Prisons and Effect on Society

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Drug addiction Pages: 9 (2445 words) Published: July 13, 2014
Prisons have such a major affect in our society today. Prisons are suppose to be the location we send our criminals to pay for their actions toward society. Many people have argued the goal of these prisons. To some the goal of prisons is to punish the criminals for the actions they committed. To others the goal of prison is to rehabilitate the offenders and allow them to change to become socially acceptable. Corrections has been a key aspect of civilization since its integration to society. In our modern age, the U.S prison system has grown and it supervises six times more people than it did in 1974 (Clear, Cole, Reisig & Pestrosino, 2011). This change has been caused by changes in punishment given out since 1972, and not due to a change of crimes rates. Corrections is the variety of programs, services, facilities and organizations responsible for the management of individuals who have been accused or convicted of criminal offenses. Corrections also helps define the limits of behavior so that everyone in the community understands what is permissible (Clear, Cole, Reisig & Pestrosino, 2011). The correctional system is composed of both large and small organizations administered by various levels of government and private sector (Clear, Cole, Reisig & Pestrosino, 2011). Corrections consist of many subunits. Institutional corrections includes prisons and jails and it confines people who have been sentenced by the courts. Community corrections supervises people who either awaiting trial or have been sentence by the court but are living in the community. There are also private organizations that provide various services to people under correctional authority (Clear, Cole, Reisig & Pestrosino, 2011). In order to have corrections, there must be facilities where inmates go to “rehabilitate”, these are called penitentiaries. The main goals of these facilities are: To be a secure and sanitary building, have systematic inspections to make sure inmates followed rules, abolish fees charged to offenders for food and have a reformatory regime (Clear, Cole, Reisig & Pestrosino, 2011).These buildings are used to put together inmates and allowed them the change and make them learn and understand what they’re wrong doing was. They lose the power they once had while committing the crime.

In the eyes of the great Emile Durkheim, punishment was fundamental to society which encapsulates and reinforces its values (Siegal, 2010). Durkheim insisted that it was necessary for a shared ideology to reflect the current conditions of society and that industrialization had promoted novel values such as freedom, compassion and reason (Siegal, 2010). Durkheim identified punishment as the key to developing a cohesive ideology (Garland, 1990). Crimes are not universal and originate as societies ‘progress’; no crime is predetermined and only becomes so because it opposes the ‘conscience collective’. Thus for Durkheim crime plays an important role in society by introducing new beliefs and in turn allowing progress. He argues that a certain rate of crime is healthy for society to function as it helps to create social cohesion (Valier, 2002).

  There are many rehabilitation programs currently being implemented in prison.  One of them is probation and parole supervision.  Probation is the rehabilitative model which allows offenders to be placed on community supervision as a substitute for incarceration.  Parole on the other hand, is a system where inmates are conditionally released to community supervision after serving a prison term. Parolees can be re-incarcerated if they violate the conditions of their parole. 

Research shows that in 2006, over 5 million adult men and women (4,237,000 were on probation and 498,200 were on parole) were under Federal, State and local probation or parole jurisdiction (Thibault et al, 2011). It may appear that the probation and parole is being offered to a large number of inmates.  Numbers however lie.  It is worth...

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