Correctional System

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The U.S. correctional system has come under critical public scrutiny which has corrections administrators scrambling to find ways to run effective correctional facilities. The reality of corrections administration today is that it is changing. Major issues of this changing environment include ongoing budget concerns, privatization, technology, overcrowding, program issues, personnel management, security issues, and legal issues. This paper examines these current issues facing correctional administrators today. Budget issues in today’s tight economy are a constant source of pressure on correctional agencies who must find new ways to accomplish their mission. Budget pressures have forced some states to delay opening new facilities because of their inability to afford to hire staff. In other cases, fiscal cutbacks have caused the closure of correctional facilities that have operated for years under the assumption that with the growing prison population they would never be shut down. Budget cuts also make prisons more dangerous. Many needed programs, such as mental health services and rehabilitation programs, are often eliminated due to lack of funding. Additional staff members are sometimes needed to deal with inmate violence, but there is no money for overtime. Inadequate budgets also lead to overcrowding when additional beds are needed to handle the growing number of inmates. Alternatives have been suggested, such as sentencing reforms that allow the release of prisoners who commit nonviolent crimes in order to avoid the expense of supporting them. While this may seem like a plausible solution, it may actually do more harm than good. Many of those inmates who are released back into society without proper rehabilitation will only continue to commit more crimes. Also, with no fear of incarceration, they have no incentive to stay out of trouble, so other alternatives must be found. The bottom line is that the budget affects every aspect of the correctional facility...
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