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Cultural Diversity in Correctional Facilities Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: May 20th, 2021


Correctional facilities are places characterized by pronounced levels of cultural diversity. In these facilities, individuals from various parts of the country are forcibly detained due to a range of wrongdoings that they commit. The cultural diversity that stems from the interactions among the inmates and their wardens generates a number of challenges. It is important to explain that the judicial systems do not scrutinize the lifestyles, religious inclinations, and ideologies of individuals when detaining them after they perpetrate a crime. As such, the culture evident among inmates reflects the diversity in the society. Notably, culture is in effect what dictates the behavior of individuals as they undertake their daily engagements and interpersonal relationships. Therefore, the power of culture is also practical in correctional facilities where inmates encounter challenges orchestrated by diversity. The purpose of this assignment is to examine cultural diversity in correctional facilities where I work and discuss the challenges that diversity presents in these facilities.

Relationship between Diversity in Correctional Facilities and Correctional Education

Correctional education focuses on improving the skills held by inmates in detention centers (Reed, 2015). Imperatively, correctional education instills expertise so that after their release, the individuals lead productive lives and integrate successfully with others in the society. Griera and Clot-Garrell (2015) assert that just like any society, incarceration facilities are complete societies with diversities evidenced by detained individuals. The relationship between diversity in detention centers and my area of specialty, which is correctional education, stems from the fact that in the course of undertaking my duties I interact with inmates who have diverse cultures.

In some cases, the cultures that they present may conflict with those that I hold but because of the training that I have, I appreciate their diversities and instill positive values in them. According to Forehand and Kotchick (2016), all societies have diverse lifestyles and cultures that dictate their livelihoods. As such, detention facilities have their own set of cultures that determine the life of inmates before, during their time in the facilities, and after their release. Evidently, people cannot undertake their duties in correctional facilities without experiencing cultural diversity, a factor that compounds the close relationship that exists between correctional education and diversity in detention centers.

Challenges of Cultural Diversity

Conflicting Lifestyles and Ideological Differences

In correctional facilities, it is likely to witness inmates who have conflicting lifestyles. The conflicting lifestyles emanate from the diversity that is evident in various societies. Before people are incarcerated, they usually live in a society that has certain lifestyles. The cultural values held by these societies, typically encourage all its members to adopt and abide by the principles. Focus groups and opinion leaders in these societies reprimand those who try to live in a contrasting manner. Therefore, several inmates have been members of particular societies before their incarceration practice a particular culture even after their detention.

The conflict becomes practical because while some lifestyles are deemed as suitable and morally correct by some inmates, their counterparts may look at the practices as bad and unethical. Consequently, when inmates interact and witness such acts from their counterparts, conflicts concerning lifestyles emerge. In the United States, for instance, several violent cases in incarceration centers revolve around cultural issues between Hispanics, Black Americans, and the white inmates (Campbell, Vogel, & Williams, 2015). Since the conditions in detention centers limit the freedom enjoyed by inmates, conflicts attract violent solutions that can result in cold blood murders.

Another challenge that has a close relationship with cultural diversity in correctional facilities is ideological differences. Inmates in a correctional facility are individuals brought from different parts of the country. Martínez-Ariño, García-Romeral, Ubasart-González, and Griera (2015) elucidate that besides their diverse places of origin, inmates have different professions that they undertook prior to their detention. Therefore, when they interact and share a common environment, there is a high chance that the inmates will experience differing ideological views. It is worthwhile to note that culture is not only a set of values inculcated by society but is also a combined set of values acquired by individuals all through their time in particular societies, learning institutions, and workplaces. As such, having worked, schooled, and lived in a certain society, inmates will always have a set of values and ideas that they believe are correct. Remarkably, the ideas held by a particular set of inmates may not necessarily be in harmony with those held by others in the facilities, a scenario that leads to a conflict of ideas among them.

Discrimination, Dominance, and Bullying from Some Cultures

Fundamentally, discrimination, dominance, and bullying from influential and dominant inmates are also among the challenges experienced in correctional facilities in the United States and globally. Reed (2015) claims that when the cultures of inmates clash, some of them try to impose their values on others. The limited education among a number of inmates results in a misguided notion that the other cultures are wrong. In the face of the misguided notion, the inmates who in most cases, have high numbers or are dominant, dictate others to follow what they believe is culturally right. Those who fail to follow the set culture suffer from discrimination and bullying from the dominant groups.

In various facilities around the world, inmates who comprise a minority face numerous challenges that include a compulsory change of culture usually inculcated by the dominant and influential inmates. Blagden, Perrin, Smith, Gleeson, and Gillies (2017) argue that although governments encourage all individuals to exercise their rights without interference from others, correctional facilities have a different set of rules that result in serious repercussions in the aftermath of failing to adhere to them. Inmates who profess different religions and have cultural values that are unique from those practiced by the dominant group receive numerous punishments from their colleagues. Principally, correctional education has an important role in the management of the challenges associated with cultural diversity in detention facilities (Reed, 2015). The role of correctional education in addressing the challenges of cultural diversity comprises encouraging inmates to appreciate the diversity and avoid interfering with the cultural practices of their counterparts.


Correctional education plays an important role in improving the rate of successful integration among inmates in incarceration facilities. Since its inception, correctional education has facilitated the successful integration of several inmates who are now leading productive lives in society. The skills acquired by inmates in correctional facilities are not only useful in the facility but are also beneficial to the individuals after they regain their freedom. However, in the course of educating the inmates, trainers encounter the challenge linked to cultural diversities that is evident in these facilities. Since inmates are individuals from different societies, who practice different professions, lifestyles, and religions, the level of culture clash is relatively high. Some of the challenges include conflict of lifestyles and ideas, discrimination, dominance, and bullying. It is important to note that in the absence of measures that curb these challenges, the consequences may be dire and life-threatening.


Blagden, N., Perrin, C., Smith, S., Gleeson, F., & Gillies, L. (2017). “A different world” exploring and understanding the climate of a recently re-rolled sexual offender prison. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 23(2), 151-166.

Campbell, M., Vogel, M., & Williams, J. (2015). Historical contingencies and the evolving importance of race, violent crime, and region in explaining mass incarceration in the United States. Criminology, 53(2), 180-203.

Forehand, R., & Kotchick, B. (2016). Cultural diversity: A wake-up call for parent training–republished article. Behavior Therapy, 47(6), 981-992.

Griera, M., & Clot-Garrell, A. (2015). Banal is not trivial: Visibility, recognition, and inequalities between religious groups in prison. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 30(1), 23-37.

Martínez-Ariño, J., García-Romeral, G., Ubasart-González, G., & Griera, M. (2015). Demonopolisation and dislocation:(Re-) negotiating the place and role of religion in Spanish prisons. Social Compass, 62(1), 3-21.

Reed, D. (2015). A synthesis of the effects of correctional education on the academic outcomes of incarcerated adults. Educational Psychology Review, 27(3), 537-558.

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