The Negative Consequences of Imprisonment Have Been Exaggerated

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Is it true what they say about dropping the soap in a prison shower? Although there are several advantages to incarcerating those who break the law, there are a plethora of adverse effects that an inmate could very well experience in prison. But are the negative consequences of sending a wrong-doer to jail greater than the benefits that the individual receives and the protection it offers to the general public?

Simply, a prison is seen as a building to which people are legally sent to as a punishment for the crimes that they have committed. The core aims of a prison are not only to keep society safe, but also to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders into the community and to deter others from committing the same or similar crimes. However, could it be argued that locking a violent lawbreaker away in confinement together with other violent criminals does more harm to the offender than it does good?

Historically, the focus of punishment was mainly to inflict physical pain and suffering on the body. This was also to set a vivid example to the public. Nowadays we incarcerate offenders to work on their minds and help them become useful members of society. An individual who commits a violent crime that is worthy of sending them to prison, may need professional help to rehabilitate them, whether they have an addiction or have simply taken a wrong turn in the path of their lives. However, the physical and psychological scars that an inmate might incur in prison, could by all means cause more problems for the individual and make it harder for them to be reformed and re-enter society.

The aim of this essay is to discuss, in depth, the negative and positive consequences of imprisonment, drawing conclusions about the degree to which prisoners are harmed and helped by incarceration based on the research surrounding prisons, corrective services, conditions experienced by inmates in prisons, programs offered to incarcerated offenders and prisoner experiences post-release and establish that even though incarceration offers prisoners help and protects the community, the adverse effects experienced by prisoners are real and can have long lasting physical and mental effects on the offenders. This will be argued by analyzing and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of imprisonment.


Negative Consequence: Solitude and Isolation
The basic purpose and structure of a prison is based on solitude and separation. Initially the offender is isolated from the general public and outside world and also from everything that originally drove them to commit an offence. Secondly, they are separated from each other as much as possible. However, incarcerating them also cuts the prisoners off, for the most part, from their family, friends and most human interaction. The stresses of prison often can make it increasingly difficult to maintain contact with family and friends, although these relationships become exceedingly important during a prison sentence as losing contact with friends and family may lead to the development of depression, feelings of hopelessness and lack of satisfaction with life. Solitary confinement is an extreme form of imprisonment in which the offender is entirely isolated from human contact. In solitary confinement the inmate spends 23 or 24 hours a day in locked in a cell and may be allowed outside into a small yard for an hour although, they are still alone. This method is used in prison for two reasons. The first is disciplinary segregation and is used as punishment for misbehavior when a person is already imprisoned. This generally only lasts a week or two in duration. The second type, which is known as administrative segregation, is put in place when an inmate is considered too dangerous or to be a risk to other inmates or staff. Prisoners under administrative segregation spend months or even years in solitary confinement. Short term solitary confinement is considered to be...
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