Punishment and Society Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1853 Words
Date:  2022-07-20

There has been an increase in the prison population in the past decade. From the year 1973 to 1990' America recorded an increase in the number of prisoners. This growth has led to an increase in more young and violent inmates and court rulings which has affected administrators and guards power. This factor has also pushed a lot of scholars and corrections practitioners to develop a more effective way that may help manage this penal institution and ensure prison safety. (Stohr, Walsh & Hemmens, 2013). Criminologists around the world described the criminal justice system approach developed during the year 1980 as the era of punishment of justice model that had a major effect on the prison population size around the world during the years of 1990's to present decade. (Cornwell, 2009). Moreover, there is a current report which indicates that prisons are overcrowded, overpopulated, insecure , squalid, inhabited by demoralized staff, restless and disaffected by inmates who are simmering on rebellion and riot point. However, prisons are regarded as unstable places that host a large number of some dangerous and difficult people against their will for some lengthy period. Jails filled above reasonable capacity become crowded, and thus the day- to -day routine tends to become difficult to operate. This leads to pressure on the available number of resources of recreation, work, visitation education. However, inability to maintain and provide purposeful and active prison regimes results from inmates spending longer in prison thus they become resentful, bored, and are however difficult to control.

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Claiming that penal system is in a crisis state might not seem to be controversial. Nor would a lot of people imagine that the penal crisis is sudden or new. For a lot of years now, reports from the media have acquainted everybody with the perception that prison population has rocketed, and there are overcrowding, disorders, and riots and unrest among inmates and staff which may result to deepening and severe penal crisis. The crisis is a term which has been common in the academic accounts and in media of the penal system for over 20 years. All this has resulted in the background of the population of prison whereby it is scaling higher. The prison record levels are said to be high and continuing to have a deep malaise which runs through the penal system. (Alvarado, 2017). Penal systems growth is a result of increased number of people sent to the prison, convicted prisoners serving long sentences, aggressive approach of criminal justice or legislature system and lack of appropriate population projection and prisoner's need analysis and poor planning.

There has been a widespread world trend in regard to inmates numbers on general proportion and absolute population. America has witnessed a massive increase in the prison population and the most current dramatic example is of hyper-incarceration. (UK Sage pub, 2018). The US supreme court found out that there is overcrowding in prisons and it has become so bad in a way that prisons has almost doubled in terms of the capacity which is designed and the inmate security and health are being affected. Since the mid-1970's the prison's population of California state has increased by 750 % this being driven by sentencing law based on vengeance, fear, and arrogance. However, California would only resolve over crowdedness in prison by establishing a sentencing commission that would bring consistency, data-based and proportionality assessments to its laws. The state should also seek ways that would help release prisoners into the rehabilitation and re-entry services. (New York Times, 2013).

Wales and England have also recorded a high prison population and this population is said to be increasing continuously. In 1975, the prison population doubled from forty thousand to eighty thousand. This is the period the population was causing a serious concern. However, the population reached its highest peak in the year 2006 when there was a breach of a population of eighty thousand. However, estimates from home office suggested that by the year 2013 , if the trend continued , the prison population would be over one hundred and six thousand. (Cavadino et al, 2013).

Orthodox accounts of penal crisis are the most commonsensical analysis of most reports of mass media in penal systems. However, the cause of this crisis is said to be the combination of various types of difficult prisoners who are also regarded as a "toxic mix" .The orthodox account also points out the factors that lead to the penal crisis. They include overcrowding, high prison population, understaffing, bad living condition with the prison for both prison staff and inmates, poor security, the unrest of the staff members, toxic mix and breakdown and riots of control over prisoners. (Crisis.What Crisis, 2018).

Prisons are characterized by some factors which may have effects on inmates. In the prison system, the crowded situation may be chronic and prisoners may be prone to the gathered anti-social behaviors, this is because there may be the absence of personal control ,and thus boredom and idleness may be prevalent. The previous research has concluded that there are three types of effects of overcrowding on the prison environment. The first effect is a scarcity of resources, that includes opportunities for prisoners to participate in rehabilitative and self-improvements programs such as vocational training, employment and academics are curtailed. The resources may also include recreational facilities, washrooms, library resources or television seating lounge. The second effects are on the prisoners' behavior. Where crowding leads to stress, and this may heighten fear, idleness, turning off of unwanted stimulation and interaction such as noise. The last effect is the inability combination where if the correctional system that helps to meet the high demand for more results to harm the space of inmates.

Overpopulation in prison contributes to poor conditions, this is one of the main issues that prison systems are faced with. The consequences are said to be life-threatening and may prevent the prison system to fulfill their functions. Overpopulation in prison is as a result of the policy of the criminal justice system. It is regarded to undermine prison system ability to meeting its human needs that include healthcare , accommodation, and food. It also entails effectiveness and provision of education, rehabilitation programme and recreational activities and vocational training. It also results in a lack of privacy which may lead to mental health exacerbation problems and may increase violence rates, suicide and self-harm.

Overpopulation has led to the bad physical condition in prison. It has also led to prisoners in remand to be kept in inadequate conditions. Overpopulation occurs when the recommended number exceeds the certified normal accommodation (CNA) establishments. According to CNA, many prisons are sharing the cells than what is recommended. The high number means that there are fewer resources available to the prisoners. Fewer resources will lead to less time spent on cases of an individual thus limiting reformation success. Overcrowding and high prison population will also lead to problems with the prison staff. The increasing number and low prison budget affect the staff to prisoner ratio. This means that the prisoner's supervision will be less available which may affect the time of rehabilitation and time out of the cell.

A lot of prisons in the world is decaying and is old and however, the newly established prisons are designed badly in a way that they do not have any noticeable improvement. There are issues such as poor sanitary facilities where some even have to use chamber pots. However, these poor conditions affect both inmates and staff thus resulting in unrest and low morale. Poor conditions and overpopulation in prison are one of the major contributing factors ,to security and control. Overpopulation of prisons increases the staff workload, this is referred to as "staff unrest" which can lead to industrial action. The industrial action may lead to prison service breakdown. However, understaffing may affect security in making assaults, control of breakdown and leads to escape likelihood. Overpopulation exposes prisoners to harsh environmental conditions such as cold, heat, food contamination and lack of proper sanitation.

Overpopulation crisis has a negative impact on the international standards and health care of prisoners. The international standards define health care quality which should be provided to the inmates. Article twelve of UN of the year 1966 of the international covenant of economic, social and cultural rights suggests that every individual has the freedom to enjoy mental and physical highest attainable standard. This applies to inmates and to the other human being. The prisoners retain their rights to enjoy good health and retain their mental and physical health and their entitlement to healthcare standard which is equal to the one provided in the community. However, prisons have special difficulty in health promotion. On the individual level, there is a perception that prison carries away autonomy and it may further damage or inhibit self-esteem. Some of the most common problems is mobbing, bullying, social exclusion, and boredom where it may become worse as family members of the prisoners may be stressed due to separation. Inmates have a higher chance of mental health issues and other illnesses . It is estimated that 37% of inmates have had hypertension as compared to the other general population who has 1%. They also are prone to heart diseases and have a high rate of hepatitis C and HIV infection. Infectious diseases can spread quickly in crowded prisons. (Moller, Gatherer, Jurgens, Stover & Nikogosian, 2007). However contagious diseases, for example, TB, has been a major health concern in overcrowded prisons. There are possibilities of outbreaks in prisons, which is as a result of poor ventilation, large numbers of prisoners enclosed. Chronic diseases are also a result of overpopulation in prisons, these diseases include asthma, hypertension, and diabetes. Prison overpopulation has resulted in inmates not receiving medical care and screening of this chronic diseases and this conditions have been underreported.

The penal crisis is caused by overuse of the prison custody which is viewed as a way of punishing the offenders. It has resulted to moral panic or sustained media pressure which is sustained on government thus creating a fear of crime and raising public alarm. Imprisonment overuse means that a lot of offenders that fail to present a significant public risk level and whose offices are not so serious end up in prison when it is not necessary. Use of "parole release stringent restrictions" also results in offenders spending long in custody that it is required. Indeterminate use of extensive sentences has the same effect as the extended sentences and provision of discriminatory for a certain group of offenders.


Spending longer in prison makes the role of correctional staff uncertain and stressful since they bear the impact of the disruptive and disgruntled behavior of the inmates who are disaffected daily. The overcrowded prisoners make reasonable hard to enforce discipline and thus makes security liable to operational toughness and supervision. However, both the staff and inmates are at a physical risk as the more predatory and stronger prisoners prey on the weaker and there is the likelihood of violence. A lot of media sources cast a picture that prisoners are unreceptive and uncooperative to rehabilitation and discipline and are out of control. This information is however presented in a way which neglects and...

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Punishment and Society Essay Example. (2022, Jul 20). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/punishment-and-society-essay-example

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