Are the lives of prison inmate reflective of the society at large?

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Yes it is true that lives of prison inmate are reflective of the society, as prison state uses its analytic crowbar to the concept of society -wide class struggle. Inmate life is structured around work, education, treatment programs, and free time. These treatment programs are design to educate the prisoners to become a better part of the society.

Labor has traditionally been considered a powerful instrument to keep inmates occupied, thus enhancing safety while teaching them vocational skills and a worker’s ethos. All able bodies are required to work in federal prisons. If inmates do not work in the facility’s branch, they should be employed in one of the house jobs such as cooking, cleaning, or maintenance. The daily schedule is supplemented by correctional programs, which emphasize education, treatment, or other types of formative goals. For instance, all inmates who possess less than basic reading skills are required to enter a remedial program.

Basically, Crime is generally viewed as a career choice rather than an environmentally induced behavioral track. The increasing number of hard-core criminals is cited as support for their vision: “We are confronted with more and more rock-hard career criminals, often foreigners. Traditional management methods do not work with this group” (Bommels, 1993:25). The exploding number of drug addicts, foreigners, and psychologically disturbed inmates has further nurtured their belief that inmates require strict supervision.

In this philosophy, protecting society from convicted criminals is the first and most important goal of detention. Deprivation of liberty should, of course, be accomplished in a humane fashion. But in this vision, humane detention does not automatically entail the provision of educational and recreational programs to every inmate. Rather, it guarantees elementary rights such as personal safety, basic amenities, and respectful treatment from prison employees. The strict philosophy is clear on the subject of rehabilitation programs. Every inmate needs an understanding of how the real world functions. It is up to the prison administration to provide opportunities for inmates to develop themselves, but such opportunities are not offered to all inmates. Only those who are serious about reform may participate in such programs.

Compare the lifestyles of women and men in correctional institutions to life outside the prison walls

There is great difference between the lifestyles of women and men in correctional institutions to life outside the prison walls.

There can be no question that prison is a particularly stressful and challenging situation. The abrupt disconnection from the outside world of family, friends, and ordinary life alone requires some level of adjustment by even the most hardy individual. When they are outside the prisoner wall they live their life according to their own choice.

Inmates have been found to respond to confinement in a number of ways.

Especially, Female offenders who are often referred to in prison literature as the “forgotten offenders,” primarily because prisons for women lack the variety of programs and services usually available to male inmates, and those that do exist tend to follow stereotypical lines, such as training in food service or cosmetology, and rarely go beyond the high school level. Medical services are also woefully inadequate in female prisons, a particular problem given the more serious health problems facing women inmates, including pregnancy. Services for inmate mothers and their children are also lacking, which is highly problematic given that 75 to 80% of incarcerated women are mothers, most of whom are heads of households for, on average, two dependent children.

82.5% of women incarcerated in Illinois are mothers. In fiscal year 2000, approximately 2,800 women entering state prison reported that they had given birth to 7,500 children. Nationwide, women under correctional supervision are mothers of an estimated 1.3 million minor children. More than 10 million children have had a parent imprisoned at some point in their lives. Many mothers were their children’s sole caretakers before arrest. Nearly 90% of fathers in prison in the U.S. report that their children live with the mothers; 28% of incarcerated mothers report that their children are being cared for by the fathers. In 2003, 63 babies were born to mothers in the custody of Dwight Correctional Center. Nationwide, about 5% of women are pregnant when they enter prison. Another 15% have babies less than six weeks old. Newborns are separated from imprisoned mothers within a day or two of birth, missing the crucial, irretrievable period of mother-child bonding, which affects development for the rest of their lives.

The system of attitudes, values, roles, and statuses attached to men and women in the free world is imported into the prison and, therefore, reflects the larger differences between the world inside and outside of the prison. The informal structure of the female prison was found to be an attempt to resist the destructive effects of imprisonment by creating a substitute social world of interpersonal relationships with other women, whereby the inmates preserve an identity relevant to life outside the prison.

The roles of correction officers in the prison society the growth of litigation concerning prison rights and the types of offenders that influence life behind bars

The primary objective of correction officers is to engage in human service work, maintenance of order and security within institutions. Their job announcements stress skills and qualities relevant to dealings with the personal problems of inmates, norms and formal job descriptions tend to relegate the officer to his or her traditional security function. It is these functions which provide the key to an officer’s status.

“Correctional officers’ duties differ with the setting in which they are performed. The majority of the approximately 3,300 jails in the United States are operated by county governments, with about three-quarters of all jails under the jurisdiction of an elected sheriff. Duty in jails differs from that in prisons in a number of important ways. For instance, the jail population changes constantly. The American jail system processes more than 22 million people a year, with about half a million inmates in jail at any given time. Approximately one million inmates are incarcerated in Federal and State prisons. The prison population by contrast is far more stable”.

The enforced control and strict supervision of inmate behavior, through an extensive array of restrictive rules and regulations, is, therefore, of central concern to corrections. Inmates, who pose serious risks or threats to either themselves or others, or to prison management and order, are dealt with quickly through the institutional disciplinary process. Correctional officers use disciplinary histories to make many critical decisions regarding inmates. These decisions include, but are not limited to, housing determinations and program and work assignments. These critical decisions are made originally during the initial classification process, then again for internal movement and external transfer determinations during incarceration, when considering temporary release options, and ultimately, prior to the final release decision. From this standpoint, prisoners who do not present serious disciplinary problems are considered by those who govern them to be “better” inmates, that is, individuals who are adjusting more or less successfully to the prison environment.

Inmate involvement in disciplinary misconduct has also been of central relevance to the correction officers.  For over 30 years, disciplinary data has remained the most valid, reliable, readily available, and detailed information on prison adjustment, which facilitates productive research efforts of varying scope and duration.

Despite the widespread reliance on official reports of disciplinary involvement, the use of this data is neither straightforward nor without certain difficulties or limitations. Prison disciplinary records are imperfect measures of inmate behavior for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the strongest charge levied against official criminal justice records of any type is that they are subject to bias. First, there is an unknown but probably large amount of deviant behavior occurring in prison that is clandestine and hidden from official scrutiny. Second, correctional officers have a vast amount of discretion in the definition and detection of events or acts that culminate in the officers recording of a disciplinary infraction. A number of “legal” and “extra-legal” factors operate to influence an officer’s decision-making. These and other significant issues bear directly on the confidence one places on the reliability and validity of using official records of disciplinary misconduct.

Inmates, as with any persons faced with the ardors of life, adopt various positive and negative ways of coping, depending on a multitude of factors. An individual can choose a positive mode at one point in time, to address a particular type of problem but not another and a negative mode at another point, and so on. Many people tend to learn from past judgment errors to change modes that have proved to be unsuccessful. “It is difficult to characterize inmates as having adjusted successfully or unsuccessfully to incarceration given that individuals may show unequal success in meeting some challenges, partial success in meeting other challenges, and unequal failure in meeting yet other challenges” (Adams, G. B., and D. L. Balfour, 1998).

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  1. Bommels, B. (1993), “Zitten en Niet Zeuren: Aparte Regimes voor Onbenaderbare Criminelen Bepleit, ” Elsevier, 6 February, pp. 24–27.
  2. Adams, G. B., and D. L. Balfour (1998), Unmasking Administrative Evil, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.
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