Handling the Dilemma over Community vs Institutional Corrections

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Handling the Dilemma over Community vs Institutional Corrections It is the first day of break and Jimmy wants to have a good time with his friends. Long story short, Jimmy decided to drive home drunk and crashed into another car. The driver of the other car passed away.What kind of punishment should Jimmy receive? It seems fair for him to spend time in prison. Should he see probation after the jail time? How much? This scenario helps introduce the dilemma we have today as a society about institutional vs. community corrections. Punishment for crime has always been an issue for debate. With the growth of the American colonies, the colonists needed a system of punishment for lawbreakers. Many methods developed in Europe meant to bring shame to those offenders were adopted. Around this time, the world saw a change in punishment ideology; some began to stress that humans are not perfect and make mistakes. Thus, there should be more reform as well as punish. In 1682, William Penn made a push for change. He limited the death penalty to cases of murder only and called for fines and imprisonment for most offenses. This is widely considered the beginnings of the prison system in the U.S. He also helped start the creation of jails, like the High Street Jail. The first federal prisons were established in 1891. Before this date, prisons were organized by states and territories. The establishment of parole and probation, or community corrections, began in the 1870s. There has always been and most likely always will be a huge social dilemma on what types and to what extent punishment should be laid out. Both institutional and community corrections have their pros and cons. One thing is for certain, however, that we do need a mixture of both. The current prison system has a number of advantages. Incarceration keeps criminals away from the public theoretically making the public safer. Imprisonment also punishes the convicted criminal by taking away, in a sense, their life at least for a short period. This type of punishment should have the effect of deterring the offender from repeat crimes as well as others from committing crimes. Current prison systems are meant to be rehabilitative. Structure and discipline is provided by the prisons so as to educate and provide therapy for inmates. With the good also comes the bad. Housing a large population of criminals together can lead to networking and an anti-social encouragement to continue crime. Probably the biggest knock on imprisonment is that there is a huge cost associated with housing an inmate. The public and law-abiding citizens essentially pay for the living accommodations of a criminal. The financial toll hits those families directly associated with the criminal. It is harder for a family to get by if an income is removed. If a family ends up needing government aid, the public is again paying for that. It can also be said that prisons lack the necessary resources to properly rehabilitate and to address the issues of how they got to prison. One last disadvantage is that every prisoner is treated the same. A murderer would be treated the same as a thief. This may not necessarily be fair. Community-based corrections, on the other hand, also have a number of advantages. It is usually said that community corrections are practical and less expensive alternatives to imprisonment. Keeping an offender convicted of a minor crime in the community and out of a jail filled with hardened criminals would theoretically do a better job at rehabilitating the person and keep them functioning socially. Community corrections mainly offer the solution to the tendency of inmates to learn anti-social behaviors. Families will largely stay intact. Supervision and restrictions can help the person learn to be a more highly functioning member of society. Training programs and job placement work along these same lines. Community corrections may also have negative outcomes. For one, criminals...
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