Imprisonment in the Society
Prison facilities are one of the prominent organizations in the United States of America. However, these services provide ethical issues. Among the challenges of imprisonment, there are problems like legal punishment, policing, and criminalization. Legal punishment is a state authorization to provide judgment to the offender. Punishment consists of deprivation or harm to the offender. An issue of concern is whether imprisonment helps individuals to change their behavior and become better in the society or does not have an impact on their lives.
Detention involves liberty deprivation; liberty is an important aspect of the lives of people (Aizer, 2015). The second purpose of punishment is helping one to change and become better in the society. A prison is a discipline institution. It has played a role in ensuring that offenders do not bring major problems to the community when they come out of prisons. In summary, modern imprisonment and punishment reduce the possibility of one living a comfortable life when locked in jail. This aspect allows one to think about his/her life and how he/she can change to become a better person in the community to avoid going back to prison (Neill & Morris,2015). The research proposal looks at the issues of the justice systems in prisons and finds out whether they provide rehabilitation or punishment.
There are also adverse consequences of prisons in the lives of prisoners such as housing issues and employment to ex-prisoners. Besides, imprisonment affects the lives of the family and friends of the inmate. Punishment should be proportional to the wrongs one has committed. Not every individual that commits offenses should be jailed. There is the issue of overcrowding in prisons because some people are punished for wrongs committed. It, therefore, follows that only serious criminals should be imprisoned to ensure that they are kept away from the society and avoiding further harm to the society (Enns, 2014). Offenders that should be punished include those who have committed vices like rape, terrorism, kidnapping, assaults, and homicides.
There should exist other forms of punishment that will ensure people change behavior. Community service is important in ensuring that individuals think of a way to become better. Inmates should be given the opportunity to communicate with their family members, and thus, the community service would help in the transformation of their behavior (Lobuglio & Piehl, 2015). It is, therefore, important to understand that imprisonment should be the last resort when providing punishment on offenders.
Various individuals in the society believe that there is no need to reform prisons and that they should remain the same. However, there is a necessity to provide inmates with privacy and allow members of their families visit them regularly (Neill & Morris, 2015). It would necessary to support imprisonment as a way of behavior change rather than punishment. There is no need to punish people and not allow them the opportunity to change their behavior. After the imprisonment period is over, individuals would go back to their normal lives and continue with their previous habit. Hence, it is crucial to identify other forms of punishment and behavior change rather than advocate for imprisonment only.
Mandatory minimum regulations are aimed at specific crimes like violence, drug issues, and sexual offenses. The court can make decisions to release individuals of some offenses. Some factors alter the provision of mandatory sentencing. The first one is changing the duration of sentencing. Secondly, it should be determined whether the law requires altering of the sentence length and, finally, whether the law requires a judge to provide imprisonment legislation on the offender.
There are various types of sentencing laws on the mandatory law (Neill & Morris, 2015). The first factor includes discretional sentence development whereby there is an alteration of the time of sentencing for a committed offense to allow the judge to impose a sentence that does not permit imprisonment. The second factor is mandatory sentence promotion that allows the judge to reduce the time for the sentencing of the offender. Finally, there is an enhanced mandatory imprisonment that would enable a judge to pass sentence to criminals.
Failed Goals of the Prison Systems
The United States prison does not achieve its aims. People believe that imprisonment changes the lives of people and they become better. Nevertheless, this is clearly not true because prisoners face issues in their lives. There are issues because innocent people are convicted without enough evidence about their wrongs. Therefore, there should be ways of ensuring fairness in judgment; one should not go to jail when they are innocent.
The research proposal aims to look for the criminal justice system issues, to answer the following questions:
1) Has the US become an imprisoned society?
2) Are correlation authorities failing to solve crime problems?
3) Is the overall impact of imprisonment punishment or rehabilitation?
There is a need to look for a way of assessing whether jails help in the behavior change or make prisoners remain in the same position they were when being imprisoned (O’Hear & Wheelock, 2015). The methodology used includes the collection of data from the Justice statistics about the information of prisoners. The data collected will involve seven crime types that would be divided into crimes that are violent and other less violent or minor offenses (O’Hear & Wheelock, 2015). Violent ones involve rape, robbery, and murder, whereas, property crimes include vices like theft of motor vehicle and burglary. Two drugs such as marijuana and cocaine will be considered in the study because they involve violation of mandatory laws. Valuable information that will be collected includes the rate of unemployment, per-capita income of the state, and the number of police in various group ages. The information will help in looking at the impact of marijuana and cocaine regulations on the population of the prison, property, and violent crimes.
Analysis and Discussion
The data collected will be compared to the previous years to come up with a conclusion. There will also be an indication of control years to help in the comparison of the variables used in the study. The ultimate results will assist in the estimation of the relationship between the rates of crime and population of prisoners. The results would show whether the increased imprisonment leads to increased violent activities in the society (O’Hear & Wheelock, 2015). There should be strategies to make sure that the results are different from the information collected from the previous years.
The use of cocaine and marijuana is crucial in the study in the estimation of the increased number of inmates due to the use of drugs abuse and causing of violent activities. The indication of results should help in understanding the implication of imprisonment on the lives of the inmate; the behavior does not change in most cases (O’Hear & Wheelock, 2015). There is a need to look for different methods of behavior change and punishment to offenders in the attempt of improving their lives.
Imprisonment reduces the rate of crime in four ways. First, one’s threat in jail prevents a potential of the person from committing offenses. The second importance of imprisonment is that when one is jailed, there is a reduction of criminal offenses committed by an offender for the period he/she is in prison. The third significance is that a prison acts a rehabilitation institute that one should come out changed and avoids committing more offenses (O’Hear & Wheelock, 2015). Finally, imprisonment alienates one from their liberty; they leave their normal lives and get into jail where there are confinement and following of the rules and regulations.
However, there are disadvantages of putting one in prison. From the above discussion, there are possibilities of one’s criminal behavior to be enhanced when they come out of jail. Another disadvantage is the overcrowding of inmates in such places; this provides problems with the sharing of the limited resources in prisons that make people live in hostile environments.
Punishment’s Sociological Perspectives
Every society has the mandate of controlling the behavior of its members by enhancing stability, and one of the methods of regulation is punishment. Discipline helps in the upholding of solidarity, improving collective conscience, and reinforcement of shared values. Sociologists in the traditional societies show that people view punishment as a way of revenging and getting back what belonged to us (Schnittker, Uggen, Shannon, & McElrath, 2015). The modern society, on the other hand, believes that punishment should aim at restoring the lost. For Marxists, punishment is the maintenance of social order. The latter is important because it prevents people from distracting the society.
Reason for Reforms
Various changes should be implemented in ensuring that there is a change in prisons. Firstly, human rights consideration should help in avoiding deprivation of liberty rights of prisoners. The rights of detainees should be provided in helping them communicate easily with their families. Secondly, imprisonment of the breadwinner in a family leads to poverty among the dependents of the inmate; there is no income for the remaining family members (Schnittker et al., 2015). Further, after the release of an inmate, they remain poor because they lack jobs and homes; this could ultimately lead to engagement into other criminal offenses like theft.
Thirdly, prisoners face issues related to their health. When one is imprisoned, he/she lacks the ability to take care of his/her health, especially in overcrowded prisons. Such places have poor nutrition, inaccessibility to fresh air and sanitary needs, as well as a lack of time and space to carry out exercises to improve personal health condition (Schnittker et al., 2015). The most common illnesses there include HIV infection, hepatitis B, skin diseases, and malaria; most of them need proper medical attention and can be fatal if not detected and managed as soon as possible.
Fourthly, imprisonment leads to social problems like separation and divorce from their spouses. Things become different after the incarceration of a family member; the family members shift to different areas to start a new life. Hence, when inmates are released from jail, they are stranded, and most of them live in the streets (Lofstrom & Raphael, 2016). It is, however, crucial to come up with ways of improving the lives of prisoners by minimizing imprisonment punishment and adopt other methods of rehabilitation like community service.
The first recommendation in the United States prison is the aspect of trial detention. There should be an improvement in assessing to justice. There should be improved cooperation between prisons and courts to reduce the time taken in processing cases and help in the development of safeguarding pre-trial individuals (Lofstrom & Raphael, 2016). The second recommendation is the proper management of the prison issues. The standards of protecting rights of prisoners should guide practices, policies, and legislations. The management of prisons should supervise the officers in charge in the protection of detainees’ rights.
Thirdly, the issue of overcrowding can be reduced by increasing the number of prisons; the strategy will help in the reduction of congestion (Lofstrom & Raphael, 2016). Although building and maintaining new prisons requires many resources. Hence, it is important to set regulations that will ease overcrowding; an example uses alternatives to imprisonment as a form of punishment. Fourthly, on the issue of healthcare, resources should be set aside to manage health conditions in prisons. Inmates with medical problems (like tuberculosis that needs proper management) should be provided with drugs to help them become healthy. There are cases of isolation of prisoners with health conditions. Thus, it is important to come up with ways to ensure equal treatment of all inmates.
Imprisonment has been a method of punishment from the past to date. Prison confinement has played various roles including deterrence, incarceration, and rehabilitation. There are ethical concerns about the welfare of prisons. Other aspects include the impact of prisons on behavior change. This research proposal aims at finding whether the purpose of prisons is rehabilitation or imprisonment. The research project will focus on looking at the issues affecting prisoners and search for ways of rehabilitating them. The main reason for detention should not be the provision of punishment but helping in behavior change. The social life of prisoners should be taken care of to ensure that they have communication with their families. From the above discussion, it is evident that most inmates do not get the right to communicate with their families. Besides, lack of provision of medical care leads to adverse effects on prisoners, and this is unethical. There should be reforms that allow the use of alternative forms of punishment like community service to reduce overcrowding in prisons. Suggesting recommendations is important, but implementation is the best act in improving the welfare of prisons and having a reformed society.