Prison System Essay

1288 words - 5 pages

WRA 10October 30, 2014The Prison system is groaning under the weight of offenders, and if steps aren't taken to increase capacity the prison system could face a real crisis. Many of our prisons are operating at more than twice the allotted space for inmates. Overcrowding of prisons obviously has a detrimental effect on conditions within a prison. With more inmates there is less money for each individual, and standards in prisons suffer. Some might say that this isn't a problem; that as they have broken the law we should not be overly concerned with their rights. On the one hand overcrowding sometimes seems to emerge as a problem which remained hidden for long time until it all of sudden puts policy makers under pressure. As globalization and crime become increasingly borderless, so international and comparative prison research become imperative. Criminal justice systems have to operate in a global context, as criminals operate across national and international borders. Critically, penal systems must cooperate and learn from each other. Increasingly, prisons across the world are taking note of constructive developments elsewhere and introducing such reforms locally. Overcrowded prisons and prison reform are not dealt with as priority issues in political systems, it is little wonder that prisons have been left off the endless development to do lists of many post colonial governments. Many social needs, protection of prisoners is far from the top of many priority lists, moreover the consensus of opinion is that prison is a locus for detention, punishment and deterrence as opposed to rehabilitation and reintegration.Overcrowded prisons have stimulated attempts to develop instruments which provide projections or forecasts of the course prison populations will take in order to be able to make sound decisions on whether to provide for more prison capacity or to close prisons. But, projections of prison populations are faced with well known problems of predicting the future, point to uncertainty and ultimately also to self fulfilling prophecies. Regional human rights treaties reiterate international prohibitions of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment as do national constitutions. Substantive knowledge on how offenders are processed, information on sentencing and on post adjudication processes as well as correctional decision-making is needed in order to tailor policies to the specific configurations found in a specific country.Many countries are exposed to economic and financial hardships which bring with it conflict laden choices on where to direct scarce resources. Furthermore, policy makers have to respect separation of power principles and thus are subject to normative constraints which contribute to problems of effective planning, close coordination and rapid adjustments of the use of prison sentences and the flow of prisoners. Prison conditions certainly are not in line with the United Nations Minimum Standards as basic needs of prisoners such...

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