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Improve Correctional Facilities Essay

1738 words - 7 pages

Plan to Improve Correctional Facilities
Patricia Saylor
Dexter Levin
November 10, 2013

In general, rehabilitation programs have been effective in reducing recidivism among prison convicts since they are mostly focused on treating the criminal causing behavior of prisoners by eliminating completely the factors or circumstances that drive them to commit criminal acts. Criminologists such as Martinson who conducted research on the effectiveness of rehabilitative programs such as educational, community based and transcendental programs noted that rehabilitative programs had a higher efficacy when they were oriented towards providing treatment to prison convicts so as to ...view middle of the document...

These rehabilitative programs also utilized the principles of effective intervention which include focusing treatment interventions on high-risk offenders, employing well trained and sensitive staff and providing after care to offenders once they leave the rehabilitation program.
However there have been issues with rehabilitative programs in the recent past especially in the US where majority of criminals behind bars are repeat offenders who have committed new criminal offenses on their release from prison. According to statistics released by the US Department of Justice in 2011, the number of prisoners who were rearrested after being released from prison amounted to 279,400 out of the 635,000 prisoners released from prison in the same year. Prisoners that had the highest re-arrest rates were robbers with a rate of 70%, burglars with a rate of 74% and car thieves with a rate of 78%. These figures illustrated that more than half of prisoners released from prison were more than likely to return to prison for a completely new offense or a violation of their probation/parole (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013).
This increased rate of recidivism was mostly attributed to the fact that many correctional programs were now focused on deterring criminal offenders through punishments, beatings and other severe forms of punitive actions rather than correcting or rehabilitating their criminal behavior. Many criminologists and sociologists argued that such actions were less than likely to reduce the rates of recidivism as criminals would more than likely revert to their old behavior once they are released from prison. The rates of recidivism would therefore continue to be high if correctional programs were focused on punishing and deterring criminal behavior.
Strategies such as boot camps for criminals sentenced for life, electronic monitoring of probationers and parolees have made it difficult to reform prison convicts as these methods are mostly based on deterrence rather than reform. Punitive justice is mostly the common theme in these programs as prisoners who experience recidivism are punished by being sent to solitary isolation or back to prison in the case of parolees who violate their parole. Prison populations have been on the raise since the early 1970s. Today we incarcerate over 2 million men, women and juveniles in the various correctional facilities around the country. These facilities can range from local jails or detention facilities to the new so called "Supermax" prisons. Conditions can also vary across the spectrum for these different correctional institutions. Each type of inmate has his or her own challenges when faced with incarceration. Many factors play into determining "the experience" they have. Age and sex are one of the things that determine what type of institution you are committed to. Adult male prisoners are committed to adult male prisons.
Adult female prisoners are committed to adult female prisons. Juvenile offenders...

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