Instructor Tracy Crump
November 5, 2012
Prison life is not designed to be easy, it is punishment for committing a crime. Prison is a facility that confines convicts who are a threat to society and have broken the law. Over the years, the government has recognized that positive reinforcement reward programs to criminals while they’re incarcerated have been successful. There will be explanations as to the purpose of having prisons and the examination of the current conditions of those prisons. Next, there will be information on programs that seek to reduce recidivism in prisons and rehabilitative programs offered in prisons and their outcomes. Finally, there will be discussion on the re-introduction to society programs and approaches to protect the public upon a prisoner’s release.
Prisons are designed to confine criminal offenders in a controlled environment where they are kept safe and humane. There are also other facilities that serve the purpose of confining offenders and what comes to mind is community based facilities. Community based facilities are basically facilities that can reside outside the prison walls and offer rehabilitation programs and work release. Allowing a prisoner the opportunity to be detained outside of prison gives them the chance to prove they can function in society properly. Most inmates are eventually released from prison and by providing them the basic educational, vocational programming and treatment means society will be safer when an inmate is released from prison (Florida Department of Corrections).
Each prison is different and even though there are policies and procedures set out to ensure that prisons are being ran properly, there are always going to be incidents where something happens. Not only are there policies and procedures, but criminals are still considered U.S. American citizens and are protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Society is entitled to have their own opinion and believe that inmates should be stripped of their rights, but unfortunately that is not how the U.S. stands. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. It is inhumane to allow a prison guard or another inmate to beat someone to death. A former judge of twenty-five years, by the name of Sol Wachtler, spent ten months in prison and three months in a halfway house for harassing a former mistress. After serving his time he launched a campaign to reform the criminal justice system in respects to prisons. He states “I have been in solitary confinement” and “you know the cruelty of it once you suffer through it” (Caher, 1995). Wachtler says that half of the prisoners he encountered while in prison did not belong there. He didn’t say that they were innocent, but in his opinion prison only exacerbated the conditions that led the prisoner to commit crime in the beginning. Wachtler states “after ten to twenty years of humiliation and loss of self-worth, these ex-felons – almost all of whom have lost their families – come home to a hostel community with no job, no skills and a prison mentality. He further states and we wonder why we have repeat offenders” (Caher, 1995). The percentage of criminals in prison that have been charged with a drug crime traces back to about seventy percent. Wachtler’s solution is to rehabilitate these criminals instead of incarcerating the non-violent offenders. Wachtler is not advising or admitting that he believes illicit drugs should be legal, he is simple saying that by building more prisons and mandating longer sentences isn’t going to resolve the problem when it comes to crimes regarding drugs (Caher, 1995).
There are multiple programs offered in modern prisons that are designed to reduce recidivism. One program offered to help rehabilitate woman and help ensure woman will not become repeat offenders is allowing the offenders child to live in custody with the parent while they serve their time....
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