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Institutional Treatment Of Criminal Offenders 

Required Textbook: Clear, T., Cole, G., & Reisig, M. (2013). American Corrections. (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Please read Chapter 10 and respond to the following Critical Thinking Questions. You will also respond to 2 of your peers:

Is the custodial model most appropriate for organizing prisons that operate at different security levels? What model should be used to organize a minimum security facility? What questions emerge regarding the practice of contracting with private, for-profit organizations to operate correctional facilities? Should the job of operating prisons be the sole responsibility of the government? If you were a warden, how would you handle long-term prisoners?

The first deadline for posting is Tuesday October 27th by 11:59 pm and the second deadline for responding to your classmates is Thursday, October 29 afternoon by 12 pm. When responding to a student’s post, be sure to use and address the following:

Terms and Definitions from the chapter

Campus style

Custodial model

Maximum security prison

Rehabilitation Model

Reintegration Model

Telephone-pole design

Your responses should reach beyond a simple “I agree with what you are saying.” Please use the following to begin your post when responding to your peers:

“I learned from you that..”

“I appreciated how you explained….”

First Peer’s Post – Dor

1. Is the custodial model most appropriate for organizing prisons that operate at different security levels?

The custodial model is one of the important models of incarceration. It emphasizes the safety, order and discipline which subordinate the prisoners to the right jail warden for the purpose of incapacitation or retribution. Discipline is an important factor in custodial model, and it should be strictly followed. This model is prevailing from Second World War onwards. The custodial model is the most appropriate model for organizing the jail that operates at different security plans. It is a strict model used for the punishment of offenders or criminals. The police also follow the custodial models inside the prison and take strict action against the offenders.

2. What model should be used to organize a minimum-security facility?

All three models can be used to organize a minimum-security. The custodial model emphasizes security, discipline, and order for the purpose of incapacitation, deterrence, or retribution. This model prevailed prior to World War II. The rehabilitation model, which developed during the 1950’s, views every aspect of organization as directed toward reforming the offender. The reintegration model emphasizes the maintenance of the offender’s ties to family and the community. Prisons that employ this model recognize that most inmates will one day return to the community.

3. What questions emerge regarding the practice of contracting with private, for-profit organizations to operate correctional facilities?

Private prison is a place, in which the offenders will be incarcerated or imprisoned by private organizations, for the fulfillment of the contract with the government. Private prisons are also known as for-profit prisons. Prior to the 1980s, private prisons did not exist in the United States. But thanks to the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs, which led to harsher sentencing policies and higher rates of incarceration, the inmate population skyrocketed beyond the capacity of the nation’s existing prisons, a fact that corporations were quick to take advantage. In 1984, the country’s first for-profit prison was established in Tennessee, and over the next six years, it was joined by 66 more. In August 2016, the Justice Department announce their plan to end the use of private prisons, citing concerns about their levels of safety and effectiveness at saving money compared to government-run facilities. Less than a year later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reserved this plan. Although private prisons account for a small overall percentage of America’s incarcerated population, they have grown at a disproportionate rate, with an astounding 1600 percent increase in their populations from 1990 to 2005. The firm or private for-profit organizations with a financial motive should not be put in control of prisoner’s lives.

4. Should the job of operating prisons be the sole responsibility of the government?

In my opinion, all prisons and jails should be run by the executive branch of governments and have oversight conducted by the legislative branch to minimize corruption and abuse. First of all, that’s the way our government was established. Secondly, our judicial system claims to remove the personalization of crime. Prosecutors, not victims, are charged with pursuing justice with the expectation that someone unrelated to the victim will objectively and fairly apply the rule of law. Prosecutors are considered public servants, so why would they hand off the conclusion of their job to private companies? Although there are members of the government who take bribes and / or conduct themselves with prejudice, these behaviors are multiplied when private companies are given this responsibility. The main motivator and responsibility of private companies is to make money while government officials are supposed to be motivated and legally held responsible for the safety of taxpayers. A fourth reason is that it is cheaper in the long run. CCA, now calling itself Core Civic, was the first privately owned facility in modern times to take over prisons. During a time of escalating crime in America, CCA claimed they could save taxpayers a great deal of money. That may be true for some facilities if you don’t count the costs of endless lawsuits, abuses, and human-rights and safety violations committed by private companies (who refuse to comply with freedom of information requests unless taken to court), but many private prisons have cost taxpayers more money than government facilities. As long as we allow Abusers of Power to dictate society’s response to criminal acts, there will be corruption and suffering because this group wants us to behave in ways that enhance their power and wealth. Viewing people who commit crimes as wounded individuals who need and deserve to be healed for their own good and the good of the community is presented as too expensive and lenient – not because it is, but because Abusers of Power cannot profit from such a model. Instead, Abusers of Power have manipulated society into viewing just about any sort of perceived misconduct as worthy of punishment (unless it is someone in their inner circle who is behaving badly). The masses believe these lies because it makes them feel powerful, protected, and righteous. None of those feelings are grounded in truth, but Abusers of Power do their best to keep truth hidden.

5. If you were a warden, how would you handle long-term prisoners?

Given that the warden’s tasks are multiple and complex, regarding long-term prisoners, the three areas of concern are security for guards and fellow prisoners, health, and safety of the long-term prisoner, and (most importantly) the rehabilitation of the prisoner. This means that the long-term prisoner should not be merely secreted away, but given a life-chance, a project of the will, a reason for giving his/her life value. Because the long-term prisoner is usually a multiple offender, the warden has an opportunity (and an obligation) to change the prisoner’s worldview, his/her reason for being. This can be accomplished by offering multiple chances to explore other opportunities art, music, literature, scholarly study, hobbies, etc. Many prisoners, for example, become jailhouse lawyers, by studying all the available law books; others write autobiographies or novels, given some paper (or access to a word-processing computer). Of course, safety concerns are still there a prisoner can learn shop techniques or carpentry, for example, if there is sufficient control over tools, etc. Some examples in real life have been playwrights, farmers, even dog trainers. The main point is that the warden must see the long-term prisoner as not only a prisoner in his/her care, but as a human being still capable of living a meaningful life.

Second Peer’s Post – Al

Is the custodial model most appropriate for organizing prisons that operate at different security levels?

When examining the historical context of treatment in a correctional setting, it must be seen through both domestic and international viewpoints. Under the domestic view, the United States primarily uses a custodial model, which focuses on using incapacitation as the method of retribution and deterrence.

In contrast, the international view, specifically Europe, uses the rehabilitation model. This model focuses on rehabilitating the person to become a productive member of society.

The United States of America is referred to as the land of the free, and while this notion certainly remains true in most aspects, it is important to consider that the United States has the largest population of individuals who have fundamentally been stripped of their freedom by the government.

The custodial model is based on the notion that criminals are incarcerated in order to incapacitate them from committing further crimes, which, as a result, protects society. This model is considered to be the most punitive, as it emphasizes security, discipline, and the subordination of the prisoner. 

What model should be used to organize a minimum-security facility? 

Minimum-security facilities are institutions that usually do not have walls and armed security. Prisoners housed in minimum-security prisons are considered to be nonviolent and represent a very small escape risk. Most of these institutions have far more programs for inmates, both inside the prison and outside in the community. Part of the difference in inmate rights and privileges stems from the fact that most inmates in minimum-security facilities are short timers. In other words, they are scheduled for release soon. The idea is to make the often problematic transition from prison to community go more smoothly. Inmates in these facilities may be assigned there initially, or they have worked their way down from higher security levels through good behavior and an approaching release date.

Therefore, I believe the Reintegration model should be used to organize a minimum-security facility. The reintegration model usually focuses on treatment and rehabilitation coupled with education and career training, followed by job placement after release. This gives the inmates an outlet for their time so that they don’t get involved in criminal behavior; it also gives them a way to make an income so they don’t have to turn to criminal business.

What questions emerge regarding the practice of contracting with private, for-profit organizations to operate correctional facilities? 

What’s the most important aspect of operating a prison? Cost, safety, rehabilitation, overcrowding? Should a corporation profit from a prison, even if it’s unsafe for the community and/or the prisoners? These are some questions surrounding private, for-profit organizations regarding operating correctional facilities.

Prison privatization has prospered because of claims that for-profit facilities are more cost efficient at providing services than publicly-run institutions. The evidence does not support this assertion.

In 1996, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) looked at four state-funded studies and one commissioned by the federal government assessing the cost benefits of private prisons. The outcomes of the research varied, leading the authors to conclude that “…these studies do not offer substantial evidence that savings have occurred.” Similar conclusions were reached in a 2009 meta-analysis by researchers at the University of Utah that looked at eight cost comparison studies resulting in vastly different conclusions. The analysis led the researchers to state, “…prison privatization provides neither a clear advantage nor disadvantage compared to publicly managed prisons” and that “…cost savings from privatization are not guaranteed.”

Should the job of operating prisons be the sole responsibility of the government? 

There are two main types of prison systems in the U.S.: government and private. They vary in how they’re run and funded, the rehabilitation efforts they offer, the types of inmates they house, and the level of security each require.

Ultimately, the question that must be answered in this matter is which system offers the best outcomes for both inmates and staff. While some point to a 2010 Department of Justice study citing private prisons have far more problem with recidivism rates and assaults of both inmate on inmate and inmate on staff, others have referenced studies that stated just the opposite. In most cases, it’s agreed that while private prisons appear to be here to stay, they are by no means the ultimate solution to providing better public safety nor improved rehabilitation options for prisons.

An ambiguous issue for sure, the debate that has lasted for years is expected to continue for many more. To date, all that has been agreed upon is the neither private prisons nor government-run facilities have all the answers.

Clearly, you can argue this either way. I will argue that the federal government should be in charge of operating all correctional facilities. Despite many people stating private prisons are better due to stricter regulations, I believe government facilities are better due to the availability and transparency of information. One of the major differences between these two concepts is while government prisons are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, private prisons are not. Thus, I favor the side of government facilities, noting that if questions arise the facts are much easier to uncover.

If you were a warden, how would you handle long-term prisoners?

Prison Wardens are employed in correctional facilities to manage day-to-day activities. They oversee and train staff, set goals and timeframes, develop prison policies, and ensure staff obey all governmental laws.

Early views of the impact of serving time in prison depict a process of systematic destruction of the person among offenders sentenced to long term. Recent research, however, suggests that this deterministic view is simplistic—the impact of incarceration being highly variable. The prisoner’s ability to invoke various adaptive strategies may serve to diminish the deleterious effects of incarceration.

If I were a Prison Warden, I would implement wholesome policies regarding the principal deprivations faced by long-term prisoners related to time management, maintenance of family and other extra prison relationships, and the preservation of self-identity and self-esteem. 

Although these concerns are similar to the pains of imprisonment felt by all inmates, the time factor amplifies these deprivations in the case of long-term prisoners.

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