Prison Service Essay

3041 words - 13 pages

How can the police or prison or probation service be seen to be effective? Critically examine measures used and explore alternatives.

Introduction:
Imprisonment and jailing has been an effective way to protect the society from corrupt people and individuals with criminal tendencies. The theory behind imprisonment is to isolate the wrong-doer from the society as the person can be harmful and dangerous to other people, and also stop him from enjoying civil liberties, thus enhancing the sense of deprivation and lack of freedom as a punishment to deter him from repeating the crime in the future. Although this may sound an ideal way to deal with criminals, the ground realities are quite ...view middle of the document...

This paper will attempt to shed a light on the present prison services, their current state, the methodologies which are used, and their competency and provide further alternatives and recommendations to increase their performance and capabilities.
Theory behind Imprisonment:
Bjerregaard and Lizotte (1995) concluded that there are actually four theories that formed the idea of incarcerating certain citizens. These can be listed as under:
* Punishment
* Deter Specifically
* Deter Generally
* Rehabilitation.
Punishment: This is a very basic idea which follows the concept of punishing an individual for his/her wrong doing and preventing him/her from repeating the crime.
Deter Specifically: Also known as incapacitation, the idea behind specific deterrence is to remove the criminal individual from the society, relying simply on the idea that if such a person would not be a part of the society, his/her criminal actions would not affect the society in any way whatsoever and population in general will stay safe (Cao, Zhao, & Van Dine, 1997; Harer & Steffensmeier, 1996; Irwin & Cressey, 1962).
Deter Generally: This involves making someone an example for a serious crimes (Carlson, 2001; Huff & Meyer, 1997). For instance, if there is death penalty for intentional homicide, then lesser people will do any such act. This idea has given way to many harsh punishments such as life imprisonments and capital punishments.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation involves guiding the offenders and making them better citizens of the society (Clemmer, 1940; Jiang & Fisher-Giorlando, 2002; Sykes, 1958). They are given education and awareness about being a productive member of the community and participating in building the society instead of tearing it down. Although this is the most productive way of dealing with offenders, many criminal minds refuse to co-operate. Many convicts, several classes of sex offenders (especially paedophiles) and criminals with psychiatric disorders do not respond to such methods, leaving incapacitation and general deterrence as the only options (Chin, 1996; Curry & Spergel, 1988; Howell & Decker, 1999; Howell, Egley, & Gleason, 2002; Hutson et al., 1995; Kelly, Chin, & Fagan, 2000).
These theories might sound perfect and flawless on paper but applying them on the ground is completely different. These theories seem to fail at many points, there are many negative effects of holding someone in a prison, and these will be discussed in detail in further sections of this paper.
Other alternatives must be applied in order to keep order within the prison system and the society.
Present Condition of Prisons and Prison Services around the world:
According to statistics of 2005, United States of America was leading the world with highest incarceration rates with Russia and Rwanda close behind (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998; Curry, 2000; Huff 1998; Miller & Decker...

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