Corrections Trend Evaluation
Corrections Trend Evaluation
Have you ever sat around your house and watched shows, such as Locked Up, on television and wondered if being locked up in prison is really like what is shown? For some people, that question is answered every day, because they either work in the corrections system or are unlucky enough to find themselves placed in such an institute for offenses they committed against society. However, regardless of why a person is involved in corrections, certain nagging questions will come with this area of the criminal justice system. During the course of this paper, the following areas will be addressed: a brief history of the corrections system, philosophies associated with increasing correctional populations, current and future issues facing prison administrators, and the role of alternative correctional systems. Corrections History
The term corrections refers to an institution that has been around nearly as long as man has, simply because as long as more than one person has been on this earth, man has longed to have what his neighbor possesses that he does not. This often leads people to commit crimes against their fellow man, which has required society to provide a place to house these individuals until their debt to society has been fulfilled. Until the late 18th century, prisons were almost entirely used for the imprisonment of individuals who were unable to pay lawful debts they owed or were awaiting trial by local magistrates. However, prior to this time, there were a number of prisons in the British Empire that had been established for the sole purpose of incarcerating individuals who had been found guilty of criminal acts, with the hope of rehabilitating these individuals in an environment of strict discipline and hard labor. During their incarceration period, inmates of these prisons spent their time either out laboring or in seclusion to reflect on the wrong choices they had made, and seek penitence with the Lord, with hope that reform would be the end result. This was common practice for nearly the next one and a half centuries, until an Irish prison official by the name of Sir Walter Crofton introduced the world to a new form of corrections, which is often referred to today as the three stage system. The first stage of Crofton’s system was the same type of hard labor and solitary confinement the world had come to know. However, the second stage is where things dramatically changed. After the initial adjustment time in stage one confinement, stage two inmates were allowed to socialize in activities and work with one another until stage three. During stage three, which generally occurred about six months prior to the completion of an individual’s incarceration, inmates were transferred to a special segregated area of the prison where they, along with other short-term remaining inmates, were given opportunities to demonstrate their reform and fitness for release in a minimum-security environment. While in this area, the inmates were also often offered vocational training to help them secure employment upon their release. This three stage system, with the exception of a few minor changes, is used today in the United States. Increasing Correctional Populations
In today’s world, many people often wonder if the philosophies behind incarceration have become outdated. Many people have begun to deviate from the beliefs that criminals need to be locked away and the keys thrown away. This change in thinking has given birth to a more progressive approach, one that often sees criminals not as perpetrators of criminal acts, but as victims, themselves, of a society that has given up on them. Today’s more progressive school of thought believes that, when dealing with criminal elements in the correctional system, we need to look more at rehabilitation, restoration, and deterrence over retribution and incapacitation of individuals in the correctional...
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