Life in prison is difficult to understand for those who have not experienced this kind of life. This paper will discuss the how my understanding of prison life has changed since reading the assigned materials. Change in Understanding of Prison Life
My understanding of prison life since reading the course’s assigned readings and ERR articles has changed, to the extent that I originally viewed some prisons to be more of a vacation spot for some criminals as opposed to being a place that criminals are sent to serve harsh, sentence with the fear of facing other dangerous criminals. I also believed that prisoners did not deserve any sort of rights under the Constitution, because of the crimes they committed, but after reading the material I no longer believe this. Most do not realize the multitude of issues that inmates have to deal with on a daily basis while just trying to survive his or her time in prison. My view remains that criminals who have been convicted of committing a crime and sent to prison should be there.
Inmates even though locked up still have to go through the experience of racism in prison this racism comes from both other inmates and prison staff. An obvious risk that inmates must face is the risk of having to participate in sexual acts that can include rape. I could not imagine anything worse than being sexually assaulted and I could never imagine the feeling that must go with being sexually assaulted by someone that is the same sex as me. All criminals deserved to be punished but no one deserves to be assaulted like this.
Gangs are another dangerous issue that inmates must deal with on a daily basis. I could not begin to fathom the idea of facing gang violence while in prison, with the constant threat of being attacked or killed because I would chose not a part of the gangs. In regards to drug addictions, it has to be extremely difficult to suffer through withdrawals while in prison. I would imagine that this can make an inmate begin to believe he or she is crazy and begin locked in a cell has to make that inmate feel even worse. With most prisons lacking substance abuse programs and treatment this too has to make the situation worse. Policies One Would Enforce
One of the biggest issues in the state and federal prison systems is overcrowding. To address the all-important issue of overcrowding, I would enforce a policy that would prevent the overcrowding of prisons by ensuring that prison staff strictly adhered to a maximum occupancy guideline.
This policy would ask that not only prison staff but courts all follow the guidelines that prisoners must be transferred to other prisons if one has reached it occupancy level even if this meant to enter other jurisdictions. Another policy that I would enforce is the need for substance abuse programs that will assist with treatment of addictions and mental health services for those with mental illnesses. As of today there are few prisons that offer these services to inmates. The new policy will address this issue, make it possible for inmates to receive medical treatment and substance abuse treatment.
Finally, I would implement a policy to address the violence within the prison system. This policy would implement severe punishment for those involved in violent activities. Depending upon the seriousness of the violence, the offending inmate could face solitary confinement and possibly place in a maximum security ward of the prison. How Inmate’s Needs Contribute to Correctional Policy
The needs of inmates greatly contribute to correctional policy. Even with the consideration of the crime that was committed, prison inmates are people and must still be treated fairly and equally. Prison inmates still deserve respect, provided with a sense of hope, should be afforded proper medical treatment, and even though they are criminals inmates deserve to be kept safe from harm. It is the responsibility of the prison staff to be sure that the inmate receives everything that he or she would expect for themselves if the roles were reversed. Changes in Correctional Policy
An important change in correctional policy that I would suggest to be implemented in the correctional facilities is regarding medical and drug treatment. Along with this policy I would ask that all inmates receive a full medical examination upon commitment to the prison, this exam would also test for sexually transmitted diseases this exam would ensure the health of inmates as well as provide prison staff with the knowledge of who needs medication. Many people suffer from diseases that require strict medical treatment such as diabetes and inmates often suffer from the same diseases as free people. I would implement urine screening to make the staff aware of any possible drug addictions of the inmate, and offer that inmate drug treatment if needed. Why People Become Criminals
I believe that people become criminals for many reasons. Some people become criminals a need to feed themselves or family members, others become criminals for the monetary gain that can be received from his or her criminal activities. Some even become criminals just to inflict pain upon others. There are many other reasons why people chose to become criminals. Money, need and hate are the usual causes for people’s criminal activities.