Issues of Corrections
Michelle Lynn O’Dell
Take a deeper look into corrections, it seems like a tightly held ship. Yet, the people, funding, and politics are what keep it running. From the judges who hand down the sentence, to the officers themselves who deal with the inmates on a daily basis.
Corrections were not always held in the manner they are today, it is something that shape shifted throughout the centuries. It wasn’t all rehabilitation and reform, it was more mocking in the town square, torture and death sentence. In a quote from (Ch. 2.5 Punishment in the 20th century). “In fact, investigations from the late 19th to the early 20th century consistently found excessive corporal punishment and widespread corruption in prisons across a number of states. Punishments such as hanging by the thumbs; whippings; beatings; water tortures; solitary confinement in cramped, dark dungeons; and starvation diets of bread and water were commonplace. These punishments and general prison conditions harkened back to the cruelty of the pre-prison days in medieval society.” (Stojkovia & Lovell, 2013).
The age of reform were said to be during the first two decades of the 20th century, the progressive era brought an end to corporal punishment. Classification, normalization, education and vocational training were all being used within the corrections system. They started to, in a sense treat the prisoners like actual human beings.
By the 80’s the get tough movement came in, which was more of a punitive approach to corrections than a rehabilitative one. The gangs were coming into focus, creating destruction where ever they wanted to. They were growing by the dozens, pulling in young teens, claiming to be their family. They were responsible for murder, robbery, sexual assault and drug possession and sailing. With this get tough, and three strikes you’re out law, the prisons began to over crowd.
With a quote from (Get-tough stance not helping Ohio prison population). “Advocates argue that adopting these policies will allow the state to roll back its prison population to where it was in 2007. If that happens, they estimate the state will save $62 million in corrections costs over four years. ... Ohio needs to abandon the expensive fiction that locking up offenders indiscriminately makes us safer. It needs to end the revolving-door system that imprisons low-level criminals briefly, then puts them back on the street without treatment or supervision. It needs to develop coherent probation policies.” (The Toledo Blade, 2011).
Huge amounts of funding go in to every prison, but what about the people? The warden, the officers, medical staff, and therapist have to supply a key functional facility. Most of the inmates are murders, yet the staff must treat them with respect and give them their rights. The have to keep the environment safe for themselves and other inmates. Let’s not forget the probation officers as well, they must keep on top of their cases as well.
When trying to keep someone from entry prison or re-enter society after doing time, these people have a tough job. In this quote from the (American Correctional Association). “We cannot truly expect to have any control of a solution if we do not accept responsibility for the problem. Corrections professionals have begun to embrace that concept. Although we understand that offenders must take responsibility for their lives, we also understand that we can no longer just shrug our shoulders at their failures. The people that come out of our prisons, jails, community programs and out from under our supervision are our product, and we have to take some responsibility for the quality of that product. This philosophy, as much as anything, has helped change the way we do what we do. It has given us the motivation to succeed at what we do, sometimes in spite of the offenders.” (ACA, ND).
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