Handling the Dilemma over Community vs Institutional Corrections It is the first day of break and Jimmy wants to have a good time with his friends. Long story short, Jimmy decided to drive home drunk and crashed into another car. The driver of the other car passed away.What kind of punishment should Jimmy receive? It seems fair for him to spend time in prison. Should he see probation after the jail time? How much? This scenario helps introduce the dilemma we have today as a society about institutional vs. community corrections. Punishment for crime has always been an issue for debate. With the growth of the American colonies, the colonists needed a system of punishment for lawbreakers. Many methods developed in Europe meant to bring shame to those offenders were adopted. Around this time, the world saw a change in punishment ideology; some began to stress that humans are not perfect and make mistakes. Thus, there should be more reform as well as punish. In 1682, William Penn made a push for change. He limited the death penalty to cases of murder only and called for fines and imprisonment for most offenses. This is widely considered the beginnings of the prison system in the U.S. He also helped start the creation of jails, like the High Street Jail. The first federal prisons were established in 1891. Before this date, prisons were organized by states and territories. The establishment of parole and probation, or community corrections, began in the 1870s. There has always been and most likely always will be a huge social dilemma on what types and to what extent punishment should be laid out. Both institutional and community corrections have their pros and cons. One thing is for certain, however, that we do need a mixture of both. The current prison system has a number of advantages. Incarceration keeps criminals away from the public theoretically making the public safer. Imprisonment also punishes the convicted criminal by taking away, in a sense, their life at least for a short period. This type of punishment should have the effect of deterring the offender from repeat crimes as well as others from committing crimes. Current prison systems are meant to be rehabilitative. Structure and discipline is provided by the prisons so as to educate and provide therapy for inmates. With the good also comes the bad. Housing a large population of criminals together can lead to networking and an anti-social encouragement to continue crime. Probably the biggest knock on imprisonment is that there is a huge cost associated with housing an inmate. The public and law-abiding citizens essentially pay for the living accommodations of a criminal. The financial toll hits those families directly associated with the criminal. It is harder for a family to get by if an income is removed. If a family ends up needing government aid, the public is again paying for that. It can also be said that prisons lack the necessary resources to properly rehabilitate and to address the issues of how they got to prison. One last disadvantage is that every prisoner is treated the same. A murderer would be treated the same as a thief. This may not necessarily be fair. Community-based corrections, on the other hand, also have a number of advantages. It is usually said that community corrections are practical and less expensive alternatives to imprisonment. Keeping an offender convicted of a minor crime in the community and out of a jail filled with hardened criminals would theoretically do a better job at rehabilitating the person and keep them functioning socially. Community corrections mainly offer the solution to the tendency of inmates to learn anti-social behaviors. Families will largely stay intact. Supervision and restrictions can help the person learn to be a more highly functioning member of society. Training programs and job placement work along these same lines. Community corrections may also have negative outcomes. For one, criminals...
Cited: Arditti, Joyce A., Jennifer Lambert-Shute, and Karen Joest. "Saturday Morning at the Jail: Implications of Incarceration for Families and Children." Family Relations 52.3 (2003): 195-204. JSTOR. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. This scholarly article was originally published in the journal, Family Relations. This article is meant to explore the implications of criminal sanction policies on the families of felony offenders. More specifically, the article focused on the social, health, and economic characteristics of parents and children to these offenders under incarceration. I found the article to be interesting and thorough overall, but much of it was more than what I needed for the purposes of this paper. Still, I found the article to be helpful in my research and proved to be useful for anecdotes. As such, this source was used mainly for supplemental information.
Burrell, William D. "Community Corrections Management." Civic Research Institute (n.d.): n. pag. JSTOR. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. This article is part of the Civic Research Institute. The article is intent on discussing the Community-Based Corrections System in general. The author takes the point of view that it is a decentralized and fragmented system. The article further discusses probation and parole along with developments in these areas. Finally, it explores the future of the system. I found the article to be helpful to my understanding of the community corrections system and to see where it might be heading. I used this article mainly for informational purposes and general understanding.
Inciardi, James A. Criminal Justice. 8th ed. Orlando: Academic, 1984. Print. This source is the textbook for our Introduction to Criminal Justice course. It is meant to provide an overview of the structure, processes, and problems of the criminal justice system in the United States. The book provides lots of basic and some in depth information and accompanying support, data, and analysis. I find the book to be helpful and capable ox offering explanations easy to comprehend. I have used this book mainly as a guide and a source for general information on the topic and not for more in depth purposes.
Rosenthal, C. S. "Opportunities in Community Corrections." National Criminal Justice Reference Service. National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 1989. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. . This article published in the National Criminal Justice Reference Service is focused on why there would be community based corrections, what they are, how effective they have been, and what is the future looking like. Similar to another article I have cited, this scholarly journal article does a good job of painting the big picture of community corrections. I particularly liked how this article was thorough in starting off with the basics and going into developments and then finally into some analysis. This proved to be a helpful article in the formation of my opinion.
Tittle, Charles R. "Institutional Living and Rehabilitation." Journal of Health & Social
Behavior 13 (1972): 263-73. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. This source is an article published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior on the topic of Institutional Corrections. The author of this article seeks to provide information and research on the extent to which incarceration is or can be rehabilitative. He finds and explains three characteristics thought to have anti-rehabilitative consequences. I found this journal article to be helpful at providing a detailed analysis of institutional corrections, both the presumed advantages and disadvantages. I used this mainly for more in depth conclusion drawing.
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