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Prison Service

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How can the police or prison or probation service be seen to be effective? Critically examine measures used and explore alternatives.

Introduction:
Imprisonment and jailing has been an effective way to protect the society from corrupt people and individuals with criminal tendencies. The theory behind imprisonment is to isolate the wrong-doer from the society as the person can be harmful and dangerous to other people, and also stop him from enjoying civil liberties, thus enhancing the sense of deprivation and lack of freedom as a punishment to deter him from repeating the crime in the future. Although this may sound an ideal way to deal with criminals, the ground realities are quite different from the expected results. As no solution is perfect and without flaws, the same goes with this problem of handling criminal behaviour and controlling uncivil citizens, thus increasing problems inside the prisons and penitentiaries.
Prisons hold a complete new world inside them. As the most dangerous people from all over the country or province/state are collected in a single space, the chances of different mishaps and unwanted happenings are increased a hundred fold. Therefore, the prison service or probation service should be capable of handling such situations. Furthermore, the prison service should competent enough to prevent any incidents from happening at all. Containing any undesirable situations, preventing jailbreaks, controlling prisoner riots, thwarting murder attempts and violent attacks, halting drug trafficking, preventing any sexual harassment or assaults and frustrating any prison gangs from causing any harms are the primary tasks of a prison service. Further duties include the training of convicts to become a better citizen of society, provide them with adult education (if required), providing proper healthcare without any discrimination of race, class, colour, religion or creed and building the capacity of inmates to integrate with the society after they have completed their sentence.
This paper will attempt to shed a light on the present prison services, their current state, the methodologies which are used, and their competency and provide further alternatives and recommendations to increase their performance and capabilities.
Theory behind Imprisonment:
Bjerregaard and Lizotte (1995) concluded that there are actually four theories that formed the idea of incarcerating certain citizens. These can be listed as under: * Punishment * Deter Specifically * Deter Generally * Rehabilitation.
Punishment: This is a very basic idea which follows the concept of punishing an individual for his/her wrong doing and preventing him/her from repeating the crime.
Deter Specifically: Also known as incapacitation, the idea behind specific deterrence is to remove the criminal individual from the society, relying simply on the idea that if such a person would not be a part of the society, his/her criminal actions would not affect the society in any way whatsoever and population in general will stay safe (Cao, Zhao, & Van Dine, 1997; Harer & Steffensmeier, 1996; Irwin & Cressey, 1962).
Deter Generally: This involves making someone an example for a serious crimes (Carlson, 2001; Huff & Meyer, 1997). For instance, if there is death penalty for intentional homicide, then lesser people will do any such act. This idea has given way to many harsh punishments such as life imprisonments and capital punishments.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation involves guiding the offenders and making them better citizens of the society (Clemmer, 1940; Jiang & Fisher-Giorlando, 2002; Sykes, 1958). They are given education and awareness about being a productive member of the community and participating in building the society instead of tearing it down. Although this is the most productive way of dealing with offenders, many criminal minds refuse to co-operate. Many convicts, several classes of sex offenders (especially paedophiles) and criminals with psychiatric disorders do not respond to such methods, leaving incapacitation and general deterrence as the only options (Chin, 1996; Curry & Spergel, 1988; Howell & Decker, 1999; Howell, Egley, & Gleason, 2002; Hutson et al., 1995; Kelly, Chin, & Fagan, 2000).
These theories might sound perfect and flawless on paper but applying them on the ground is completely different. These theories seem to fail at many points, there are many negative effects of holding someone in a prison, and these will be discussed in detail in further sections of this paper. Other alternatives must be applied in order to keep order within the prison system and the society.
Present Condition of Prisons and Prison Services around the world: According to statistics of 2005, United States of America was leading the world with highest incarceration rates with Russia and Rwanda close behind (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998; Curry, 2000; Huff 1998; Miller & Decker 2001). USA houses 737 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. USA holds 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population (Curry, 2000). The following graph shows the prison populations around the world:

With such high numbers of individuals behind bars, the degree of competency of prison services should match the criteria at which the prisons should be operated at 100% efficiency.
The present conditions of prisons around the world vary according to countries and states. There have been countless reported incidents of prisoner abuse and torture, either by the prison authorities or by fellow-prisoners. These incidents include physical torture, sexual abuse and psychological torture (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998; Curry, 2000; Huff 1998; Miller & Decker 2001).
Physical Torture: This includes needless and unnecessary beatings, hitting, and corporal punishments. Painful restrains and prolonged painful positions are also regarded as physical torture.
Sexual Abuse: This includes Forced intercourse, genital mutilation and other forms of sexual abuse. According to a research conducted in 2003, almost every 1 male prisoner in 5 prisoners is subject of sexual abuse in the United States. Almost same is the condition in European countries as well (e.g. DeLisi, 2003; Wooldredge, 1994).
Psychological Torture: This includes sleep deprivation, taunting, verbally abusing, keeping prisoners hungry for prolonged periods of times etc.
An example of one such incident was reported in 2001, in Arizona County when a man named Charles Agster was killed when 9 deputies manhandled him in a restraint chair and caused ‘positional asphyxia’ (which later caused his death). The man was handed to the authorities for being drugged and causing nuisance in a local departmental store .
With such incidents happening almost everyday around the world and in USA, UK and Europe, a large overhaul in the system of prison service should be introduced.
Prisoner abuse and torture is not only limited to the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. Other countries around the world are convicted of prisoner abuse accordingly (Battin et al., 1998; Esbensen, Deschenes, & Winfree, 1999; Esbensen, Huizinga, & Weiher, 1993; Li, Stanton, Pack, Harris, Cottrell, & Burns, 2002; Winfree, Mays, & Vigil-Backstrom, 1994; Winfree, Vigil-Backstrom, & Mays, 1994). Neither is prisoner abuse limited to local convicts only, Prisoner of War are often the target of worst prisoner abuse, however dealing with them is a different topic as they are under the authority of the military and not the police, and that is not our topic of discussion over here.
There are many NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) which are focused on reporting and putting an end to incidents of prisoner abuse and enhancing the state of prisons, prisoners and prison service. Their reporting is usually based on hidden videos made inside prisons (leaked videos made by other officers or someone under cover in the prison) or accounts of former inmates of a particular prison (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998; Curry, 2000; Huff 1998; Miller & Decker 2001).
Steps Needed:
The first things which we need to focus on are the reasons so as to why these incidents happen in the prisons. Is the prison staff really qualified enough to handle prisoners? What are the requirements through which the prison staffs is appointed? Is the prison service eligible to routine psychiatric checkups to keep a track of their record? Many such questions will be raised and attempted to be answered in the further sections of this paper.
Use of Physical/ Psychological Torture and the issue of corrupt officers:
Fischer (2001) argues that usually, use of physical and psychological torture against defenceless prisoners is used by the officers because of their own frustration and anger. This has been found by psychological studies performed after the cases of Abu Gharib and Bagram Airbase prisoner abuse and torture. When the soldiers were under constant stress and see their fellows die in front of them, and being unable to hit back the insurgents, they used to spill out their frustration on the prisoners they had on their disposal. A similar case was reported when British soldiers were filmed beating unarmed Iraqi children in the street with batons and mutilating one body as well. Such behaviour caused scandalous media portrayal and further studies were launched to identify and prevent any such behaviour in the military. However, only the military was focused in such researches and studies and the local policing was ignored to a greater extent (Esbensen & Huizinga, 1993; Fagan, 1989; Huff, 1998; Klein, Maxson, & Cunningham, 1991). Unknown to any media attention, abuses behind bars were happening constantly.
Such kind of prison service is not affective but destructive for the society. Absolute power often corrupts the prison service members as they seem accountable to no one. Many of the cases go unreported as they are covered up by fellow officers and prison staffs.
Why do the prison officers succumb to such levels of inhumanity and cruelty? In 1971, Stanford University social psychologist Philip Zimbardo used role-playing to explore the power of social context on behaviour. He set up an experiment assigning randomly chosen volunteers, mostly Stanford students, to play the roles of either prisoners or prison guards. Both groups were assigned appropriate uniforms and told the rules of the game. As is widely known among those who have studied social psychology or criminal justice administration, the experiment quickly collapsed into a shocking disaster. Fagan (1989) summarizes the events as follows*:
“After little more than a day, the guards and prisoners, and even the experimenters, got caught up in the situation. The guards devised cruelly degrading routines. The prisoners broke down, rebelled, or became apathetic. And the experimenters worked overtime to maintain prison security. There developed, reported Zimbardo. A growing confusion between reality and illusion, between role-playing and self-identity, this prison which we have created, was absorbing us as creatures of its own reality. The simulation was planned to last two weeks. But Zimbardo writes: “
“At the end of only six days we had to close down our mock prison because what we saw was frightening. It was no longer apparent to us or most of the subjects where they ended and the roles began. The majority had indeed become “prisoners” or “guards,” no longer able to clearly differentiate between role-playing and self. There were dramatic changes in virtually every aspect of their behaviour, thinking and feeling. In less than a week, the experience of imprisonment ended (temporarily) a lifetime of learning; human values were suspended, self-concepts were challenged, and the ugliest, most base, pathological side of human nature surfaced. We were horrified because we saw some boys (“guards”) treat other boys as if they were despicable animals, taking pleasure in cruelty, while other boys (“prisoners”) became servile, dehumanized robots who thought only of escape, of their own individual survival, and of their mounting hatred of the guards.”*
With such psychological studies at hands, it should be suggested that prison guards and officers should be monitored independently by a third party source to make sure that such incidents don’t happen, and if they do, they are reported directly to the governmental authorities. The concept of “absolute power” should be stripped from prison service members. They should know that they are accountable to a higher power – the State.
Furthermore, it has been reported that many of the officers and staff at most detention centres are themselves involved in corruption and protect the gang leaders who are incarcerated in their prisons (e.g.Flanagan, 1980; Wooldredge, 1991). Such tendency leads towards widespread corruption within the prisoners as well.
The solution for this is the same as stated before in this paper: There should be a third-party authority which should be responsible of looking over the prison service, with jurisdiction over the prison service to take action against them if they are reported of any transgression of their authority or break of their code-of-conduct.
Awareness and education level in the prisoners:
Most of the prisoners which come to prison are highly uneducated, most not even graduated secondary schools. Many of them are drop outs because of their unsocial behaviour and dysfunctional families. Such circumstances make it necessary to make them aware of their rights and duties to the state (Flanagan, 1983; Wooldredge, 1991). Many of the young prisoners join Prison Gangs when they enter the walls of a detention centre, for one or more reason which includes security, power and a sense of having a ‘family’. Prison Gangs are defined as a group of people which operate within the walls of the prison with a specific code of conduct and means of communications. They usually operate in secrecy. Becoming a part of a Prison Gang just enhances the criminal mindset and unsocial behaviour in an individual. Therefore gangs should be curbed in a prison and education should be freely spread. The inmates which are educated themselves should be selected for teaching other prisoners (under a regulated/controlled environment) and should be offered some rewards. Adult psychologists should devise an adult education course solely targeted at prisoners, although this is present in many incarceration centres, it is voluntary. This should not be the case; prisoners who are eligible and recommended for the education should be conscripted into the prisoner education program. This will ensure that they actually learn something other than violence and gang-wars in the prisons. The bar-chart below shows the difference between adult population and prisoners and the difference of their education levels.

The chart above shows complete illiteracy to be around 4% in the general population while nearly 18% in the Prison population. Illiteracy is also a problem in causing criminal behaviours as these prisoners are not accepted by the society (Allender & Marcell, 2003; Fong & Vogel, 1995).
An effective prison service will make sure to provide education to its prisoners as it would help more inmates to become a part of the society and gain respectable jobs when they complete their sentences.
Conclusion:
From above discussion, we have come to the conclusion that stripping the sense of “absolute power” from prison service members, curbing gang culture and imparting awareness and education in the inmates can be three major breakthroughs in improving the Prison Service.

Reference List
Battin, S. R., Hill, K. G., Abbott, R. D., Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (1998). The contribution of gang membership to delinquency above and beyond delinquent friends. Criminology, 36,
93–115.
Bjerregaard, B., & Lizotte, A. J. (1995). Gun ownership and gang membership. Journal of Criminal
Law and Criminology, 86, 37–58.
Blumstein, A., Cohen, J., Roth, J. A., & Visher, C. (Eds.) (1986). Criminal Careers and ‘Career
Criminals’. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Cao, L., Zhao, J., & Van Dine, S. (1997). Prison disciplinary tickets: A test of the deprivation and importation models. Journal of Criminal Justice, 25, 103–111.
Camp, S. D., Gaes, G. G., Langan, N. P., & Saylor, W. G. (2003). The influence of prisons on inmate misconduct: A multilevel investigation. Justice Quarterly, 20, 501–534.
Carlson, P. M. (2001). Prison interventions: Evolving strategies to control security threat groups.
Corrections Management Quarterly, 5, 10–22.
Chin, K. (1996). Chinatown Gangs: Extortion, Enterprise, and Ethnicity. New York: Oxford University
Press.
Clemmer, D. (1940). The Prison Community. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Curry, G. D., & Spergel, I. A. (1988). Gang homicide, delinquency, and community. Criminology, 26,
381–405.
Curry, G. D. (2000). Self-reported gang involvement and officially recorded delinquency.Criminology,
38, 1253–1274.
Dean, C., & Lawless, J. F. (1989). Tests for detecting overdispersion in Poisson regression models.
Journal of the American Statistical Association, 84, 467–472.
DeLisi, M. (2001). Extreme career criminals. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 25, 239–252.
DeLisi, M. (2002). Not just a boy’s club: An empirical assessment of female career criminals. Women
& Criminal Justice, 13, 27–46.
DeLisi, M. (2003). Criminal careers behind bars. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 21, 653–669.
DeLisi, M., & Gatling, J. (2003). Who pays for a life of crime? An empirical assessment of the assorted victimization costs posed by career criminals. Criminal Justice Studies, 16, 283–293.
Decker, S. H., & Curry, G. D. (2002). Gangs, gang homicides, and gang loyalty: Organized crimes or disorganized criminals. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30, 343–352.
Esbensen, F., Deschenes, E. P., & Winfree, L. T., Jr. (1999). Differences between gang girls and gang boys: Results from a multisite survey. Youth & Society, 31, 27–53.
Esbensen, F., & Huizinga, D. (1993). Gangs, drugs, and delinquency in a sample of urban youth.
Criminology, 31, 565–589.
Esbensen, F., Huizinga, D., & Weiher, A. W. (1993). Gang and non-gang youth: Differences in explanatory factors. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 9, 94–116.
Fagan, J. (1989). The social organization of drug use and drug dealing among urban gangs.
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Fischer, D. R. (2001). Arizona Department of Corrections: Security Threat Group (STG) Program Evaluation, Final Report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,
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...Prison Health Care Agency HCS/430 Legal Issues in Health Care: Regulation and Compliance August 4, 2014 Prison Health Care Agency There are many facets in the health care industry. Examples include hospitals, urgent care centers, physicians’ offices, medical labs, and more. One not really spoken about, is the prison health care system. Prison health care is the medical treatment of inmates in the United States Correctional Facilities (Means & Cochran, 2012) this is according to the report. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) is a federal agency that oversees the medical needs of prisoners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In 2012, the number of admissions to state and federal prison in the United States was 609,800 offenders (Carson & Golinelli, 2013). With these prison inmate statistics, clearly there is a need for health care in the prison system. The NCCHC is a federal agency that was constructed to improve the quality of health care in the prison setting. The NCCHC was founded in the early 1970’s. The American Medical Association (AMA) executed a study on the conditions of jails. The AMA found “inadequate, disorganized health services, and a lack of national standards” (National Commission on Correctional Health Care, 2013). The National Commission on Correctional Health Care states their mission is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities. They support their mission...

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