Corrections Essay

1138 words - 5 pages

When most people hear the term, “corrections” they probably think of prisons, striped uniforms, cellblocks, armed guards, and surly prisoners. Part of American corrections is prisons, but corrections is much more than that. Corrections includes prisons, jails, halfway houses, group homes, probation, parole, intensive supervision, electric monitoring, restitution programs, victim-offender mediation, and even the death penalty. Corrections can be defined as all that society does to and with offenders after they have been found guilty of a crime. Corrections even includes some things done to offenders prior to conviction, such as detention in jails pending adjudication of guilt and programs for ...view middle of the document...

The primary purpose of Colonial Era punishments was to shame and embarrass the offender. It was hoped that shaming and embarrassing would have a punitive and rehabilitative effect.
The next significant developments in American prison history were the opening of Eastern State Penitentiary at Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania, in 1821, and the opening of Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York, in 1829. The method of discipline and administration used at Eastern came to be known as the “Pennsylvania system” and Auburn became associated with the term “congregate system.” Under the Pennsylvania model, each inmate lived in a separate cell with a separate exercise yard. Clergy members visited inmates and attempted to help them attain a spiritual awakening or rebirth. Handcrafts were fabricated inside the cells. Complete and absolute separation from all other influences was enforced. In actuality, though, inmates developed an ingenious method of communicating with each other through a code of tapping noises over the plumbing pipes. The primary hallmarks of both the Pennsylvania and Auburn systems were total solitary confinement and religious instruction. Prisoners were confined to their cells for twenty-three hours a day, with one hour allowed for exercise. Inmates were allowed no contact with each other. The congregate system at Auburn was also characterized by confinement to individual cells. Unlike the Pennsylvania system, however, inmates were allowed to work and eat together, but were not allowed to speak to each other. Smaller cells could be built because the inmate did nothing but sleep in them. Instead of individual handcrafts, industrial manufacturing could be brought into the prison, and inmates could work on assembly-line projects. This was touted as a way for prisons to become profitable institutions for the state, rather than the ones that drained public resources.
The concept of correctional staff may be hard to define, in its broadest sense; it means all workers employed for a particular correctional facility or agency. This would include a wide array of employees beginning with the warden and his administrative staff, and then correctional officers, counselors, medical personnel. In addition, correctional staff has been defined as both custody-orientated workers and noncustodial workers. Custody orientated workers have a primary focus on the security and control of inmates. This would include correctional officers, first line supervisors, and security management. Non-custody workers provide other services to aid in the operation of the prison or the care of inmates. These workers include treatment, industry, education, medical, maintenance, kitchen, and business support staff.
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