Research Paper Example: Correctional System of the U.S. and Germany

Date:  2021-04-07 12:53:30
4 pages  (906 words)
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George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The correctional system plays a significant role in the world. In many countries, the system consists of various government agencies, who have an obligation of the protecting the population from dangerous persons (Hirby, 2017). This is attained by use of different means such as probation and imprisonment. Correctional system is planned to keep the community safe by separating innocent people from folks who have committed offenses. This is achieved by incarcerating the convicts in prison. In America, incarceration has become a major problem which needs to be curbed. This phenomenon can be understood by comparing the correctional system of America and that of Germany since it is not facing this kind of problem at the moment. According to Riggs (2013), Germany does its things differently, and the differences are both practical and philosophical. Rehabilitation and resocialization are central in Germanys model while in U.S model focuses on retribution and isolation from the community. The two systems can be compared by reviewing the following four components.


Germany has sixteen states, and every state has got its Ministry of Justice which operates concertedly yet independently from each other. The prisons operate on the state level just has it is the case in U.S however, there is no federal prison system in Germany. The sixteen state have employed about 31, 882 employees, and out of these staffs, 21,500 workers work as uniformed guards (Oconnor, 2014). In Germany, prisons are classified according to the security level: open and closed prisons. Open prisons have the least security and slightly perceptible exterior fortifications. In closed penitentiaries security level is high with tight internal and external security being featured by many security guards, tall fence and walls and the guards are highly armed at the entrances. Open prisons are mainly used to house the less violent offenders who have short sentences while closed prisons are used to incarcerate violent criminals who have been sentenced for a long period. In the U.S prisons are categorized into three main categories which are low, medium, and high. Low-security levels have a substantial amount of security with secure and fenced perimeters, visual surveillance and separate housing units. Medium prisons have double-fenced perimeters under armed guards, separate cubes with specialized trap gates, and a patrol tower. Maximum or high-security prison are composed of all the qualities of the medium prisons only that they have more workforce, isolated cell houses with double fencing, and guard isolation and protection. In both Germany and the U.S, women, and juveniles are housed separately from their fellow male inmates. Both countries allow women who delivery while incarcerated to have the liberty of caring and maintaining their kids up to a certain age.


In Germany, judicial panel and judges have the authority and power to sentence offenders. The presiding judge has an obligation of collecting facts about the history and life of the defendant. After the court declares that the defendant is guilty, the judicial panel and judge are tasked with the responsibility of determining the sentence. If the judicial panel is to determine the kind or duration of the sentence, the sentence is determined by two-thirds vote. In the U.S, the sentencing structures are given by the federal government stipulating the maximum and minimum sentences based on keys factors such as age, and prior criminal record (Oconnor, 2014). The States in the US can have a different sentencing system, but it has to follow the guidelines provided by the USSC (United State Sentencing Commission). Punishment involves imprisonment, fines, restitution, and probation. In Germany, the death penalty is entirely abolished while in the United States only sixteen states have abolished such kind of punishment. Some of the States that have abolished death penalty in the US include Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, and West Virginia.


According to Oconnor (2014), Germany incarcerates an average of 64,379 inmates per year in all 16 States. Women account for about 5.5% of the prison population while juveniles make about 3.1%. On the other hand, US inmates population is the largest worldwide, and they house about 2,239, 751 prisoners. Women account for about 8.7% of this population while juveniles make up about 4% of this population. In Germany, there are 186 prison facilities and about 11% of these institutions are open while the rest are closed institutions. The maximum number of convicts that can be held by a single institution is 77,243, and in most cases, they are not full. In the US, there are 4,575 prison facilities: 102 federal institutions, 1,190 state facilities, and 3,283 local jails.


Prisoners in Germany are eligible for furloughs and conditional release. Conditional releases are given as result of good behavior, and they can only be granted to an inmate who has served for two-thirds of his/her initial sentence. In the US, inmates are eligible for a parole a program. A system that allows a prisoner to be released earlier than expected but they have to spend the rest of the duration under a close supervision of an officer and with strict conditions. In the United States, prisoners cannot be given a furlough privileges while in Germany, prisoners are allowed furlough as an emergency leave usually for 24 hours.


Hirby, J. (2017). Role of the Correctional System. Retrieved from

Oconnor, R. (2014). The United States Prison System: A Comparative Analysis. Retrieved from

Riggs, M. (2013). Why America Has a Mass Incarceration Problem, and Why Germany and the Netherlands Don't. Retrieved from


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