Department of correction website. The website highlights the challenges of assault taking place within the prison facilities. Figure 1 gives a graphical view of serious assaults that involves sexual assault taking any form or degree, bodily harm that needs a longer period of medical interventions and bodily harm that needs medical intervention by medical staff and an overnight hospitalization. Figure 3 on the other hand highlights the serious assaults carried by a prisoner to another and that one of a prisoner to staff.
Various stakeholders within the prison system play a big role in promoting or solving the problem of violence in prison. Prison guards interact with convicts on a daily basis and they play a vital role in what happens within the prisons. As an internal, stakeholder if the prison guards treat the inmates harshly and in an inhumane way then the inmates may get defensive and decide to retaliate by getting physical and towards the prison guards and other inmates (In Brem, & In Viardot, 2015). If the guards lack proper training on how to contain violence and handle violent situations they are likely to worsen the situation. The guards can be part of the solution if they receive good training that can enable them to interact well with the prisoners and they can also be in a position to intervene when such violence breaks out. They can be motivated to buy into the idea by being offered promotions and undergoing training. Inmates can be made to buy into the idea by introducing programs aimed at rewarding those who are properly behaved by placing them in positions of authorities over other inmates and recommending them for parole for those serving shorter sentences or those that are about to complete their sentences.
External stakeholders such as police officers and prosecutors are charged with conducting investigations and collecting evidence to be used in prosecuting the offenders. If officers’ conduct proper and thorough investigations then it means that only people that are guilty are going to be imprisoned and those that are innocent are going to be released. This can help solve the problem because it will reduce the number of convicts in prison which has a direct bearing on the violence in prison. These officers can be motivated to buy into the solution by being offered promotion for those officers that conduct their investigations well and only ensure that wrongdoers are taken through the justice system and eventually imprisoned.
Other officers will also be encouraged to do well so that they can also be considered for promotions. Legislators formulate laws that are used by the judges and magistrates to sentences the offenders. Legislators can contribute to the problem of prison violence if they come up with strict laws that ensure that even petty offenders are imprisoned leading to overcrowding in prison facilities. They can be part of the solution by enacting alternative laws for petty offenders that do not require them to be imprisoned thereby reducing the congestion witnessed in the prison. The other way that legislators can be part of the solution is to allocate funds to build more prisons to reduce congestion and also allocating other funds to educate can give capital to young people to enable them to engage in income-generating activities that will keep them away from crime (In Mallicoat, & In Gardiner, 2013). The legislators can be motivated to buy into the idea by being reelected into office.
Parole and probation officers need to work closely with those inmates released on parole to make sure that they are abiding by the terms of their probation so that they are not taken back to prison. Good supervision of the parole officers will be part of the solutions of reducing prison violence because if the terms of the parole are followed then there will be no need of taking the offender back to prison. Judges and magistrates listen to the evidence produced before them before finally making the decision and handing down the sentences to the offenders. Judges can contribute to the problem if they sentence every offender to a term in prison as it will lead to an increase in the problem of congestion (ZEHR, 2015).
On the other hand, they can be part of the solution by embracing other forms of punishments that do not require a prison term for petty offenders. Judges and magistrates can be motivated to buy into the idea if the legislators create those alternative punishments to be handed down to petty offenders and prosecutors and police officers carry bout thorough investigations and come up with watertight evidence before presenting suspects in courts of law. Inmate advocacy groups help to ensure that inmates are treated in a humane and fair manner while serving their prison term. They need to work closely with the prison management to make sure that the prisoners are treated well and they are not living in harsh and inhumane conditions that can contribute to high-stress levels thus contributing to instances of violence in prisons. By making sure that prisoners are treated with dignity can help towards making the prisoners to change their behavior and the way that they view one another.
Technology is good and it can go a long way in helping to solve the problem of prison violence. On the other hand, technology can also be used to aid cases of prison violence. For instance, drones can be used to smuggle contraband into the prison and the same used to cause harm to others thereby aiding prison violence. Some of those contrabands include drugs, cellphones, and weapons that can be used to carry out attacks (Conrad, 2017). Phones can be used by the inmates to communicate with the other members of the gang that are outside and used to plan attacks on other inmates or on prison guards and also passing the information on areas where there might be some security lapses that can be bypassed and contrabands smuggled inside the prison.
Technology can also be incorporated into the prison system to help with reducing or eliminating the challenge of prison violence. CCTVs can be used to monitor prisoners both in their cells and within the prison compounds. The use of biometrics and facial recognition can also help to reduce the problem of prison violence (Turner, 2019). The technology can be used to monitor where the prisoners are at any given time especially when moving from area to another they can be monitored and in the event of aggressive behavior then they can be contained in time before the problem escalates.
This technology reduces the workload on the prison guards creating enough time for them to supervise the inmates effectively. Full-body scanners that use different technologies can also be used to search for contraband. Depending on the technology used, those scanners can detect both metallic and non-metallic contrabands that can be modified into weapons and used to carry out attacks. Video visiting programs can be used to reduce the contact between the inmates and the outside world thereby eliminating the possibility of contraband being passed to the inmates during visitation. The technology employs video conferencing that helps the prisoners to communicate with their loved ones without coming into contact. Installing drone detector and deflector technologies within the prison facilities can help to prevent the contrabands smuggled using drones from getting into the prisons and being used to cause harm to others (Siegel, & Bartollas, 2014).
Various data have been used to conduct research on the problem of prison violence in the U.S. one of those data is the report contained in the prison policy initiative website. The report titled “Mass Incarceration” highlights the problems that the country’s correctional facilities undergo. The report details the types of crime committed, the number of state, local and federal prisons. This data is relevant to the problem because it highlights the number of prisons available and the number of prisoners held and clearly one can see that there is a big problem of overcrowding that largely contributes to the problem of prison violence. Another data used to conduct the research about the problem of prison violence is the Department of correction website. The website highlights the problem of assault in the correctional facilities. It gives a graphical view of serious assaults that involves sexual assault taking any form or degree, bodily harm that needs a longer period of medical interventions and bodily harm that needs medical intervention by medical staff and overnight hospitalization.
The problem of prison violence can be solved using various methods. The first method is to try and sort the problem of congestion and staffing. More prions need to be built in order to decongest the already populated ones. This calls on more funds to be allocated for the same. While building new prisons the question of prison design comes into play. Prisons should be built in a manner that eliminates blind spots so that the prison guard supervising the inmates is able to see each part of the prison without any obstruction. Staffing of prisons should also be taken seriously. Enough guards should be allocated to the prisons so that they are able to supervise all the prisoners and in the event of a fracas then they can thwart it effectively. If the number of prisoners is too high then it becomes difficult for them to be monitored effectively and this creates a scenario where the prisoners can cause harm to one another, to the guards or to self (ZEHR, 2015). Education both for the prions guards and inmates is very important in curbing the problem of prison violence. When the guards receive good education then they will be equipped with enough skills to control any form of violence. They will be able to isolate the most violent inmates and keep them in isolation from others and this will reduce cases of prison violence.
Technology also needs to be employed to aid in solving the problem of prison violence. More CCTV cameras need to be placed especially in blind spots so that the officer supervising the inmates is able to have a clear view of the entire facility and act accordingly in the event of violence. Drone detecting and deflecting technologies can help to prevent contraband from being smuggled into the prisons and used to aid attacks within the prison (Pfaff, 2017). When receiving new inmates the prison authorities need to carry out an appropriate background search on inmate’s violent histories so that those that have a history of violent behaviors and pose a threat to the safety of others are isolated and placed under treatment by trained health professionals. Health professionals will also give advice to the prison authorities on the progress of a particular inmate placed under their care and advice when they will be ready to rejoin the other prisoners.
In assessing the effectiveness of the solution, one can use observation as a means of finding out if the solution is effective. Profiling the number of contrabands impounded within a certain period of time will give an indicator of the effectiveness of some of the solutions. For instance, fewer cases of contraband found within the prison will be a pointer that the drone detector and CCTVs are effective. Behavior change by inmates towards one another and towards prison warders and vice versa will be an indicator that the education is working towards changing the way each party behaves. Another way that the effectiveness of the solutions can be assessed is through asking the prisoners to fill the questionnaires and interacting with the inmates and asking them a question regarding the changes that have been implemented within the prison systems and its effects or how they feel about a bit.
The behavioral change will also be an indicator that the isolation and placement of violent inmates under medication by trained health professionals are successful. Performing a background check on the history of violence on inmates before being allocated a cell helps in making sure that those inmates that pose a great threat to others are isolated and placed in separate cells where they cannot harm or influence others into engaging in criminal activities within the prison. By doing so the prison management will be reduced cases of prison violence.