Future of Corrections

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Future of Corrections





Future of Corrections

            The correction department has been charged with rehabilitating and incarcerating criminal offenders before they are released back into society. It is expected that when these criminal offenders leave these facilities, they are reformed and ready to be socialized into the community. However, the criminals end up in these facilities again as repeat offenders or offenders of new crimes. The cause for this is the challenges the correctional departments all over the country. The prison employees and administration are ill equipped to rehabilitate the criminal offenders because of numerous reasons.

One significant problem is the limited workforce in the prisons. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain correctional officers on the job. This is because the job usually entails interacting with dangerous criminals on a daily basis. This paints a false picture for the job profile making recruitment a weighty problem. Another problem facing the correctional department is medical care for the prisoners. The problems here include inadequate staff support, pharmaceuticals and the ability to control the spread of infectious diseases. Another issue ailing the correctional department is the inadequate resources for administrative work. This includes outdated management information systems, security system and communication devices when at work. Overcrowding of the prisons has been on the upward trend for a long time now. It seems that crime is on the rise, and the correctional department is unable to cope effectively (Waller 2009).

Other problems include the illegal immigrants who greatly increase the populations of the, gang affiliations in the prisons making it difficult to control violence in the prisons. Funding also has been a significant inhibitor to effective prison administration. Administrative issues also go beyond funding. The prison system must devise ways through which administrators can be accountable for ineffective planning and operations in their prisons. Lack of funding has been attributed to lack of political will to make prison management increasingly effective. It is also becoming difficult to classify prisoners in with regard to transgender criminals. These problems and many more maybe carried into the future if the situation in the corrections is not resolved.

In the past, it has always been expected that criminals be incarcerated. This practice was believed to be the most effective tool for rehabilitation. This has not been the case with ex-convicts go out and engage in crime landing them back into prison once more and subsequently increasing the prison population. However, recent developments in the corrections department have forced a change the system at present to change this situation. Legislation in the U.S has provided for use of community based corrections with an aim reduce population in prisons. These alternatives include but are not limited to community service, bail, probation, fines, conditional imprisonment, parole and electronic monitoring. These measures save the correctional departments all over the country costs in incarceration. It also offers minor offenders a chance to reform without the life shattering effects of jail time (Muraskin & Roberts, 2009).

The future lies in offering alternatives in offenders who have a chance to reform without experiencing jail. The future holds a vision of better correctional systems that exclude mass incarceration. Mass incarceration has been a trend thought of as a measure of reducing the crime levels in neighborhoods across the country by targeting minority races in the country (Robinson 2009). To reduce the crime levels that lead to imprisonment, it is recommended that high crime areas be provided with other opportunities for that would serve as an alternative crime. A reduced level in crime means that there are fewer offenders to imprison and thus improving the prison conditions in terms of population.

The county jails have been many prisoners simply because due process takes a lot of time before a prisoner is presented before a court of law. It is essential for the police to simplify investigation procedures to avoid holding prisoners for longer than is expected. The waiting time between trial and the time of arrest and formal charges having been lodged has to be reduced (Victor & Naughton, 2010). The longer people wait the more the number of people incarcerated without trial increases, as is the case with New York’s Rikers Island. It is necessary for legislation to impose a time limit within which trials can begin to avoid a backlog impossible to clear.

Legislation sets minimum sentences for which criminals are supposed to be incarcerated. It also recommends that recidivists should serve longer period in jail. These legislative approaches should be revised to treat each case as uniquely as they appear before the court. The nature of crime maybe similar but the circumstances should count in determining the length of prison sentence one is going to take. The abolishing of educational programs from the jails does not help in reforming criminals. An educated ex-convict has a chance of avoiding crime and engaging in socially acceptable behavior. An ex-convict without education is more likely to commit crime and land in prison once more. These programs should be reinstated in correctional institutions that removed them for cost.

The main issue of the future remains overcrowding and funding the correctional departments. All other problems will be dependent on the resolution of these two. Significant steps are being taken into avoiding overcrowding. However, these measures may have a lasting effect in the future where criminal offenders may feel that minor offences do not require jail time hence justifying committing these crimes. More prisons should be developed and at the same time initiate programs that would be effective and ensure that, the rate of repeat offenses goes down. It would also be necessary to initiate community programs that will reduce the number of juvenile offenders in high crime neighborhoods. However, all this require funding and political will to create an effective correctional system.




















Muraskin, R., & Roberts, A. R. (2009). Visions for change: Crime and justice in the twenty-first century. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Robinson, M. B. (2009). Justice blind? Ideals and realities of American criminal justice. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Victor, J. L., & Naughton, J. (2010). Annual editions: Criminal justice 09/10. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Waller, B. N. (2009). You decide!: Current debates in criminal justice. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.
















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