The cost of supporting the correctional facilities has continually been shooting up especially in regard to the ever-increasing number of inmates. Critics also question the effectiveness of the correctional programs as well as the rationale behind the correctional facilities continuing to hold over 2 million people. The big number of inmates can be let free to participate in nation building activities and to be together with their families as well as get a chance to reform. Correctional process achieves its aims by incapacitation as well as the incarceration of the offenders and it ensures that offenders do not re-offend.
However, blaming the correctional facilities is unfair given the fact that, the facilities exist only as subsystems for the criminal justice. Sending an offender to the correctional facilities is a decision of the courts and the correctional facilities do not have control over the numbers admitted hence they are alone to blame for the prison population increase. At the correctional centers, several behavioural reinforcers are administered all of which are aimed at ensuring that offenders change in terms of their behaviour.
Such reinforces have included; regulation of meals, an impersonal dress code, as well as rationalized meals (Reichel, 2001. 49-54). This kind of strategy is referred to as the penitentiary approach. The above correctional approach was found to have many shortcomings (Reichel, 2001. 41-59) hence the embracing of reformatory approach which introduced medium security prisons, women only prisons, programs aimed at restoration of the criminals, farming projects, an approach which has been praised for its effectiveness in terms of positively using the prisoners.
In addition, correctional centers are important and are seen as an effort to address the fear and resentment of opponents wishes whose wishes are to have offenders kept as far as possible from the public. Therefore, correctional centers are a great chance for reconciling the society and offenders after the latter have been successfully rehabilitated. As earlier mentioned, the greatest challenge facing the correctional facilities is to reduce the already big population which is drawing public condemnation.
There is a lot of outcry from the public who feel that the cost of running the correctional facilities is too high and it should be cut down both at the state level and also at the federal level. Reichel, (2001. 45-69) notes that population control can be achieved by first of all limiting the number of admissions into the correctional system. This however falls outside the mandate of the correctional facilities and it belongs to the courts to decide which kind of punishment to give.
This is a clear indication that the court system needs to work very closely with the other subsystems in the criminal justice such as the correctional facilities so as to decongest the correctional centers. Another way of population reduction in the correctional facilities involves the minimizing of the length of stay at the correctional facilities. Sentencing offenders for long periods leads to cumulative growth of inmates which over time leads to a strain on the correctional subsystem.
Again, the mandate of determining the length of stay for inmates at the correctional facilities solely relies on the decisions by the courts. This again points to a collaborative effort as the only viable solution to the reduction of inmate population. Therefore there is a need for all divisions of the criminal justice to unite in the search for a long-lasting solution for the overpopulation problem in correctional facilities. The other option for decongesting the correctional facilities involves the use of alternatives so as to remove inmates from the prisons and jails.