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What do you think is the most significant change in correctional policy in the last 100 year and why important - Essay Example

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The structure of prisons have for the last 100 years undergone a lot of transformation in terms of their physical size, handling of inmates and also in the administrative policies. Despite changes in the last century, the current correctional systems have some resemblance with…
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What do you think is the most significant change in correctional policy in the last 100 year and why important
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Significant change in correctional policy and its importance The structure of prisons have for the last 100 years undergone a lot of transformation in terms of their physical size, handling of inmates and also in the administrative policies. Despite changes in the last century, the current correctional systems have some resemblance with early structures. A study of the historical changes shows that the system has undergone transformation over years from the ancient dictatorial systems to the modern and just correctional systems. A good example of such transformation is that of the Penal colony invented in the nineteen century by the Americans which initially utilized the use of public humiliation in punishing law breakers. In this system, culprits were sentenced to a fortification in a city square. “Punishments ranged from physical torture to corporal infliction of pain which were executed in public” (Latessa). However, in the southern states of America convicts were used to provide labor for the state and to the rich private entrepreneurs. Duffee asserts “Inmates were often held in chains where they worked together in private sector while living in poorly managed camps owned by rich businessmen”. The suffering, torture and other forms of mistreatment inflicted on the prisoners prompted political and human rights activists into action and immediately called for observance of human rights. This effort saw stoppage of prisoners’ labor in private firms. In addition, correctional facilities had to be established at a central location to ensure that basic facilities were availed in response to the convicts’ demands and reasons for the riot.
Prisoners were subjected to a fairly just treatment and allowed to wear clothes though chained onto rings around their ankles. Several other changes in policies have taken place since then, with the most outstanding change in policy taking place after the First World War.
Currently, the new prisons structures in the world have a provision for inmates’ education as well as other important facilities. But what goal should education serve in the prisoner’s life? Sutherland asserts thus “the objective of prison education in its broadcast sense should be socialization of inmates through varied impression and expressional activities, with emphasis on individual inmate needs”. Therefore the aim of educational programs in penal institutions should be to equip prisoners with necessary skills and the ability to view life in a positive attitude. The changes witnessed today is a product of political and human rights activism that took toll between 1950 and 1960 bringing with it just and fair treatment of inmates. After widely enlightening prisoners of their rights in custody several riots erupted. Reported riots in cells between 1950 and 1953 necessitated revision of correction laws to cater for the prisoners’ demands. Within the past three decades, immense changes in policies of sentencing and corrections have taken place. The changes have now focused on fairness and justice. “The strong emphasis on rehabilitation that had existed for the first seven decades of the 20th century gave way to a focus on fairness and justice where sentences would reflect just deserts and not some utilitarian motive”(Mackenzie). Numerous programs aimed at correcting inmates have been introduced in the last ten years. This change in correctional policies is attributed to political good will and effective leadership. The dimension taken by the corrective policies from the old mechanisms to the modern transformation trend appears to be a good idea as it gives a convicted person another opportunity to get back to the society and live a normal life having received life skills through the designed reform mechanisms such as education.
Works cited.
David Duffee. Correctional policy and prison organization. New York, NY: Sage Publishers,
2010. Print.
Doris L. Mackenzie. Sentencing and Corrections in the 21st Century: Setting the Stage for the
Future. University of Maryland, College Park, 2001. Web. 29th April 2012 < http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=189089> Latessa, Edward J. The Challenge of Change: Correctional Programs and Evidence-Based
Practices. Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 3 Number 4, pp 547-560, 2004.
Sutherland Edwin, Cressey Donald Ray & Luckenbill David. Principles of Criminology:
Reynolds Series in Sociology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield publishers, 1992. Print. Read More
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