Reforming Inmates Essay Sample
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Reforming Inmates Essay Sample
This paper explains how and what should be done to reform prisoners while incarcerated and what is actually being done at this point to ensure that inmates are actually prepared for society. It also tells how inmates have to prepare themselves physically and mentally to survive in the prison world. It explains as a result of trends in corrections, the personal challenges posed and psychological harms inflicted in the course of incarceration are growing around the world. The trends include harsh policies and conditions of confinement as well as the much needed of reforming as a goal of incarceration. As a result of this it makes prison time seem much longer. Without reforming prisoners face more difficult and problematic transitions as they are preparing to go back in to society. Among other things, social and psychological programs and resources must be made available in short and long term. In other words updated prison conditions as well as new or better programs are needed as preparation for release.
This paper will also address the psychological impact of incarceration and its implications for post-prison free word adjustment. The pain of prison carries psychological cost. In this paper I talk about some of those cost examine their implications for post-prison adjustments in the world outside of prison and dealing with the transformation from prison to home.
Incarceration messes up relationships and deteriorates social unity; meanwhile the upkeep of unity is centered on lasting relationships. Once a member of a household is confined, the disturbance of the household structure distresses relationships among spouses, for example between parents and children, restructuring the household and community across generations. Mass incarceration creates a profound social change in relatives and communities. When considering the price of imprisonment, everything needs to be taken not only of the actual funds consumed on the maintenance of every inmate, which is typically knowingly higher than what is consumed on an individual sentenced to non-custodial sanctions, but also of the indirect costs, such as the social, economic and healthcare related costs, which are difficult to measure, but which are immense and long-term.
REFORMING INMATES AND PERPARING THEM PSYCHOLOGICALLY FOR RE-ENTRY IN SOCIETY
Her majesties prison in Nassau Bahamas has an existing prison act that is about 70 years old. Dr. Nottage said while many of the provisions of the existing legislation have been retained, the government believes the Correctional Services Bill is “well equipped to bring the Prison up to date with the realities of today while still penalizing offenders of the law.” This bill and all regulations should aid in improving the overall rehabilitation of inmates, it should also tighten up some of the existing privileges of inmates and address matters relating to officers servicing in the institution. Caring for persons in custody and working towards the rehabilitation of these persons should better prepare them to be reintegrated into society.
Research on inmate concerns and challenges regarding their reintegration and acceptance into society upon release from prison indicates that inmates often feel anxious about establishing family ties, finding housing, employment, being victimized or stigmatized and reoffending once they returned to their communities. The reentry of ex-inmates can increase the risk of child abuse, spousal abuse, the spread of infectious diseases, homelessness and community disorganization. In the Bahamas there are about 1,375 inmates in the prison system and about 783 are sentenced inmates. There are 2 executions as of this date out of the 1,375 prisoners 1.8% are females. There is a whole lot of psychological & mental stress from incarceration. Children are affected the most. Children usually develop feelings of anger and abandonment. Feeling of this nature can sometime be directed to other children, authority or the other parent. With children in this situation if the prison term is long on a parent the child sometime grow to accept that the missing parent is no longer a part of his/her life of even forget about that parent.
Parents of an incarcerated individual sometime take the blame for their child being in jail; it is sometimes a feeling that the parent could have done more to guide that child especially if that child is a teenager. When a spouse goes to jail the other party can have a feeling as if the other person in the relationship has died. Commitment for a fact is lost because of the feeling of abandonment. Employment is another difficult thing for an incarcerated person after serving prison time it can be a difficult task trying to find a job even though it is illegal to refuse any person a job because of his / her background it is something that is done in just about every country. When finding a job gets to stressful and the individual is out of work for a long period of time then they have no options but to do the same thing that may have gotten them in prison in the first place. All incarcerated persons deserve a second chance. Incarcerated persons sometime lose the right to vote, a roof over their head, discrimination, a loss of pride and self being. Incarcerated persons may feel like society looks at them as being unable to be a productive member of a community.
The cost of imprisonment
When considering the cost of imprisonment, account needs to be taken not only of the actual funds spent on the upkeep of each prisoner, which is usually significantly higher than what is spent on a person sentenced to non-custodial sanctions, but also of the indirect costs, such as the social, economic and healthcare related costs, which are difficult to measure, but which are immense and long-term.
Prison authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the supervision and treatment of prisoners is in line with the rule of law, with respect to individuals’ human rights, and that the period of imprisonment is used to prepare individuals for life outside prison following release. In many countries the prison department is under the authority of police and Prison Officers, most staff have received no specific training regarding prison management. Staff morale is usually low and effective leadership to drive prison reform is lacking. Information collection and management systems are also very inadequate (or non-existent) in many prison systems worldwide, hindering the development of sound policies and strategies based on reliable, factual data. The Bahamas should and can provide much assistance in reforming national legislation, developing training programmes for prison
managers to improve their leadership role and staff to apply international standards and norms in their daily practice, and by contributing to the institutional capacity building of prison administrations.
Alternative Measures and Sanctions
Overcrowding is a key concern in almost all prison systems worldwide, solutions to overcrowding need to be explored and implemented in almost all countries. While overcrowding can be temporarily decreased by building new prisons, practice shows that trying to overcome the harmful effects of prison overcrowding through the construction of new prisons does not provide a sustainable solution.
In addition, building new prisons and maintaining them is expensive, putting pressure on valuable resources. Instead, government should take in to account of serious and non serious crimes, some crimes can be punishable outside of the prison wall easing the burden on tax payers and the government. The use of non-custodial sanctions and measures also reflects a fundamental change in the approach to crime, offenders and their place in society, changing the focus of penitentiary measures from punishment and isolation, to restorative justice and reintegration. When accompanied by adequate support for offenders, it assists some of the most vulnerable members of society to lead a life without having to relapse back into criminal behavior patterns.
Equivalence of healthcare and the right to health is a principle that applies to all prisoners, who are entitled to receive the same quality of medical care that is available in the community. However, this right is rarely realized in prisons, where usually healthcare services are extremely inadequate. Prison health services are almost always severely under-funded and understaffed and sometimes non-existent. Most of the time under the responsibility of the authority in charge of the prisons administration, prison health services work in complete isolation from national health authorities, including national HIV and national TB programmes. Specific women’s health needs are rarely addressed. The right to health should include: safe drinking water and adequate sanitation; safe food; adequate nutrition and housing; safe health and dental services; healthy working and environmental conditions; health-related education and information and gender equality. These issues need to be address in the prison system HIV/AIDS and other transmissible diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) in prison settings.
Improved prison management and prison conditions are fundamental to developing a sustainable health strategy in prisons. In addition, prison health is an integral part of public health, and improving prison health is crucial for the success of public health policies. The adaptation to imprisonment is almost always difficult and, at times, creates habits of thinking and acting that can be dysfunctional in periods of post-prison adjustment. Yet, the psychological effects of incarceration vary from individual to individual and are often reversible. To be sure, then, not everyone who is incarcerated is disabled or psychologically harmed by it. But few people are completely unchanged or unscathed by the experience. At the very least, prison is painful, and incarcerated persons often suffer long-term consequences from having been subjected to pain, deprivation, and extremely atypical patterns and norms of living and interacting with others.
In general terms, the process of prisonization involves the incorporation of the norms of prison life into one’s habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. It is important to emphasize that these are the natural and normal adaptations made by prisoners in response to the unnatural and abnormal conditions of prisoner life. The dysfunctionality of these adaptations is not “pathological” in nature (even though, in practical terms, they may be destructive in effect). They are “normal” reactions to a set of pathological conditions that become problematic when they are taken to extreme lengths, or become chronic and deeply internalized (so that, even though the conditions of one’s life have changed, many of the once-functional but now counterproductive patterns remain). Like all processes of gradual change, of course, this one typically occurs in stages and, all other things being equal, the longer someone is incarcerated the more significant the nature of the institutional transformation.
When most people first enter prison, of course, they find that being forced to adapt to an often harsh and rigid institutional routine, deprived of privacy and liberty, and subjected to a diminished, stigmatized status and extremely sparse material conditions is stressful, unpleasant, and difficult. However, in the course of becoming institutionalized, a transformation begins. Persons gradually become more accustomed to the restrictions that institutional life imposes. The various psychological mechanisms that must be employed to adjust (and, in some harsh and dangerous correctional environments, to survive) become increasingly “natural,” second nature, and, to a degree, internalized. To be sure, the process of institutionalization can be subtle and difficult to discern as it occurs. Thus, prisoners do not “choose” do succumb to it or not, and few people who have become institutionalized are aware that it has happened to them.
Fewer still consciously decide that they are going to willingly allow the transformation to occur. The process of institutionalization is facilitated in cases in which persons enter institutional settings at an early age, before they have formed the ability and expectation to control their own life choices. Because there is less tension between the demands of the institution and the autonomy of a mature adult, institutionalization proceeds more quickly and less problematically with at least some younger inmates. Moreover, younger inmates have little in the way of already developed independent judgment, so they have little if anything to revert to or rely upon if and when the institutional structure is removed. And the longer someone remains in an institution, the greater the likelihood that the process will transform them. Among other things, the process of institutionalization (or “prisonization”) includes some or all of the following psychological adaptations:
Adapting and surviving prison life
In addition, because many prisons are clearly dangerous places from which there is no exit or escape, prisoners learn quickly to become hyper vigilant and ever-alert for signs of threat or personal risk. Because the stakes are high, and because there are people in their immediate environment poised to take advantage of weakness or exploit carelessness or inattention, interpersonal distrust and suspicion often result. Some prisoners learn to project a tough convict veneer that keeps all others at a distance. Indeed, as one prison researcher put it, many prisoners “believe that unless an inmate can convincingly project an image that conveys the potential for violence, he is likely to be dominated and exploited throughout the duration of his sentence.” Incarceration extremely touches persons and relatives living in poverty. When a salary making supporter of the family is confined the rest of the family must adjust to this loss of revenue.
Therefore the family experiences monetary losses as a outcome of the locking up of one of its members, exacerbated by the latest everyday expenditure that have to be met, such as the price of a lawyer, groceries for the incarcerated individual, convey to jail for visits and so on. Once released, frequently with no diagnosis for employment, ex- prisoners are normally focus to socio-economic segregation and are weak to a never-ending sequence of poverty, criminality and incarceration. Incarceration contributes straight to the need of the inmate, of his relatives and of society by creating potential victims and plummeting future likely economic routine. Prisons contain extremely severe health implications.
Prisoners are probable to encompass on hand health troubles on the way in to jail, as they are mostly from inadequately educated and socio-economically disadvantaged sectors of the broad population, with minimum contact to sufficient health services. Their physical condition get worse in prisons which are filled to capacity, where nourishment is reduced, hygiene insufficient and contact to fresh air and work out often unavailable. Psychiatric disorders, HIV infection, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, skin diseases, malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea and injuries as well as self-mutilation are the major causes of morbidity and death in jail. In countries with a soaring occurrence of TB in the outside community, commonness of TB can be up to 100 times higher within the prisons.
In most countries HIV disease in prisons is considerably higher than in the population outside jail, particularly anywhere drug obsession and risk behaviors are common. Penitentiary workers are in addition susceptible to the majority of the diseases of which prisoners are at risk. Prisons are not cut off from the civilization and jail health is public health. The huge bulk of people dedicated to jail ultimately go back to the wider society. It is not in vain that prisons have been referred to as reservoirs of virus in a variety of contexts. Implications for the Transition from Prison to Home
Prison does a good job of reducing crime but it does a poor job at preparing prisoners to return to the outside world. Prisoners are allowed to work but only if there time is almost up e.g. (6) months or less. I feel like all prisoners should be allowed to work because a lot of them have never held down a job before entering into the prison system this is one of the main reasons why they are behind bars. Working will definitely teach them responsibility and independence. This may also lessen the amount of return prisoners. The psychological consequences of incarceration may represent significant impediments to post-prison adjustment. Without working abilities this may interfere with the transition from prison to home, impede an ex-convicts successful re-integration into a social network and employment setting, and may compromise an incarcerated parent’s ability to resume his or her role with family and children. There is little or no evidence that prison systems across the country have responded in a meaningful way to these psychological issues, either in the course of confinement or at the time of release.
Offenders should not be discharged directly from solitary confinement but from a classroom or work environment. The implications of these psychological effects for parenting and family life can be profound. Parents who return from periods of incarceration still dependent on institutional structures and routines cannot be expected to effectively organize the lives of their children or exercise the initiative and autonomous decision making that parenting requires. Those who still suffer the negative effects of a distrusting and hyper vigilant adaptation to prison life will find it difficult to promote trust and authenticity within their children. Clearly, the residual effects of the post-traumatic stress of imprisonment and the retraumatization experiences that the nature of prison life may incur can jeopardize the mental health of persons attempting to reintegrate back into the free world. Indeed, there is evidence that incarcerated parents not only themselves continue to be adversely affected by traumatizing risk factors to which they have been exposed, but also that the experience of imprisonment has done little or nothing to provide them with the tools to safeguard their children from the same potentially destructive experiences.
Remarkably, as the present decade began, there were more young Black men (between the ages of 20-29) under the control of the nation’s criminal justice system (including bail) than the total number in college. Thus, whatever the psychological consequences of imprisonment and their implications for reintegration back into communities. Not surprisingly, then, one scholar has predicted that “imprisonment will become the most significant factor contributing to the dissolution and breakdown of African American families during the decade of the 1990s” and another has concluded that “[c]rime control policies are a major contributor to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single parent families, and children raised without a father in the ghetto, and the ‘inability of people to get the jobs still available’.”
Prison Conditions, bail and a prisoners past record
No significant amount of progress can be made in easing the transition from prison to home until and unless significant changes are made in the normative structure of prisons. Specifically: The goal of penal harm must give way to a clear emphasis on prisoner-oriented rehabilitative services. Crimes should eventually be expunged from records for most purposes if the crime was not too serious. I think a crime like intent to supply should be taken in to consideration, an individual should not be restricted to visiting the United States and a murder victim can travel the minute he gets released. Ex-inmates on bail should be monitored more closely. We should also implicate home visits for people on bail. Working round the clock electronic monitoring. Require them to take random drug test and have swift punishment for slip-ups.
Prisons that give inmates opportunities to exercise pockets of autonomy and personal initiative must be created. Safe correctional environments that remove the need for hyper vigilance and all-encompassing doubt must be maintained, ones where prisoners can establish genuine selves, and learn the norms of interdependence and helpful trust. A clear and consistent emphasis on maximizing visitation and supporting contact with the outside world must be implemented, both to minimize the division between the norms of prison and those of the free world, and to discourage dysfunctional social withdrawal that is difficult to reverse upon release. Program rich institutions must be established that give prisoners genuine alternative to exploitative prisoner culture in which to contribute and devote, and the tainted, stigmatized status of prisoner transcended. Prisoners must be given opportunities to engage in important activities, to work, and to love while incarcerated.
Transitional Services to Prepare Prisoners for Community Release No significant amount of progress can be made in easing the transition from prison to home until significant changes are made in the way prisoners are prepared to leave prison and re-enter the free world. The prison systems must begin to take the pains of incarceration seriously, and provide all prisoners with effective decompression programs in which they are re-acclimated to the nature and norms of the outside world. Prisoners must be given some insight into the changes brought about by their adaptation to prison life. They must be given some understanding of the ways in which prison may have changed them, the tools with which to respond to the challenge of adjustment to the outside world.
The process must begin well in advance of a prisoner’s release, and take into account all aspects of the transition he or she will be expected to make. This means, among other things, that all prisoners will need occupational and vocational training and pre-release assistance in finding gainful employment. It also means that prisoners who are expected to resume their roles as parents will need pre-release assistance in establishing, strengthening, and/or maintaining ties with their families and children, and whatever other assistance will be essential for them to function effectively in this role (such as parenting classes and the like). Prisoners who have manifested signs or symptoms of mental illness or developmental disability while incarcerated will need specialized transitional services to facilitate their reintegration into the outside world. These would include, pre-release outpatient treatment and habilitation plans. No prisoner should be released directly out of solitary confinement back into the free world.
Supermax prisons must provide long periods of decompression, with adequate time for prisoners to be treated for the adverse effects of long-term isolation and reacquaint themselves with the social norms of the world. Community-Based Services to Facilitate and Maintain Restoration No significant amount of progress can be made in easing the transition from prison to home until and unless significant changes are made in the way ex-convicts are treated to enter the free world: Clear recognition must be given to the intention that persons who return home from prison face major personal, social, and structural challenges that they have neither the ability nor resources to overcome on their own. Post-release success often depends on family and friends of the individual. Gainful employment is perhaps the most critical aspect of post-prison alteration. The stigma of incarceration and the psychological remains of institutionalization require active and prolonged agency involvement to excel.
Job training, employment counseling, and employment placement programs must all be seen as essential parts of an effective restoration plan. Parole and probation services and agencies need to be restored to their original role of assisting with reintegration. Here too the complexity of the transition from prison to home needs to be fully appreciated, and parole revocation should only occur after every possible community-based resource and approach has been tried.
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