Punishment-Justice for the Unjust

Topics: Parole, Prison, Crime Pages: 76 (21652 words) Published: July 27, 2010



Common law, constitutional, statutory, and humanitarian rights of the convicted and imprisoned: ■

A right against cruel or unusual punishment A right to protection from physical harm A right to sanitary and healthy conditions of confinement A limited right to legal assistance while imprisoned A limited right to religious freedom while imprisoned A limited right to freedom of speech while imprisoned A limited right to due process prior to denial of privileges

These individual rights must be effectively balanced against these public-order concerns: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Punishment of the guilty Safe communities The reduction of recidivism Secure prisons Control over convicts The prevention of escape Rehabilitation Affordable prisons

ISBN: 0-536-09974-X

How does our system of justice work toward balance?
Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the Twenty-First Century, Ninth Edition, by Frank Schmalleger. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Punishment—Justice for the Unjust?
The great Christian writer C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) once remarked that if satisfying justice is to be the ultimate goal of Western criminal justice, then the fate of offenders cannot be dictated merely by practical considerations. “The concept of just desert is the only connecting link between punishment and justice,” Lewis wrote. “It is only as deserved or undeserved that a sentence can be just or unjust,” he concluded. Once a person has been arrested, tried, and sentenced, the correctional process begins. Unlike Lewis’s exhortation, however, the contemporary American correctional system—which includes probation, parole, jails, prisons, capital punishment, and a variety of innovative alternatives to traditional sentences—is tasked with far more than merely carrying out sentences. We also ask of our correctional system that it ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens, that it select the best alternative from among the many available for handling each offender, that it protect those under its charge, and that it guarantee fairness in the handling of all with whom it comes into contact. This section of Criminal Justice Today details the development of probation, parole, community corrections, and imprisonment as correctional philosophies; describes the nuances of prison and jail life; discusses special issues in contemporary corrections (including AIDS, geriatric offenders, and female inmates); and summarizes the legal environment which both surrounds and infuses the modern-day practice of corrections. Characteristic of today’s correctional emphasis is a society-wide push for harsher punishments. The culmination of that strategy, however, is dramatically overcrowded correctional institutions, the problems of which are also described. As you read through this section, encountering descriptions of various kinds of criminal sanctions, you might ask yourself, “When would a punishment of this sort be deserved?” In doing so, remember to couple that thought with another question: “What are the ultimate consequences (for society and for the offender) of the kind of correctional program we are discussing here?” Unlike Lewis, you may also want to ask, “Can we afford it?”


Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections

13 14

Prisons and Jails

Prison Life

ISBN: 0-536-09974-X Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the Twenty-First Century, Ninth Edition, by Frank Schmalleger. Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.



Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

■ ■ ■ ■

Introduction What Is Probation? What Is Parole? Probation and Parole: The Pluses and Minuses The Legal Environment The Job of Probation and Parole Officers Intermediate...
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