Essay: Corrections Administration

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Corrections

Continuum of Behavior and Social Groups

The continuum of behavior is described as behavior from socially acceptable to socially deviant. This continuum is most often associated with social identity theory which posits an individuals' self-perception or self-concept to be derived from membership in a social group they determine to be personally relevant. Ascribing to this notion, certain behaviors within the group are determined to be legitimate or permissible within the group environment Hogg & Vaughan, 2002). This behavioral continuum is said to move from positive defined as caring and helpful to negative associated with hate and violence. Along the continuum are descriptors such as self sacrificing, or the willing to risk one's own life for another person, ideology or ideal to life threatening, where lynching, assassination, genocide and arson are denoted. Silence is noted along the continuum and can be seen as either approving or disapproving of the associated behavior.

Primitive and Contemporary Law

According to Kelsen, in primitive law, even inanimate objects, animals, and plants are subject to the law. He further posits that every rule of law 'obligates human beings to observe a certain behavior under certain circumstances" (2009. p. 45). Contemporary law is defined as the law that is present and currently prevails. Through the contextual lens of primitive law, the behavior could be illustrated as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth as it relates to behaviors that would be socially unacceptable. Contemporary law bespeaks very clear and specific guidelines as to how each behavior determined illegal should be addressed.

Religions Impact and Punishment

Although there is reportedly a division of church and state as it relates to contemporary court systems, religion has played a significant part in determining what infractions are punishable based on a moral spectrum. Behavior considered to be socially unacceptable particularly on the furthest end of the behavioral spectrum are considered not only illegal, but amoral and a sin according to religion and religious pundits.

Works Cited

Hogg, M., & Vaughan, G. (2002). Social Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kelsen, H. (2009). General theory of law and state. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Historical Development in the field of Corrections

Punishments determined to be codified for offenders emanates from the earliest time of human history. From the draconian code of classic Greece to the codes derived in early Rome that constituted much of European law, there have been very significant changes in the historical development in the field of corrections. The Middle Ages is a time period wherein many of the early laws that governed the land are reflected. Because much of American law regarding crime and punishment are based upon the European standard, it is important to include Europe's history in the delineation of development in the field of corrections.

Subsequent to the Enlightenment in Europe and the Great Law originally developed in 1682, the penitentiary era began in the United States subsequent to the American Revolution. Reformers insisted it was time for Americans to step away from barbaric and punitive forms of punishment and embrace greater humanistic and rational on how punishment was to be instituted (Misis, 2011). The mid 1800s saw disenchantment with the penitentiary model because reform was not the focus, corporal punishment was. The classification of prisoners system was developed in 1870 and New York was the first to implement.

The progressive era, evidenced by urbanization, industrialization and advances in science and technology, introduced the rehabilitative era in the United States. With this move came the desire to improve living conditions of the poor as a means of addressing rising crime as well as rehabilitation for offenders. This era bled into the medical model era where social, biological and psychological principles were applied to the behaviors of criminals and remediation and rehabilitation through joint models of corrections and psychology were introduced (Misis, 2011). In the 1950's punishment was seen as obsolete and antiquated and treatment models were introduced. The construction of the prisons and the views on punishment continued to change and because of rise in crime rates in the 1970's through the 1990's change occurred again. Prisons are seen as warehouses for offenders. Because of overcrowding privatization has been implemented, and the three strikes rules have been applied.

Works Cited

Misis. M. (2011). History of corrections in America. Retrieved 17 February 2012 from http://www.usm.edu/cj/Syllabi/Misis/pdf

Greatest Weakness in Modern Day Jails

There are a number of factors that could be pointed to as to the problems that persist in modern day jails. One of the prevailing issues seems to be that of overcrowding. It is quite easy to point to construction as the problem for overcrowding or a rise in criminal activity. However, crime rates have been consistently decreasing since 1993 with the exception of drug related offenses and the three strikes you are out laws (Misis 2011). With that being said, the greatest weakness in modern day jails really points to a flaw in the legal system and how three strikes you're out has been applied. Moreover, the issues related to non-violent offenses being treated in the same manner as violent offenses with three strikes you're out has led to much of the overcrowding in modern day jails.

The short-term answer to this problem, however, is not in the remediation of the legal system. It is currently farfetched to think that the law will be applied differently, fairly and in a racially unbiased manner in the next few years. Given this set of unfortunate circumstances, a band-aid look at the jails themselves seems to be the only viable answer at present.

If we are to look at overcrowding as the most significant issue, more guards won't resolve it although it may be helpful to deter some of the violent outbreaks that tend to transpire in these kinds of conditions. Privatization and the construction of more jails has been posited as an intervention; however, there are ethical concerns as well as administrative concerns as to who has the final say on how the jails are to be run. More jails would temporarily address the issue of overcrowding, but budgetary issues for many states and the controversies regarding privatization prove prohibitive at the moment.

Works Cited

Misis. M. (2011). History of corrections in America. Retrieved 17 February 2012 from http://www.usm.edu/cj/Syllabi/Misis/pdf

Special Category Offenders

A special category offender has been defined as one that has been found not guilty on grounds of mental impairment or they are considered unfit to plead on their own recognance; have been sentenced to an effective minimum sentence of ten or more years; was previously considered a special category offender, released on parole and returned to the prison system (Prisoner Legal Service, 2012). Other means of classification as a special category offender include those charged with murder, those sentenced indefinitely, and those who have been nominated by the Commissioner during their period of processing within the prison because of the level of attention garnered from the public and heightened levels of supervision required and programmatic support (Prison Legal Service, 2012).

Special category offenders present a host of differing challenges for the institution contingent upon why they are a considered special category offender. For example, for someone the commissioner has determined requires this classification because of media and public attention, additional supervision is required on and off premises. Other inmates are often aware of their heightened status and because of jealousies or anger with the crime that is committed, the special category offender is at increased risk within the prison. If that individual is still participating in court proceedings, additional guards and clear guidelines for processing that individual in and out of the facility are warranted. Moreover, there will be peaked interest in how that particular prisoner is treated within the prison.

Additionally, special category offenders are often… [END OF PREVIEW]

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