Punishment and Incarceration

The integral role that punishment and sentencing pays in the criminal justice process and its effects vary from many different views each and every American has. Philosophies that surround the need for sentencing are the retribution, deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation. The above philosophies are the different views that Americans have in sentencing the offenders. Those who support death penalty claim that lesser punishments which include life imprisonment can be imposed in error and incarceration and is irreversible if the innocent dies in prison (Newman, 1995).

Most studies concerning the long term offenders of incarceration aim at substantiating that, length incarceration inevitably leads to physical, emotional and mental deterioration of the long term inmate. The cornerstone theories explaining the impacts of imprisonment, such as the deterioration, prisonization and deprivation have been challenged and lacks reliable evidence which can be based on the systematic observations of the behavior (Tracy, 2002).

Due to the fact that imprisonment necessitates the curtailment of the individuals’ freedom as well as many other basic rights, deprivation then seems to be an inherent feature of being incarcerated. The most serious problems for long term prisoners includes; travel distance for loved ones, privacy in cells, privacy during visitation and the problem of overcrowding (Tracy, 2002). All these problems are the indicators of deprivation. There are four basic types of deprivations, liberty deprivation, autonomy deprivation, personal security and heterosexual deprivations.

One of the conditions imposed on the inmates is the severe loss of liberty. Inmates serving their sentences in maximum security facilities or in special handling units, their freedom of movements is rigid restricted and regulated. With long term inmates substantial deprivation of liberty can have serious effects on their mental health (Tracy, 2002). The world of the inmate found to be characterized with multitude roles designed to control his behavior.

This constitutes what is referred as deprivation of autonomy. Most of the prisoners will express intense, hostility against dependence on the decisions of corrections officials which makes their restricted ability to make their choices to be one of the major causes of deprivation in prison (Pattillo, Weiman, and Western, 2006). Research has suggested that male inmates face a reduction of the sexual drive and hence sexual frustrations of the inmates are less significant than what might be expected.

Long term incarceration causes deprivation of an inmate’s personality, mental and emotional well-being. Numerous attempts to use traditional benchmarks to assess the effects of imprisonment on personality have been used, but clear conclusions have not been reached (Pattillo, Weiman, and Western, 2006). The prisonalization model tends to hold that when criminals are incarcerated for long time they tend to become more criminalized and they become distanced from the values and behaviors of society outside prison walls (Dorpat, 2007).

With juvenile delinquents, one may wonder the kind of things 12-16 years old boys can find interesting to discuss. But, each boy has his own story and the efforts to chat about music, and sports are enough to start a conversation. The most interesting things they discuss are family and friends at home that the boys miss. It is surprising that many family juvenile therapists are switching to qualitative methods when designing and conducting research projects.

Those who embrace ideas such as non-intervention, constructivism and second order cybernetics’ are attracted to qualitative methods. The challenges met when dealing with juveniles includes; maintaining safety and security of residents and staff as well as providing supportive encouragement and guidance to juveniles as well helping them develop options to make decisions regarding their personal challenges (Dorpat, 2007).


Dorpat. T (2007): Crimes of Punishment: America’s Culture of Violence; ISBN 087586564X, Algora Publishing. Newman. G (1995): Just and Painful: A Case for the Corporal Punishment of Criminals; ISBN 09115773, Criminal Justice Press. Pattillo Mary, Weiman David, Western Bruce (2006): Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration; ISBN 087154654X, Russell Sage Foundation. Tracy. P (2002): Decision Making and Juvenile Justice: An Analysis of Bias in Case Processing; ISBN 0275976513, Greenwood Publishing Group.