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Inmate Custody & Control in Correctional Facility Essay

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Updated: Jun 12th, 2020

The fundamental objective of each jail is to provide secure and safe milieu for prison staff, inmates and visitors. Usually, an effectual management of inmate behavior is essential in maintaining safety and security in correctional centers. Initially, correctional centers relied on physical containment methods such as steel doors, locks, alarm systems and security glass. Currently, the focus has shifted towards the management of inmate behavior following the failure of physical containment of inmates to secure jails. This essay paper reviews the importance of inmate custody and control in correctional facilities and the methods used to maintain inmate custody and control in correctional facilities.

According to Carlson, Carlson and Garrett (2013), correctional facilities work well when administrators stick to the fundamentals of inmate custody and care. The success of administrators and leaders depend on the interplay between multiple and competing public goals (such as punishment, rehabilitation, determent, and incapacitation), changing legislative priorities, judicial interventions, and negative media coverage. Thus, they should embrace legal, moral, administrative and fiscal responsibility in correctional facilities, irrespective of where the winds of media, judicial, legislative and community relations blow.

Disciplinary procedures instill discipline among the inmates by keeping them within the acceptable limits of standard institutional behaviors (Carlson et al., 2013). A proper inmate disciplinary behavior promotes order and safety in the correctional facility and instills respect for the authority. Again, some inmates will continue to embrace the positive behaviors after their release.

The physical layout of the correctional center should promote a higher degree of security and safety among the inmates and staff. The cells of more dangerous inmates such as serial killers should have extra security rings than cells of normal offenders to protect the staff and other inmates (Ross, 2013). Irrespective of the size of the cells, each should have a desk, bed, a stool, a toilet and a stainless steel sink. The lights and water should always be available. The provision of basic needs minimizes the occurrence of riots associated with basic needs such as sanitation.

Gang Violence Control

Gang violence is common in American correctional facilities (Cole, Smith & DeJong, 2013). It can be controlled through numerous methods such as frequent inmate transfers, denying gang members any recognition, punitive segregation, and lockup. Notably, punitive segregation and lockup are widely used to control gangs in correctional facilities but they are not permanent. Alternatively, transferring inmates to another institution tends to spread the problem to other institutions since gangs operate beyond the walls of correctional facilities. In this regard, failure to recognize gangs in prison is the most viable option of controlling gang violence in correctional centers.

Grievance procedures are adopted in correctional facilities to promote bureaucratization. They are effective if they promote communication of complaints, reconcile displeased prisoners, prevent lawsuits and even resolve personal disagreements (Carlson et al., 2013). To achieve their objectives in a long term, they should have the potential for advancing the resolution of problematic policies, conditions or practices. Thus, unaffected parties in grievances will not accord a lot of legitimacy to the procedures during the advancement of resolution.

Humane institutions are home-like environments that provide domestic atmosphere (Carlson et al., 2013). In other words, prisons are modeled to meet the needs of inmates in a similar manner as their homes. The main aim of humane environments is to reform inmates instead of punishing them. Humane institutions enhance safety and control of prisoners by providing a comfortable environment in correctional facilities.

Accurate screening and classification of inmates are main contributors to safety and security of correctional facilities. Carlson et al. (2013) claim that “the classification of inmates is a process that ensures that a correctional system places inmate in an appropriate institution that can provide the necessary amount of security and supervision” (p. 53). In short, screening and classification enable correctional facilities to separate inmates based on the level of security each needs to restrain and control.

To maintain order and control inmates, correctional facilities should provide their staff with appropriate training and education. The hiring and training programs should always maintain proper background, reference, and psychological checks. Besides, they reinforce fiscal control and promote “true and ethical training, which are essential in diffusing the eruption of violence.

Officers can use a certain level of force. Correctional facility policy and training call for officers to be ready to use legitimate force to maintain control over or gain compliance of inmates (Carlson et al., 2013). The use of force may include restraints, electronic devices, weapons and chemical agents. Mainly, it is justified in cases of self-defense, escape prevention, property protection, other inmates’ protection, regaining or maintaining control. In particular, the use of force is necessary as the last resort and with accordance to the law.

In conclusion, the security and safety of inmates, staff and visitors are a priority in correctional centers. Correctional centers enhance and sustain safety and security through appropriate administration and leadership, disciplinary procedures, the physical layout of correctional centers, gang violence control, grievance procedures, humane institutions, screening and classification, staff training and education, and the use of force methods. Their effectiveness depends on the existing situation and the extent in which they influence policies, procedures, and practices in correctional centers.


Carlson, P. M., Carlson, P. M., & Garrett, J. S. (2013). Prison and jail administration: Practice and theory. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2013). Criminal justice in America. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning.

Ross, J. I. (2013). The globalization of supermax prisons. New Brunswick, Canada: Rutgers University Press.

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