People in the society should be able to live in harmony with each other. However, it is not always the case since some of the members in the society do not abide by the laws set in the society that ensures that people live in harmony. It is for this reason that there is a need to have an institution to ensure that laws of the society are followed and those who fail to abide are sent in these institutions.
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The institutions that the law breakers are put are the current day prisons. The human rights groups argue that every person has a right, thus setting up standards that the prison should have. Today, for a country to set up prison, it has to abide to the international standards (Roth, 2006).
There are several reasons why there are prisons in our society, however, it is notable that one has to be first convicted before he or she is put in prisons. One of the purposes of having prisons is to deter people from committing crime. Incase the society has a reason to believe one of its members is likely to commit crime, they may notify the authority of their concerns and in their response they may imprison a person if they feel it is the only way they can do to deter the person from committing crime. Another reason of establishment of prison is to provide a place where the crime committers in the society can be sentenced for their crimes (Roth, 2006).
Individuals who fail to follow the laws laid down by the society are usually subject to conviction by the authorities and if found guilty of the crime they commit, they are sentenced to prison for a certain period of time depending on the weight of the crime they committed. Imprisonment may range from a few days, months, or even for a lifetime according to how serious the crime is.
Prisons can also act as a shield to the public. The meaning of this is that prisons can act as a way to protect the public from crime committers. Since these people who are held in prison are withdrawn from the society, peace and harmony is maintained. There are people in the society that can not live without causing problems to other people, who are the main targets of the prisons.
Prisons also act as reformation homes. The crime offenders have the chance to change their ways in the prisons through the various programs offered to them when in prison. The time spent in the prison also offers a chance to inmates to reflect on their lives and become transformed (Seiter, 2008).
The rights of the people serving time in prison are usually forgotten. There are many problems experienced in these institutions as a result of being forgotten. Overcrowding is one of the problems experienced in United States prisons. The influx of inmate has been in the increase through the years and there has not been any major expansion of these facilities. Due to overcrowding, the behavior and the health of the inmates have changed which is a negative consequence (Conan, 2004).
The safety of the inmates has also been in question due to the high numbers of inmates in the prisons where segregation of the inmate’s in some parts has not been possible. This usually happens before the prisoner is brought to trial. Violence against inmates therefore has resulted due to lack of separation of crimes an individual has committed.
The sanitary conditions in the prisons are also not adequate. The human rights have also reported that provisions of personal hygiene are inadequate. Due to this problem, there stand a risk that the contamination of the sanitary services may cause a spread of diseases arising from the conditions.
The inmates’ health may also be put in jeopardy due to this problem. The food offered in these institutions is also not of right quantity and quality. The quantities are small while the quality is low thus, there is need to improve the quality of the food to ensure that the in mates health is not put in jeopardy (Conan, 2004).
Recidivism occurs when one repeats what he or she had done even after suffering its consequences or after being taught how to fight it. The prisons are institutions that deal with many different people who have done various acts. In turn, prisons have developed mechanisms of fighting recidivism. A mediation program where a trained mediator meets the offender in the presence of the victim is one of these programs.
The offender gets to narrate to the mediator of the reasons behind the actions he did and what can be done to ensure such reasons do not happen again. In the same session, the victim is given a chance to narrate his side of the story. The two parties then get to reflect on their feelings towards the crime. Termination of these meetings is usually a resolution between the victim and the offender.
Establishment of the religious programs is also another way of ensuring that recidivism is deal with. Prisons have established programs that aim at changing the behaviors of the inmates as well as their motives. The main focus of this program is to ensure a success of the rehabilitation program.
Florida is one of the states in America where this program has been greatly practiced. There is also a program that aims at treating the drug dependants when they are in prison. The reason for this is amidst reports that a big number of in mates have got involved in crime due to usage of drugs. However, it is not a big number of inmates that is involved in this program due to inadequate resources (Seiter, 2008).
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Rehabilitation of inmates is important to ensure that inmates get to turn around their lives and avoid incidences of crime. In prisons, there are various programs that are set up to ensure that this is achieved, among them is the programs aimed at curbing violent behaviors.
The inmates get to sit down and be taught on how to avoid incidents of violence. The main aspect that is taught in this program is ways of avoiding violence. People who were previously in mates are incorporated in this program with an aim of advising the inmates on how their lives have been affected due to crime (Lombardi, 2008).
Rehabilitation programs pull out people out of the society. However, it is equally important to have society programs after the rehabilitation program. The importance of this program is to ensure that the inmates feel part and parcel of the society. The social programs give identity to the inmates and limit any incidences of isolation to the inmates.
The program offers the inmates a chance to reflect on their life and also to realize that there is another life outside prison which awaits them. A sense of belonging is therefore created as the inmates get to reflect on their life as a group.
Skills are also trained during this program so as to ensure that the inmates will get a chance to better their lives once they get out of prison (Seiter, 2008). The fact that this program was not initially in existence meant that the inmates felt isolated by the society around them and resulted to them hardening against their own community. Therefore, the inmates would result to continuing with their past behavior since the support of the society is not there (Tan, 2008)
The inmates do not always transform even at their time of their release from prison. Therefore, it is necessary for the public to be protected during the release of some of the inmates. The currently used approaches to protect the public upon prisoners release are aimed at ensuring that the public are protected from the untransformed inmates.
One of the ways is the prerelease program which involves selection of the inmates that are nearing completion of their time in custody. In this program, inmates are offered specialized treatment. Example of such programs are the back-end programs where the inmates who are about to be released are moved away from the other inmates to get treatment.
There is also incorporation of supervisors of the inmates once they have completed their term in prison. The supervisors are assigned the responsibility of protecting the public as well as ensuring that the offenders follow the court orders and terms of release.
Any violation of the release orders is taken seriously and revocation of the paroles is usually done for those who are not willing to comply with the orders (Cole, 2006). There have also been assessment programs to the inmates to determine the risk the inmates pose to the public once they are released. The importance of this is to establish whether someone is eligible to be incorporated in community programs. In these programs only the none-violent members are incorporated or those without extensive criminal records.
New programs can be incorporated to ensure that the public is well protected and the prisoner does not re-offend once he or she is released. The best way to do this is to ensure that there is a relation between the public and the offenders. Accomplishing this will require a framework of programs that bring closeness between the public and the offenders.
Community integration is one of these programs that ensure that offenders are participating in legitimate accomplishments as well as opportunities. Through this program the offenders get to nature their skills (Cole, 2006).
So as to achieve reintegration, the community correction programs should allow the offender to assume the daily task he or she used to get involved in. The community correction workers should be able to link the offenders and the community to monitor the activities of the offenders.
Using restorative justice system is another way of ensuring protection of the public from offenders. The system is all about focusing on the strength of the offenders instead of focusing on their deficits. Mentorship of the offenders can be provided to them through public volunteers and supervision of their work done by the public. The importance of these is to offer the offenders a chance to collect their mistakes while still being a part of the community.
Prisons are necessary in the community since they offer many benefits to the society as general. However, they should broadly be viewed as correction centers and not as offering protection to the society from law offenders. The standards of these institutions should be at per with the required standards so as to ensure that the inmates also enjoy good services.
In these institutions, betterment of the lives of the inmates and changing their perception to their behaviors should be the main theme. The society should also be incorporated since the inmates form part of the society to help the inmates in changing their life.
Cole .G. F. (2006). The American System of Criminal Justice. Califonia: Cengage Learning.
Roth, M. P. (2006). Prisons and prison systems: a global encyclopedia. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Seiter, R. P. (2008). Corrections: An introduction. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Conan, N. (2004). U.S. Prison Conditions. Web.
Lombardi, K. S. (2008). In the Region Program Aims to Curb Violence by Inmates. Web.
Tan, S. T. (2010). Re-Entry Programs for Women Inmates. Web.