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Prison Systems in Brazil, India, and South Africa
The prison systems in Brazil, India, and South Africa are undergoing a lasting change as the entire societies are transforming significantly. The corrections systems in the countries mentioned above share one important feature in common as prisons in these states are governmental (Coyle, Fair, Jacobson, & Walmsley, 2016). However, the Brazilian prison system is regarded as one of the strictest, which is associated with considerable enforcement in the area of drug-related crimes.
The three countries have juvenile corrections systems that are somewhat different from adult prison systems. Juvenile delinquents have less severe punishment compared to adult offenders. This approach is often criticized as juvenile delinquents may commit serious crimes being aware of possible outcomes that can be tolerated (Kumari, 2015). In simple terms, the preventive power of such corrections methods is not always sufficient.
One of the most common features of the prison systems of the three countries is the lack of resources, corruption, and social injustice (Coyle et al., 2016). At that, the countries in question proclaim their commitment to making their corrections systems efficient and compliant with the global standards. In reality, the level of racial discrimination and violence is alarming (Drybread, 2016). It is noteworthy that racial discrimination is specifically persistent in South Africa although it is also prevalent in Brazil and India. The black population of South Africa is still vulnerable, and young people often engage in criminal activity to survive.
Some of the major differences are related to the rate of incarcerated people. For instance, Brazil has the fourth-largest prison population in the world (Coyle et al., 2016). South Africa has the 11th largest prison population, which is associated mainly with the number of violent crimes. India has the smallest prison population as compared to the countries mentioned above, and it has the 9th position among the countries with the lowest prison population rates.
These numbers are mainly due to the differences in the way people are imprisoned. For instance, in India, 70% of prisoners are not sentenced (Coyle et al., 2016). The war on drugs in Brazil contributed to the increase in the prison population as even those accused of drug possession or use can be imprisoned.
As for the cultural perspective, the three systems share several characteristic features. One of these peculiarities is the focus on transformations. The countries make considerable effort to reform their prison systems making them more effective while being unable to focus on the major area of concern, which is prevention. People living in countries under analysis live face numerous challenges that often make them break the law. It is possible to note that the attitude towards juvenile offenders is quite similar in Brazil, South Africa, and India, but Indian society has the least strict regulations since many offenders are not sentenced.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that prison systems in South Africa, India, and Brazil are characterized by the focus on transformation and development. Nevertheless, violence, corruption, social and racial discrimination still prevails in the nations in question, as well as their corrections systems. The lack of resources and political will makes the countries lag behind other nations regarding the evolvement of corrections systems. However, these countries’ desire to become significant players in the global economic and political arena makes them continue their efforts aimed at improving their prison systems.
Coyle, A., Fair, H., Jacobson, J., & Walmsley, R. (2016). Imprisonment worldwide: The current situation and an alternative future. Chicago, IL: Policy Press.
Drybread, K. (2016). Documents of indiscipline and indifference: The violence of bureaucracy in a Brazilian juvenile prison. American Ethnologist, 43(3), 411-423.
Kumari, V. (2015). Juvenile justice in India. In F. E. Zimring, M. Langer, & D. S. Tanenhaus (Eds.), Juvenile justice in global perspective (pp. 145-198). New York, NY: NYU Press.