Prison Models

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Prison Models

There are three models of prisons that have been prominent in American since the early 1940’s: custodial, rehabilitative, and reintegration. Each model is designed differently based on its overriding goal, and this affects the physical design, policies, and programs that are implemented within each of the models.

Custodial Model
Archaic

Purpose: Control, focus is on maintaining security and order.

Goal: Punishment, this is the best way to provide deterrence against future crime.

Focus: Prisoners must be punished for their wrongdoings and prison life must be made so unpleasant so that offenders will hesitate to commit any new crimes upon release.

Theory: Classical, belief that humans operate under free will and an offender makes a choice to engage in criminal behavior believing benefits outweigh the costs.

Design: Radial, this allows for prisoners to have less contact with each other and allows for guards to monitor more prisoners at one time.

Management Style: Military style approach is used to control prisoners. Focus is on discipline and order with a clear and firm hierarchy of who is in charge. The decision process is left to the administration and the inmates are expected to be obedient and follow all the rules without questioning.

Administrative Style: Control model, authority is the hands of the prison administration. Prison administrators are inflexible and provide strict control over inmates’ lives. Communication is formal and professional and is restricted to official channels and must follow a formal chain of command.

Advantages: Good control, gives public feeling of safety and retribution, tight security against escapes.

Disadvantages: Inhumane treatment of prisoners, creates high tensions and violent atmosphere, enhances likelihood of riots.

Rehabilitative Model
Modern

Purpose: Rehabilitate

Goal: Treatment

Focus: Determining what caused the prisoner to commit...
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