If we ever want our economy to recover and our citizens to prosper, we need to overhaul our correctional system immediately. The correctional system has three main goals: punish, protect the population and rehabilitate the offender. However, it is unclear how well the modern U.S. correctional system achieves these goals and whether the money invested in the correctional system might be better spent.
Perhaps the most obvious goals of the correctional system are to punish those who are found guilty of crimes. In theory, this is supposed to serve as prevention against one repeating criminal activities and as an example to others of why criminal activities should be avoided. Incarceration is the most common example of punishment in the correctional system, but the death penalty and lesser penalties such as probation are also designed to be punitive. However, the correctional system acts as being too lenient on those who commit crimes. They’re let into the prison/jail and are just free to live, something as far as harsh punishment needs to be put in action, or their mentality of jail being a “free ride” is going to remain the same. If there isn’t any other punishment being put into force, besides the fact that their sentenced to time in prison, the offender is basically getting over on the system. A basic day in the life of a prisoner is eat, sleep, working out, visits, community service, and communication with other inmates, and that’s not teaching them what they did was wrong at all. They need to be put in classes, as if someone gets a speeding charge they have to go to driving classes, not only because they committed a crime,
but to understand what crime they have committed and why NOT to do it again, and the value of what can happen if it’s done again.
In addition to punishing a criminal, the correctional system is supposed to protect the rest of the society from criminals. This includes the policing of streets as well as the imprisonment of criminals in jails. By keeping criminals in prison, they are not among the public and are not in a position in which they could harm the public at large with additional criminal acts. The protection of inmates also needs to be stricter than what it previously and still is. There are prisoners that get physically, mentally, and emotionally abused in prison, and even though it probably isn’t visible it happens, whether it’s man on man inmates vice-versa for women inmates, but not only inmates, sometimes a correctional officer can commit these crimes as well. That can make an inmate retaliate on themselves, because they can feel like their privacy of themselves and their surroundings has been taken away. If this is done so, the inmate doesn’t have anyone to speak with regarding that their treated like they don’t have feelings and concerns because they are inmates. However, at the end of the day inmates are still human beings, and correctional officers need to take notice of that. The correctional system is also supposed to rehabilitate inmates. Rehabilitation, if done well, will make the criminal functional in normal society after release. This may include vocational training, counseling and drug rehabilitation treatment. Rehabilitation is intended to shift the criminal from being a cost to society to being a contributing member of society. Some believe that if we want to rehabilitate criminals we must do more than just send them to prison. For
instance, we could give them a chance to obtain job skills, which will improve the chances that inmates will become productive citizens upon release. The programs must aim to change those who want to change. Those who are taught to produce useful goods and to be productive are likely to develop the self-esteem essential to a normal, integrated personality. This kind of program would provide skills and habits and replace...