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Inmates and Prisons

By dominique523 Feb 08, 2013 946 Words
Danya E. Gregory
Inmates and Prisons Paper
Week 4 -CJAD 320-E1WW
February 2, 2013

Imprisoning drug offenders may resonate with some who think prison is the only way to make their communities safer, at least while they are incarcerated. Yet, the overwhelming majority of drug prisoners will come back out eventually to rejoin society, many within just a few years or even months. Most drug prisoners will return to the community after a couple of years away, and will then return to prison because we have not dealt with the complex set of core issues that led to them ending up incarcerated in the first place. (Doug McVay, 2004) One way to help ensure public safety and to build families and communities is to make sure that these former prisoners have the tools necessary to lead crime free lives and to fit into the society. Providing drug offenders with treatment is a more cost-effective way of dealing with substance addicted drug and nonviolent offenders than prison. Studies by the nation’s leading criminal justice research agencies have shown that drug treatment, in concert with other services and programs, is a more cost effective way to deal with drug offenders. (Doug McVay, 2004)

In addition to budgetary pressures on the prison-centered approach, other factors have become increasingly relevant in the search for a more balanced drug policy. It is no coincidence, for example, that four of five early health-reform proposals in Congress included provisions on the right to addiction treatment. Despite an investment of about $15 billion over the past two decades, the United States has failed to significantly reduce drug supply or demand. Although not at the center of national debate, public opinion is increasingly focused on the right of addicts to receive treatment rather than a prison sentence. "Public knowledge of the problem has slowly and silently changed. Now we know more about addictions and about the best ways of reducing consumption. (Vega, 2009)

Correctional authorities should begin to plan for each prisoner’s eventual release and reintegration into the community from the time of that prisoner’s admission into the correctional system and facility. Correctional authorities should develop an individualized programming plan for the prisoner, should be given access to appropriate programs, including educational opportunities, mental health and substance abuse treatment and counseling, vocational and job readiness training, personal financial responsibility training, parenting skills, relationship skills, cognitive or behavioral programming, and other programs designed to promote good behavior in the facility and reduce recidivism. Correctional authorities should permit each prisoner to take full advantage of available opportunities to earn credit toward the prisoner’s sentence through participation in work, education, treatment, and other programming. (Standards of Treatment of Prisoners, 2010) Incarcerated prisoners are marked by considerable diversity, yet they share a common experience of incarceration. Prisons can be violent, harsh, psychologically damaging environments; incarcerated people live in an environment that is both depersonalizing and dehumanizing. Moreover, the social stigma associated with incarceration, combined with the depersonalizing effects of imprisonment, may result in a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness, as well as deeply internalized shame and guilt. Thus, in addition to treating substance abuse and other mental disorders, the consensus panel recommends that in-prison treatment also address the trauma of the incarceration itself as well as a prison culture that conflicts with treatment goals. For many incarcerated men, learning to express anger in healthy and constructive ways is vital. Many male offenders have been perpetrators of domestic and/or sexual violence and/or have gotten into trouble because of fighting or assaults. Violence prevention groups may help participants explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are often the underpinnings of violent behavior and sexual aggression—issues such as a lack of empathy, narcissism, anger management problems, an overblown sense of entitlement, and the lack of effective thinking skills and sense of self-efficacy. ( 9 Treatment Issues Specific to Prisons ) In 1934, the 73rd Congress created the Federal Prison Industries. Until 2001, the legislation that created UNICOR remained unchanged. Private industry objected to UNICOR’s mandatory source status with the federal government. As a result, Congress amended the statutes controlling UNICOR eliminating its mandatory source status with the federal government. Now federal contracting officers may purchase items available through UNICOR from other sources. Rehabilitation, not profit, is the intent of the program. FPI’s profits go right back to the organization to run itself. This employment gives the inmates of federal prisons a maximum opportunity to acquire a knowledge and skill in trades that will provide them a means of earning a livelihood upon release. (Mitchell, 2004)


9 Treatment Issues Specific to Prisons . (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2013, from NCBI: Standards of Treatment of Prisoners. (2010, February). Retrieved February 2, 2013, from American Bar Association: Slave Labor - alive and well in IL. OK.-Body armor and Missiles by UNICOR. (2011, March 11). Retrieved February 2, 2013, from Daily Kos: Doug McVay, V. S. (2004, January). Treatment or Incarcerations? Retrieved February 2, 2013, from Justice Policy Institute: Mitchell, M. P. (2004, September). Federal Prison Industries. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from Vega, A. F. (2009, December 18). Treatment vs. incarceration: U.S. officials debate handling of drug offenses. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from The Washington Post:

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