Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Prison System Essay -- Prison J
The failure of imprisonment has been one of the most noticeable features of the current crisis in criminal justice systems. At best, prisons are able to provide a form of crude retribution to those unfortunate to be apprehended. At worst, prisons are brutalizing, cannot be shown to rehabilitate or deter offenders, and are detrimental to the re-entry of offenders into society. If anything, they do little else than confine most prisoners, and as a result lead to the imposition of certain undesirable learning habits and labels. Such habits include the learning of survival patterns of behavior, which do little to help the prisoner to be reintegrated as a useful and productive member of the community. It has been established that prison work or training experiences all too often fail to impart skills that can be usefully applied once the prisoner is released. The prison experience also acts as a stigmatising one, so that the prisoner finds that society labels them as an undesirable or untrustworthy person, despite the fact that he/she has ostensibly been 'rehabilitated' (Bartollas, 1985). Both ideological and socioeconomic pressures play an important role in bringing about changes to the concept of punishment and the methods of dealing with the criminal deviant. To date, however, there has been an increasing pressure for the avoidance and the minimisation of the penal servitude. The general consensus of much criminological opinion is that imprisonment as a corrective and punitive method has failed. What has emerged in response to this failure is the notion of community-based corrections, a movement that has received both intellect... ...e. The prison institution is only a phenomenon of relatively recent times in the history of man, it is by no means true that society is unable to accommodate other means of social control (Andenaes, 1974). What needs to be reviewed is not so much the methods of correction but the basic doctrines of punishment themselves. The introduction of all these new schemes may only serve the purpose of extending social control, instead of defeating, many social problems. In fact, community-based corrections may be seen as undermining, not assisting, movement towards fundamental change in the criminal justice system. Alternatives, therefore, need to be clearly and completely separated and distinguished from the traditional prison system and the culture of imprisonment if they are to have any greater hope of being successful.