The United States was beginning to experience a problem of overcrowding in the 1960s, and therefore, there was an urgent need of making inmates more useful to society. It resulted in the birth of the Community based correctional system. But the correction services must only be limited to those found guilty of small crimes. As for those that are high profile criminals, i.e. those found guilty of a mass shooting or economic crimes that have led to massive loss of jobs among the citizenry, are not put under this program but serve their sentence in jails.
In the community-based system, the offender is allowed to be with the society. He gets to determine what to do in the community. Because of this people believe that this system is producing a result and a favorable impression (Marion, 2002). Research has shown times without number that this system is a perfect substitute of prison especially for those that have committed petty offenses. Convicts are taken to jail to make them transform or change positively concerning their character or instead to uphold the dignity of human rights in the society.
American correction system has played a pivotal role in enhancing relapse in crime, the so-called recidivism. Many people have changed how they think about society, getting to be more responsible for their actions. These people have been taught how to struggle on their own and to make money through means acceptable by the law. Crime goes hand in hand with lack of morals, neglect, lack of proper way of making a living, peer pressure among others. The American correction system identifies these causes and finds a way of making people deal with this. The system is apparent on how one can avoid crime and this idea of operation outside of the law. The type of the American correction system that would be extensively discussed in this paper is the halfway houses.
There has been a remarkable increase in attraction and attention on this system in the past half of a century. These houses are places where people are entirely transformed into law-abiding citizens just immediately after prison. In these houses, there are several programs, i.e. rehabilitation, psychoanalysis, etc. are done to make the prisoners get and fit into society. The prisoners put in halfway houses and programs are monitored very carefully to ensure that all is right. The homes can be owned by either the government or privately by the investors, but there is only one thing that is consistent throughout with all of them. It is the fact that they aim at making people fit into society. There are some that help the drug addicts to live a life that is drug-free. It is true that an individual is most likely to succeed in this life when he or she perfectly fits into society. It underscores the importance of halfway houses to the government and the people generally.
There is a challenge of getting proper funding in most of the houses. It means that the objective or target cannot be met within the stipulated time and the houses find it hard to run their operations on a daily basis. Some people depend on donors or grants from well-wishers and government. Some of these people cannot be forced to give out their money, and so the management of the affected halfway houses must readjust their programs to cater for the little available cash. This readjustment could lead to hardship in achieving the original intention that led to the establishment of the particular halfway houses.
Halfway houses compared to the institutional correction system.
There are cases where the halfway houses complement the work done in the prisons and jails. Example, an inmate, can be kept behind bars for some time to learn how to do some art and practice that will help him earn some money once he is out. Later on, they take him to the halfway houses where he goes through some mental check, rehabilitation, and close monitoring to ensure that he is fit for community integration.
In most cases, the halfway houses can be better than the prisons especially low-level crimes because it helps one to fit into the society fully. It may not allow one to leave when the management is not entirely convinced that one has transformed. In the prisons and jail, an inmate could be released when his time there is over according to the court sentence even if he has not entirely gone through a transformation. With this, an individual is most likely to commit a crime again.
Advantages of half-way houses
- Takes convicts into full rehabilitation and only releases somebody to the society once the management is convinced that one has fully transformed.
- They are keen on behavioral change.
- They can help so many groups of individuals, i.e. drug addicts, those with psychiatric disorders, etc.
- It could appear very expensive to handle an individual because he may take a long time due to a slow recovery.
- Some individuals could take the half-way programs less serious making it hard for them to transform fully.
Marion, N. (2002). The effectiveness of community-based correctional programs: A case study. The Prison Journal, 82(4), 478-497.
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