Building prisons may not be a just solution to solve the current issue on criminality. But in a State with an upscale growth of offenders being put behind bars, it seems that the need to provide more beds for inmates is becoming a mandatory solution. Criminal justice is always between the offender and the victim however, it is so alarming to know that for every 32 adult in America one has been or currently on jail thus making its prison population even 20% higher than that of Russia (Unger, 2008). Policy makers are now being faced with the issue on prisons overcrowding for which only 30% are violent offenders.
The 70% are non violent ones often jailed because of substance abuse, illegal firearms, robbery and frauds. Not all incarcerated persons are hard criminals and most of these inmates are young and if smartly rehabilitated can still become a productive citizen someday. Having made a decision of building a new prison, it is important to adhere to the two important thoughts of the Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who said that: “The focus of the legal profession, perhaps even the obsessive focus, has been on the process for determining guilt or innocence… When the prisoner is taken way, our attention turns to the next case.
When the door is locked against the prisoner, we do not think about what is behind it (Unger, 2008). ” And he added that: “We have a greater responsibility,” Kennedy said. “As a profession, and as a people, we should know what happens after the prisoner is taken away. To be sure the prisoner has violated the social contract; to be sure he must be punished to vindicate the law, to acknowledge the suffering of the victim, and to deter future crimes (Unger, 2008). “
Having those thoughts in mind, we must be aware that an offender is not a lone individual, that person belongs to a family and to a society and for this reason, a community facility for less offensive inmates should be build within the same community. These considerations will provide easy rehabilitation access for the legal requirements, medical and health, family visits and recreation, and even library and education facilities that will easily cater to the needs of those who are needed to be temporarily locked up.
In other words, though they may be behind bars these people should also be integrated into a community. In other words, rehabilitation also mean prevention and prisons are not meant entirely for seclusion. And this can only be done not only by the justice system but with the help of other concerned community members as well. Counseling, values education and training must also be provided thus reaching even the inner cities. Trainings for empowerment helps people with self low-esteem become productive and creative individuals.
These are some preventive measures or programs which can be included in the rehabilitation centers for non-violent inmates and preventing delinquency for the young. More so, priorities to ex-offenders must be given focus and these are providing programs that will assist prisoners to reenter the mainstream of society by helping them land a job. The idea is to find out what fields of interest the inmate have in order to find ways of helping those fellows not to waste time while they were on a sentence.
Rehabilitation is not an easy task neither a hard one if we knew that a potential hardened criminal is the one which is more difficult to handle. Prisons are expensive to maintain with annual budget that is even higher than high education funding and for this reason smart policy and programs must be sharpened to see that the state fund did not just went to the drain. For instance, America Works Criminal Justice Programs which have developed a program called Jobs or Jail has helped reduced recidivism problems in Washington D. C. , New York, and Maryland (Cohen, 2002).
Seclusion’s worst scenarios are poorly equipped prisons which makes the offender in a worse shape than when he enters it. Though the physical structure is the least among the concerns for the programs discussed, it is good to consider that the physical envelope to which these prisoners are encaged in, should not lead them to permanent confinement but a place needed only for temporary seclusion. The Prison Descriptive Layout for Non-violent Inmates A prison must be built not the traditional way of using horizontal and vertical bars.
In fact, the grilles must not be likened to a detention cell. There are many ways a designer could combine security with creativity: for instance using building materials that are strong but at the same time making it a second home for the inmates. Vertical expansion should also be considered to provide more open spaces. It is a very good thought that the men in solitary confinement should still see the blue sky and the grass green with landscape suitable to a detention courtyard. Dining or mess hall should not be lacking a family atmosphere spirit.
Toilet facilities should be easy to maintain, colors of the interior must be alive and not mind-numbing, acoustics and lighting subdued a little, and floors should not be like the hospital floors. Spaces must be planned well in order to provide enough recreational activities inside the open courts and interiors. Counseling rooms must also be provided that could be used as a small living room for family members when they visit. More so, there has to be room for all inmates that they should receive chat especially if this person has not been visited by relatives for a long period of time.
To add a few, security must not limit the idea that it is not just a detention cell but a place to shelter men who are less fortunate than the rest. More so, the place can be treated as a temporary hideaway to a world that became hostile for them. This facility for prison should be built with the idea that it is not to confine nor seclude but a place for rehabilitation and crime prevention. A very thoughtful administration and management should run the facility to ensure that each member is doing well and has the possibility of being granted pardon or parole.
The prison layout must also be proximate to legal services of the inmates for their case to be properly facilitated and other intermediaries that could facilitate rehabilitation or release. A planner with concern and appropriate knowledge for the justice system should be hired to design the building. The Correctional Officers and Other Prisons Staff and Concerns As described above, the house for seclusion should have an environment of a homey atmosphere and this can only be done with the help of those working in the facility.
Since continuing education is included in the building layout staff in the education program for the prisoner is needed. Social workers must be employed to help the director of the prison facility bring out concerns and issues of inmates in coordination with the parole and probation officers. And last but not the least, the need for advocacy from the community. With community efforts could sustain rehabilitation of inmates and helping people in detention go out from seclusion is a big leap to solve criminality.
Conclusion Big crimes do not just happen overnight. Some hard criminals are those who often go in and out of the bars and it was due to poor rehabilitation programs, lack of acceptance or unforgiveness. These are some examples of the lack of concern by individuals who are directly involved that gives additional insult to the injury for the inmate. Having in mind that when these offenders become monstrous if not well taken cared of. It is now the duty of everyone to be concerned by extending our hands for their welfare.
This concern is not to get terrorized with offenders but to apply more positive efforts in order to build a well secured nation and a brighter future for all. Too many state of the art prisons are built and America can boast of the well designed prison that technology can offer. However, inmates’ needs are not just physical though it helps to serve their morale but social concerns are of utmost important and this can only be justified through advocacy of the community and good services of people involved in the criminal justice system.
References Cohen, D. W. B. E. D. S. (2002). America Works’ Criminal Justice Program: Providing Second Chances Through Work [Electronic Version]. Civic Bulletin. Retrieved 21 February 2008, from http://www. manhattan-institute. org/html/cb_29. htm Unger, H. (2008). Policy Today: Criminal Justice in America [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 21 February 2008, from http://www. policytoday. com/index. php? option=com_content&task=view&id=128&Itemid=150