, which have information, which can lead to threats within the prisons or even outside, were banned. A good example of such books is Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’. Secondly, there was a regulation on what the officers are permitted to do or say regarding the spiritual beliefs of the Muslims. Re-adjustments were done such that any misunderstanding between them and the inmates could not arise. Lastly, there has been a great change on housing regulations (Tyrer et al, 2009).
Generally, these changes are positive. Banning particular books that pose danger to inmates character change is a wise idea that will help reduce the number of crimes. It will only allow them read those books that help in character building and hence, better their lives. Changing the regulations on what officers can do or say, it is a change that ensures that inmates with different religious beliefs get the respect they deserve and that they do not feel rejected or looked down upon due to their spiritual faith. This, therefore, gives a sense of freedom of worship in the prisons. This is important because if fully defines what is expected of a prison system.
Lastly, the change in housing regulation is another positive idea. The rate of injuries would be high if the inmates were to live together in the same cells. Inmates tend to segregate themselves and they, therefore, have no choice in case they do not like the changes because in every prison, officers are allowed to use force after direct orders are made. These changes are worthwhile and several improvements on crime frequency have been recognized. The professionals in the field did not resist these changes because it was to the benefit of both the inmates and the correction officers (Matthews et al, 2007).
It was a means of safety to everyone in the prison system. The public resistance on these changes is insignificant; this is because of the positive results that the inmates benefit from. From my point of view, these changes were done just after the attack. It is more evident that these changes could have not been done if this attack had not happened. Considering, the ban of books, this was done so that inmates do not get a chance to plan for terrorism while they are imprisoned. To a high degree of confidence, I can conclude that the attack was a trigger to these changes and could otherwise, not put place.
In the next ten years, corrections as part of the criminal justice is likely to face several challenges, three main challenges are; privatization, overcrowding, and escapes and rioting. Many criminals are imprisoned everyday but the number of those released or given death penalty either reduces, or remains constant. Due to this, prisons are getting full everyday. This shows that in the next ten years, overcrowding in these prisons will be the major problem (Matthews et al, 2007). Overcrowding poses danger to health of the inmates within these facilities. There are increased cases of contagious diseases like tuberculosis in many prisons today. Its infection will, therefore, be worsened by overcrowding. If a single inmate by any chance has this disease, many of them are at risk and this may lead to its spread. Overcrowding also lead to poor sanitation resulting into hygiene related diseases.
Privatization is also a challenge that every correction officer is certain of. The government is loosing money and may not be able to run the prisons in the next ten years. Privatization by itself is not the main challenge in this case, rather the effects that come with privatization are. When privatization of prisons occurs, it is not easy to provide all the facilities and needs of a prison as an individual owner. In this situation, there will be more crimes rather than reduction. Privatized prisons will have few correction officers and may not be able to handle all the inmates. Lastly, the other challenge that is likely to arise in the next ten years is chances of rioting and Escapes (Matthews et al, 2007). When there are riots in prison, many inmates are likely to escape especially when there are few officers serving there. In cases where rioting occur, other outside security teams are involved, this means that the prison should have enough money to pay them because it is expensive.
The main reason that led to identifying these challenges is the facts on ground now. There are challenges that are minor in the current prisons and if no corrective measures are taken, these challenges are going to intensify and in the next ten years, they will be big problems and may be hard to overcome. Apart from the three challenges discussed, there are challenges that people face in trying to bring change in the prisons and they are likely to be a big problem in the future. These challenges include; need for persistence and planning in order to remove change barriers. This also need motivation for the people involved to do their work effectively. There is also a challenge on leadership, for successful change to occur; there should be strong and determined leaders who have the heart to work for the betterment of the whole system (Tyrer et al, 2009). This good leadership system should be sustained for a long period because change is bound to occur after a long time of hard working. Moreover, it is not enough to provide information on how change can be achieved. There is a challenge on methods and ways of collecting data that can be used to put ideas into action.
In addition, there is a big challenge on people’s perception about correction. Many people think that they are capable of enforcing corrective measures on offenders and successfully achieve their goals. Many people say they are experts in criminal behavior and corrections although they do not have empirical evidence but just rely on other people’s ideas or opinions. In order to handle these challenges, I suggest that correction officers and professionals have to go to the field to impart knowledge, need for empirical facts on people other than working from the office, and expect things to happen.
They should hold conferences where they discuss statistical techniques and methodology of how to overcome these challenges rather than dealing on findings and their relevance in the prison system. These correction researchers should also include quality and program integrity in their research. Lastly, there should be more efforts on institutions of teaching criminal justice (Matthews et al, 2007). Students should be given the knowledge base, competence, and better skills as well as exposing them to other disciplines, which are, deemed relevant. This gives better professionals in the correction fields in the future hence being able to overcome the challenged facing the prisons.
The future of correction gives a lot of challenge to learn about. Due to the challenges discussed, it is clear that corrections will take a different direction in the future. There is need to review most of the prison regulations to give a better chance to correction. Imprisonment will get other options that will be used as an alternative way of correcting the criminals. The most likely alternative for this is incineration; this is where the offenders receive other corrective measures instead of imprisonment. This will however be in terms of community work or having open prisons. Community work is where, instead of taking an offender to the prison, he is given a community work like digging trenches under supervision. On the other hand, open prison is where inmates are made to work outside the prison, and then they go back in the evening, and spend the night in open places rather than in cells.
Privatization of prisons as a major challenge that is expected in the future will decrease the effectiveness of correction. Many privatized prisons are understaffed and this is a loophole for increased rate of crime. Other than this, either the future of correction will involve an increased crime, which will double or even become triple of what is experienced now (Matthews et al, 2007). This is accelerated by the different structures that professionals in this field are putting in place. It is true that ‘crime doesn’t take a vacation’. Crime will always exist and may continue to rise if proper measures and corrections are not enforced on offenders. This calls for the need to embrace justice.