Supermax Prisons

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Supermax Prisons and Their Adverse Effects
Introduction
Due to increasing crime rates and the extensive belief that rehabilitative programs for inmates do not work, a new and harsher method for prisons is being utilized. Instead of scattering the worst criminals, they are being consolidated into Supermax prisons. Supermax prisons are state of the art penitentiaries meant to hold only the worst of the worst criminals and inmates that cannot be trusted in regular prisons. There are strict regulations and policies to control inmates’ time for communication, recreation, visiting, religious practices, and education even more than regular prisons. More often than not, “inmates in supermax prisons spend 23 hours of every day locked in a small cell” (Hickey pg. 160). Supermax prisons work upon the premise that the most violent and disorderly inmates can be better controlled “by separation, restricted movement, and limited access to staff and other inmates” (Hickey pg. 167). While supermax prisons are believed to reduce crime and increase safety, there are questions of whether or not this is actually the case. Compare/Contrast Critique

Supermax prisons are considered effective because they consolidate the most violent criminals and allow for other prisons to function more safely and more normally for both staff and inmates. However the inmates cannot just be consolidated and held to the same standards as regular prisons, as was revealed at Marion in 1980 when the “operation began to show clear signs of the underlying stresses of using this quasi-normal system to deal with such aggressive offenders” (Hickey pg. 164). In response, a new and more sophisticated facility was created to cater to the high-security needs of a prison with extremely dangerous inmates. These newer facilities were created to “control the inmate’s behavior until they demonstrate that they can be moved back to a traditional open-population penitentiary” (Hickey pg. 165). While incarcerated at...
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