Prison Issues

The three major issues in prison are the prison culture, prison gangs, and serious abuse. One factor that affects prison culture is overcrowding. It was also found out that today’s inmates are highly-characterized by older ages as compared to the national average and to previous records. As such, an older inmate population would entail an older prison culture that is based on old criminal techniques; the age of inmate population could also entail more hardened criminal offenders that are more difficult to handle and rehabilitate as compared to offenders of younger ages.

To date, studies also reveal that ethnic minorities are now overrepresented in various prison facilities (“Understanding California Corrections”, 2006). The dominance of the Latino background and culture could mean that prison cultures are now highly-defined by their values and traditions such as strong temperament, bullying, the urge to fight or strike back, and the emergence of master-slave scenarios in prisons wherein the dominating culture or ethnic race tends to have more authority and control over the subordinate or fewer races.

Most experts attribute the increase in prison violence to increased gang activity. Indeed, prison gangs and gang affiliation are recognized by the state government as having most influence on prison violence. They also increase the likelihood of prison misconduct. Research and studies reveal that adult jails are at high risks of serious abuse. Prison inmates oftentimes assaulted, either sexually assaulted or beaten by the staff or other inmates. Also, 50 % of the inmates are more likely to be to be attacked with a weapon.

Prison privatization is controversial because it does not necessarily mean better management. Private prisons and correction facilities that are left unmonitored or mismanaged is just as less effective or even worse than those under the public sector. Another advantage of keeping correction and prison systems under the public sector is that the government agency has the control over budgeting and financing. As such, they also have better control over cost containment and staffing.

The control over staffing is highly-significant because the correction officers are able to gauge the quality and skills of the staffs; somehow, this entails better security and control of the whole facility. In addition to these, correction and prison systems under the public sector have more control over the services that they offer as well as the ability to negotiate contracts and costs; there is also an option for integration of other county agencies. The main objective of private firms is to make a profit.

This means that they would go to any extent to cut costs such as limiting the staff or hiring less skillful staffs. The primary concern of private companies is the profit margin; this makes privatization more expensive since there is an additional fraction for profit. It is also capable of generating special costs such as for initiating, negotiating, managing contacts, and monitoring of the private firm’s performance. As such, there is a high risk or probability that the quality of the services and management would suffer in an effort to increase the profits.

Another possibility is that the private firm would bid a low cost but after obtaining the contract they would raise their costs tremendously. This would put the government in a difficult or compromising situation; it has no choice but either to go with the increase or to get back to the usual business in a very short time. Privatization not only put profit motives ahead of public and inmate interests, it may also face legal issues in certain jurisdictions.

It is likewise anti-labor, threatening the jobs and benefits of public employees, costing the government extra expenses for termination and unemployment of displaced employees. Bibliography Champion, D. J. (2003). Administration of Criminal Justice: Structure, Function and Process. 3rd Edition. New York: Prentice Hall. Irwin, J. and Austin, J. (1996). It’s About Time: America’s Imprisonment Binge 2nd Ed. Belmont, California: West Publishing Company. Todd, R. and Cole, G. F. (2000). American Corrections 5th Ed. Belmont, California: West Publishing Company.