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Correction Trends Evaluation
Correctional facilities serve as a key feature in the criminal justice system. Prisons have been known to incapacitate and reform offenders. In early times, cages within fortresses or abandoned castles acted as prison facilities, which were crude. Flynn (1977) notes that until 200 years ago, the most convicted offenders had options of facing fine charges, cast out of the society, beheaded, or branded as offenders. Prisons served a special role of holding the convicts until they received their sentences. With time, the prisons served the sole purpose of segregating, punishing, and isolating the offenders from the society. The department of corrections is a branch of the government, which concerns with convicted felons. This comprises of prisons and jails where the felons spend their sentences and undergo, such as education and sports, which the prisons offer.
In the past, the laws that determined the type and duration of sentencing someone got were very different from the present ones. The state of the correctional facilities was poor regarding the design of facility, the type of punishment that the prisoners received, and the type of diets they had. Prisoners were often lent out to local people for manual labor such as farming.
According to Hopkins (2012), there are traditional trends in the correctional facilities, which are still in use today. The rehabilitation services for the felons are among them. An individual is sent to the prison for a crime committed, and the crimes can vary. They include drug or substance abuse, murder, or even crimes committed by the mentally challenged. Therefore, it goes with the expectation that once the felons receive their sentencing, they receive rehabilitation for crimes committed. The purpose of prisoners rehabilitation is to educate them on the different laws and demonstrate them that with good behavior, their sentences are later reviewed with time. Another trend comprises the method of punishment, in which the prisoners received extremely crude manners of punishment in the past. They included solitary rooms where an inmate would spend the larger part of a day locked up in a very small room with no air conditioning or light. However, prisons have been known to allow their inmates to play sports such as soccer, football, and baseball. They form teams, which they can compete against during friendly matches.
Presently, trends such as privatization of prison facilities have come up. With this, an individual acquires a license to run and manage a prison and receives payment for it from the government. Privatization generally means a change in government stature from the public sector to the private one, which is set as a business to gain profit (Carlson, 1998). This is because of the increase in the number of prisoners who the government-operated facilities could no longer support. Another improved trend is the nature of the workforce. The prison guards are not allowed to assault a prisoner in the name of punishment. Currently, correctional facilities have introduced various rehabilitation methods, which differ according to the category in which the prisoner is slated.
There are various categories of prisoners. They include terrorists, prisoners of war, political prisoners, and general offenders such as murderers, thieves, assaulters, and many more. There are also special prisons for each type of prisoners. Therefore, the type of rehabilitation differs, but the most common ones are education, sports, and talent building. Prisons contract specialists, such as instructors, to teach the prisoners in various subjects where the prisoners get to further their studies by even offering graduate studies. Education plays a significant role in rehabilitation because when the prisoners are released, they can find something to do with their lives. In addition, the food that prisoners are offered has changed with time. Nowadays, inmates can have a balanced diet. It still needs some more improvement, but it is a positive change.
Concerning administration, the prisons used to have a large number of prison guards, which was due to a ratio of prisoners to the guards. This therefore meant that they received minimum wage due to inadequate funds. In addition, the guards had the right to punish the inmates if they misbehaved as they deemed best. Currently, any prisoners misbehavior is reported to the prison warden who rules on the issue. Additionally, the number of prison guards has reduced due to the introduction of better security systems, such as high prison walls fitted with electric systems. This is mainly by using the CCTV cameras on every corner of the facility to monitor the prisoners activities.
The introduction of new laws, such as giving parole to the prisoners who spend their time well behaved or to those who have spent a long time in prison, has helped in rehabilitating the prisoners and in reducing the number of inmates in prisons. Further, probation is offered to prisoners while others have had their sentences pardoned by the president. These laws are clear indications that prisoner rehabilitation works and if well implemented in prisons there would be improvement.
A lot may have changed in the department of correction with time, but there is still need for more changes required, such as the improvement in the rehabilitation sector. It has proven to work; thus, it should be the core principle of every prison. Prisoners with good behavior should also be allowed to take educational or leisure fieldtrips to places such as museums, renaissance fairs, or sports events.
There is a necessity for enhancement in the diets for prisoners, which may have improved but are to be acceptable, as well. Punishing prisoners by not offering their meals is unacceptable. There has been a great improvement in the sector of observing the human rights, but there are still mishaps where the guards assault the prisoners or the inmates assault their colleagues. Prisoners feel the need to be safe, and this can be ensured through implementing various rules that inhibit violation of ones rights.
The justice system should also consider coordinating with community-based facilities for referral services, which assume the role of rehabilitating minor felons and misdemeanors where they can give the felons probation with community service and in the process eliminate prison time (Flynn, 1977). This would serve greatly in helping the first time offenders or those who commit crimes and realize that they were not aware they were wrong. This would improve the performance of the justice system.
Administrators face many problems concerning the prisoners. First, it is the issue of being attacked by inmates or during the prison riots where the guards may be hurt or killed. In addition, administrators face a tough decision concerning punishing the inmates for any wrongdoing when being in prison. These issues could be solved by having a clear guideline on how to punish offences and improve the level of security in the facilities to reduce the probability of guards being assaulted whereas they are on duty.
Alternate correction systems, such as community services and rehabilitation centers, should give a chance for those deemed not fit for the society and for improvement of the justice system, in which the punishment given should fit the crime committed.