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A jail manager was interviewed to complete this assignment. For convenience, he will be further referred to as Jack in this paper. Almost all key issues Jack mentioned coincide with the areas of concern I identified. Jack (and I totally agree with him) claims that the incarceration rate is the central issue that creates a favorable setting for the occurrence of other serious problems. The problems the jail manager mentioned also coincide with the ones I had in my mind (drug abuse and differentiation by the type of crime committed).
However, Jack emphasized that communicable diseases (including but not confined to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and tuberculosis) were some of the most serious issues to be addressed. He paid specific attention to tuberculosis stating that jails (being overcrowded) create favorable conditions for the development of this disorder and new inmates are at a high risk of being infected. Jack believes that treatment costs are a heavy burden for state and federal budgets. The disorders also negatively affect the development of communities.
Jack has some ideas concerning ways to solve the issues. As for the incarceration rate, he believes that it is important to undertake such measures as obligatory treatment (when it comes to drug abusers). A pretrial release is also an option, especially for minor offenses. The jail manager stresses that even these two steps can reduce the load on jails. He adds that the rest of the problems will be resolved, at least, partially.
Jack argues that keeping inmates who have committed different types of crimes under the same roof is potentially dangerous. He indicates that the creation of facilities for offenders who commit particular types of crimes will be beneficial especially when it comes to minor offenses. Drug abuse will be partially solved if drug abusers will be placed in specialized healthcare facilities. Of course, the use of such measures as urine tests, searches, and inspections will still be a part of daily operations. As for communicable diseases, the issues will be solved after the decrease in the number of inmates in jails. This will result in better conditions (better food, more space, less violence, and substance abuse) for inmates, which will reduce the risk of the spread of the diseases mentioned above.
Jack’s views on the changes that might take place within the next ten years are rather surprising. The jail manager believes that the system will remain unchanged irrespective of the discussion, debates, and politicians’ promises. Jack thinks that it is easier for officials to allocate funds to the custodial system rather than solve primary issues that lead to the rise in incarceration rates. Jack believes that the major issue is not the flaws in the judicial system that sends all the offenders to jails and prisons. The underlying societal issues are primary. Jack claims that society should not give up on the underprivileged people and younger generations, but this is what is happening in the modern USA. After a number of questions, Jack admitted that there could be some differentiation in several years. In simple terms, offenders will be sent to different facilities based on the crime they have committed. Jack sees this as the only possible development as it is associated with the most insignificant investment and effort. It is quite easy to make facilities accept only particular groups.
The jail manager interviewed was chosen due to his awareness of some of the major issues within the custodial area in the criminal justice system. The jail manager’s daily duties involve the maintenance of the operations set, which is associated with certain difficulties and problems (Kania & Davis, 2014). Jack was also chosen as he knows about the actual situation in jails or, at least, in the facilities he works at. He interacts with inmates on a day-to-day basis and knows a lot about their peculiarities and needs. He knows a lot about the system as well, so he can analyze its flaws and come up with some solutions.
Prior to conducting the interview, I implemented some research. Doyle (2016) claims that this kind of preparation is essential as the interviewer will be able to ask the most relevant questions. It is essential to have background knowledge on the matter to be able to ask clarifying questions. Kamrany and Boyd (2012) stress that the incarceration rate is the most significant issue that is to be addressed. The US jails are overcrowded, which makes their management difficult and costly. It is also mentioned that the types of crimes inmates have committed differ, which may have a negative effect on their further reintegration into society (Kamrany & Boyd, 2012). Clearly, people tend to become more focused on criminal activity when they are exposed to the violence and the harmful influence of more serious offenders. Drug abuse is also one of the issues the custodial system encounters. It turns out that approximately a quarter of jail inmates are drug abusers who committed crimes under the influence of a substance. Although various measures are undertaken, inmates still manage to abuse a substance in jails, which is associated with a number of other problems (including security issues, health issues, and so on).
The research implemented was instrumental in developing the questions that were asked during the interview. Thus, I first asked about the most serious issues Jack could name. I did not want to confine his answer to the options I could give as I was interested in a professional’s opinion on the matter. When Jack mentioned the most serious issues, I asked him to share his ideas concerning the peculiarities of these problems that involved the areas mentioned above. I also asked Jack about his views on possible strategies and tools that could be employed to solve the issues he mentioned. Jack had an option for each problem he indicated. Finally, I asked to share Jack’s perspective on the future of the system. Interestingly, Jack provided quite a prompt answer as if he had thought about this issue for a while.
By and large, the interview turned out as I expected. Jack mentioned the major issues I identified during my research. The things that were quite surprising were some examples Jack provided and his views on the system and its future. Clearly, job interviews are relevant as they help the interviewer get to know some real-life facts. It is also noteworthy that the interview allowed me to unveil some gaps as I failed to take into account an important sphere. Jack mentioned the health issues of inmates, while I failed to pay the necessary attention to this area. Communicable diseases can be regarded as evidence of the system’s ineffectiveness. As for the professional’s perspective, I was not surprised by the solutions (which could be quite efficient), but I was a bit unprepared to hear about the future of the system as Jack was too pessimistic.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the major issues in the law enforcement, judicial, and custodial areas of the criminal justice system are overcrowded jails and prisons, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, and violence against women. Managers employed in these areas claim that these issues have to be addressed. Interestingly, although the practitioners focused on quite different aspects, they came up with quite similar solutions.
For instance, they all agree that the number of restorative centers, as well as custodial facilities, should be increased to address some short-term problems. However, when it comes to long-term perspectives, the interviewees agree that the changes should take place on the level of the community. Thus, the practitioners stress that various campaigns can help raise people’s awareness about issues and ways to solve them (especially when it comes to violence against women and substance abuse). Campaigns aimed at encouraging young people (especially those coming from underprivileged communities) to integrate into social life rather than get involved in criminal activities are also regarded as efficient steps to undertake.
Interestingly, the representatives of the judicial and law enforcement spheres had positive views on upcoming changes in the system while the representative of the custodial area was rather pessimistic. It is possible to assume that the custodial sphere is the most vulnerable and needs immediate changes. This area can also be regarded as the final destination of people coming through the criminal justice system of the United States. However, there are various options that can positively affect the development of the system and the entire American society.
Doyle, A. (2016). How an informational interview can help your career. Web.
Kamrany, N. M., & Boyd, R. J. (2012). U.S. incarceration rate is a national disgrace. The Huffington Post. Web.
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Kania, R. R. E., & Davis, R. P. (2014). Managing criminal justice organizations: An introduction to theory and practice. Waltham, MA: Routledge.