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The prison department in any state is charged with the responsibility of confining inmates and executing judgment, as pronounced by the court of law. It is, also, charged with the mandate of looking into the affairs of inmates, such as providing medical attention, food, shelter and other necessities. It seeks to ensure that the basic human rights of prisoners are not in any way abused. It is, also, their responsibility to ensure law and order within the prisons. The prison department
is, therefore, an important organ, whose significance cannot be overemphasized.
The prison society is governed by certain rules, as would be in any organization. This ensures efficiency in the running of the affairs of the prison. It is expected that the inmates maintain high standards of discipline and order. Ethics is an important thing, especially, bearing in mind that this is an institution meant to offer corrective facilities.
- Are prisoners rights valued?
- How do inmates relate with each other during the custody?
- How do inmates relate with wardens in the prison?
- Which measures have the government take to see the prisoners’ rights are not violated?
- How is hygiene in prison considered?
- How do prisoners adhere to the norms and values in prison?
- Are courses given to prisoners while serving there sentences of benefit to their life once they complete their custody?
Norms and Values
The prisoners are expected to maintain high standards of respect within the prisons. They are supposed to obey the wardens as well have respect to their fellow inmates. While these norms are adhered to, the prisons run smoothly since everyone follows the norms to perfection. It is important for inmates, to execute orders as commanded, for example, when it comes to community work, such as mowing lawns and trimming flower beds. Respect should, also, be seen in the way they relate with fellow inmates. Respect to fellow inmates promotes peaceful co-existence and prevents fights and arguments between them.
Order is also an important virtue that inmates are supposed to maintain. For instance, order relates to how organized they are in their dealings. They are supposed to maintain high standards of cleanliness since by doing this they prevent themselves from contagious diseases which can result from lack of hygiene. Other factor that should be considered is the Organizational ability. In this case, it translates how fast the inmates correct their behavior as everything derivate from someone else or something else. In this case, the organization should first show its ability to govern the institution in a proper manner and after their ability the inmates can also show their respect to them as well to each other.
Patience is another aspect that inmates must exercise. Being an inmate comes, as a result of a court sentence. The court may pronounce an imprisonment, whose time varies. It could be one year, two years or a life imprisonment. The inmates must, therefore, be very patient so, as to successfully complete their jail term. In case one don’t have a life sentence, they should use their time well and be willing to learn a course which are normally provided in jails so as to become a deferent person once the custody is over. Humility cannot be left behind in this long list of virtues. Inmates must really be humble, both in front of the wardens as well to their fellow inmates. They must accept that they made mistakes which resulted in been kept in custody. This goes a long way in instilling confidence in the wardens and prison administrators that they have really changed. Humility also helps them learn different activities and is well utilized they can make a turn up in their life and become even prominent persons later in future.
Focus on Correctional
The main objective of the prison department is to offer correctional measures. It is expected that inmates gain a new personality, different from the initial self. Some of them may have been robbers, killers, rapists and others, failing to generally observe the law. The prison department through its various efforts ensures the prisoners are transformed into law abiding citizens who can take part in nation building.
The prison department is charged with the responsibility of using biblical teachings to guide prisoners. There are services well for the prisoners, as well as preachers to spread the Word of God. The biblical lessons range from goodness, obedience, sacrifice, love and respect for human life and God among others. In certain cases, this have been of great aid as majority of these inmates have the in depth knowledge of the Bible, and what it is expected of them by God. Most of them even give their lives to God and focus on changing their lives into meaningful people in life.
Punishment is another factor to be considered and adhered to as recommended by the courts during this period. When the inmates are serving their sentence, capital punishments are given in connection with as hard labor. This is meant to instill in the inmate the feeling that they were, indeed, guilty of an offence and were wrong, when they contravened the law and by doing this some will change completely and try there best not to repeat the same mischief so as not to be in the same situation and since it’s a corrective measure, it can be of help to others. Educational facilities are also offered. The inmates have their own classroom teachers, who engage them to work hard in their academics and, thus, shine like any other student. A majority of them will spend the better part of their time reading, to earn themselves careers. This is important that the individual can take care of himself and will be self-reliant other than engage in criminal activities.
Guidance and counseling is offered. Inmates are given professional guidance and counseling regarding their behavior. They are warned against engaging in criminal activities and other malpractices and advised that it will only ruin their lives. They are also advised on the importance of being good ambassadors of their country. A majority of them hope that their lives will be better once they stick into the guidance prearranged to them.
Vocational training is offered. This is usually in a variety of fields. Some of them learn how to act on stage so well, that they become professionals. Others learn different arts, such as carpentry and masonry, which earn them income, when they complete their sentence. Most of them will engage in more productive nation-building activities and earn praise worthy reports.
The Prison Economy
It refers to the use of prisoners in achieving economic progress. There has been cases of poverty, school dropouts, terrorism, beggars, poor housing, hunger and famine, lack of jobs and the general economic decline. This has translated into a scene of many people resorting to criminal activities to fend for themselves and their families. This has more often than not made the capacity of prisons to increase, in order to accommodate inmates. Most of these inmates are convicts, who had been prosecuted for criminal activities.
The prison economy takes advantage of inmates to provide cheap labor for agricultural farms and industries. Many investors advocate for prisons to be built in their backyard, so that they serve this convenience. The prisons provide labor that has the following characteristics:
It is manual and physical, so the investors will not incur additional costs of employing workers. They therefore save on costs, and thus achieve the objective of profit maximization in their businesses, may they be farms or industries.
The labor is convenient and readily available. There is a large amount of prisoners; therefore, labor shortage is usually effectively countered.
The labor is cheap since the investors will only provide small incentives such as food, and this makes the labor cheap.
The labor requires less of the investors’ supervision. It is the responsibility of the prison department to supervise and ensure orders, which are effectively carried out. This, therefore, saves on costs.
The good side is that the move has been faced by numerous oppositions. The government and human rights groups see this, as misuse and a violation of the rights of the prisoners. The bodies actively campaign against the practice and actually view it been unfair to the prisoners.
The move has also more often than a low quality of labor. This is because of the lack of supervision and, the lack of an incentive making Prisoners to work unwillingly.
Violence in the prisons
There have been increased cases of violence in the prisons. This ranges from violence between inmates, and prisoner-officer violence. This has often resulted in a number of outcomes like, decreased efficiency. When inmates fight among themselves, there is no peaceful co-existence. Unity lacks and therefore it takes too long for an activity to be accomplished.
It has been severally reported that inmates have died as a result of fights within prisons. It is common to hear that inmates were fighting among themselves or they actually beat up an officer to death. This results into loss of lives and other awful activities like
Rape and sodomy are known to be some of the events that took place in prisons every single day. This is especially the case with new inmates, whom the others claim has to receive a “Grace period.” This has often resulted into the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Violence between inmates is when one inmate infringes on the rights of another, causing harm to them. Violence between an inmate and officer is where an inmate attacks an officer and harms them, or where the officer attacks the inmate causing harm. Decreased violence, however, has been noted with time. This happens when various groups of people come together against the practice terming it, as satanic malpractice. These include human rights activists, government agencies, the corporate world and non-governmental organizations. They advised on a number of recommendations that have helped counter this. Such include:
- Expansion of prison facilities.
- The separation of locations of women and men prisons.
- Increased security systems.
- Increased number of officers.
Provision of counseling sessions is of the importance of unity and peaceful co-existence.
Improved freedom for example, the inmates can be visited by their family members, friends and relatives.