|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Analysis Penal system Society Criminal justice|
I am a special adviser to the Attica, prison warden. I have been appointed by the commissioner of the New York state department of correctional and community supervision to give out recommendations on how to improve the Attica prison facility. DOCCS's vision is to ensure public safety by having imprisoned people return home rehabilitated from criminal behavior. My work is to offer insights and input through research on how to help Attica prison achieve the vision mentioned above. Also, am supposed to come up with a policy brief that will help the prison attain its mission and goal of rehabilitation. Prison facilities are supposed to offer services that satisfy the needs of prisoners to prepare them for the outside world. The policy will help in protecting the values of DOCCS that ensure human dignity, and ethical behavior, and offer leadership support to all inmates.I reviewed various resources to present a well-researched policy that will help improve the services offered at Attica prison. My research focuses on prison facilities in Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands. Prisons in these three countries differ from US prisons, and Attica prison can borrow from these ways to achieve its vision, mission, and goals of rehabilitation. I will use the following resources:
- Vera Institute of Justice sources;
- A documentary on breaking the cycle;
- Michael Moore's documentary on Norway correctional facilities.
Upon review of these sources am presenting a recommended policy that is evidence-based on how to help Attica prison attain its vision and goals of ensuring public safety through the rehabilitation of criminals.
Germany has different crimes for different offenders. In these prisons, each crime is treated differently. First-time offenders are imprisoned in different places than repeated crime offenders. At the same time, long-term serving sentenced offenders are put in various prisons (Vera Institute of Justice, 2018). The Netherlands has an almost similar correctional system. This helps in applying different rehabilitation methods. In the US prisons accommodate any time of people. There is no different prison for different types of offenders. I believe if the US would borrow from Germany and Netherlands in separating prisoners from the kind of crime they would help in the rehabilitation of incarcerated people.
Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany focus on rehabilitation and socialization. Norway prisoners are allowed to go by with their usual lifestyle. Prisons in Norway have been equipped with the thing that makes prisoners feel like part of society. The only thing they take from incarcerated people is their freedom. However, they participate in all other activities as fellow citizens such as recording music, cooking, and wooden workshops. The Netherlands concentrates on fines more than locking up its people. Those people who serve prison sentences are given short prison time. The same case applies to Germany, which offers short sentences. Minors get a maximum of 3 years while an adult receives a maximum of 100 years. On the other hand, the US focuses on isolation and retribution. They are more focused on punishment instead of rehabilitation. US sentencing is not limited; they can sentence criminals as long as they want. These differences are significant since Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway have low crime rates as compared to the US. Prisons such as Attica can focus on rehabilitation and socialization by giving its prisoners more freedom to mingle with society.
Norway equips its prisoners with the skills they require to cope in society. Prisoners are allowed to take up responsibilities such as cooking. Prisoners in Norway, live in communities such as an average person without barred windows. They receive psychological help from professionals. The Netherlands, on the other hand, enrolls its incarcerated people in rehabilitation programs. This makes confinement programs more effective, reducing recidivism. Germany does not apply solitary punishment to its prisoners. Solitary time is limited to two weeks within a year for a prisoner. Solitary confinements are more humane and helpful to its people. These three countries concentrate on allowing mental and emotional recovery and allowing prisoners to fit into society (RMPS Resources, 2018). US prisons use solitary structures that bar prisoners from the outside world completely. There is no limitation on the time one can spend in solitary. The prison structures cut the ties of prisoners from the outside world. The US needs to adopt more lenient methods of rehabilitation rather than punishment measures. Attica prison should follow socialization ways to help its prisoners fit into society. It is important to note that most of prisoners need mental help to help them reform. The use of rehabilitation programs instead of radical punitive measures will help prisoners to reform and reduce recidivism.
A significant number of prisons in the Netherlands have been closed for lack of criminals. The crime rate in the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway are meager. In the US criminals are likely to be convicted again after release. Recidivism in America is very high as compared to Germany, Netherlands, and Norway. This is due to the philosophical and practical differences that exist. The US should practice more rehabilitation programs to support its people and help them fit into society over the time they serve. Attica prison should enroll its prisoners in rehabilitation programs that equip them with life skills to reduce their probability of committing crimes again. The evidence mentioned above on different prisons has proved effective, and therefore Attica could achieve its vision and goals if it implements such policies.
There is evidence that supports the above findings. For example, in Norway, there is no recidivism. The same case applies to Germany and the Netherlands where there are little chance of prisoners being reconvicted. Due to normative practices, people can adapt to societal ways. They can cope with other people without discrimination. People who prison sentences gain skills that they apply after they get their freedom back. Therefore there are less likely to commit crimes. Moore's documentary acknowledges that most prisoners have recognized their mistakes and would never repeat them (Neanderthalcouzin, 2018). At the same time, they have more life skills which they will apply after their sentence is done. People who go through educative programs are likely to change their behavior and turn into new people. Attica should adopt educative policies and physiological counseling to help prisoners change their criminal conduct. Punishment does not necessarily reform convicts. However, new skills of life will help convicts fit in back to society when they serve their sentences.
More than 2.3 million people are imprisoned in the US; this makes it the country with the highest number of prisons. Half of those incarcerated are likely to be rearrested for a new crime or violating conditions of their parole. This has led to overpopulation in US prisons. At present, the US justice system seeks to reduce recidivism through rehabilitation programs. However, these programs are not valid. Rehabilitation programs in the US lack capacity to support inmate control of their stress and emotions hence, rendering the programs less effective. Rehabilitation programs adopted by Norway, the Netherlands and Germany focus on mental health and anger management (RMPS Resources, 2018). Education and skill building is not enough for correction of behavior. Mental stability and anger control should be incorporated in inmate rehabilitation programs. US programs are not useful because they are implemented as punitive measures rather than correctional programs.
There is evidence that not everything that works in Norway, Netherlands and Germany would work in the US justice system. For example, in Norway, where people live healthy lives could not work in US prisons. It would mean endangering the lives of other people. Open communities as prisons would threaten the lives of innocent citizens. US prisons have been faced with riots which led to the deaths of many innocent lives. Therefore, prison isolation is crucial to protect other regular citizens. Despite this, confinement US should adopt humane practices which protect inmate's dignity. Skills and education should be availed to inmates so that they can fit in after they complete their sentences.
If Attica wants to achieve its vision, goal, and mission more effective in ensuring public safety and regular interaction with ex-convicts prison officials should adopt the following policies: employ rehabilitative programs, concentrate on the socialization of inmates, reconnect inmates with the outside world and appropriate the use of fines to punish minor crimes than imprisonment. All these measures have proven effective in other countries and therefore will be helpful to the US justice system and particularly in Attica prison. Finally, the warden should concentrate on ensuring the well-being of inmates is met, and human dignity is protected by allowing the free interaction of prisoners.
Neanderthalcouzin (2018) Michael Moore Goes to Norway & Visits a Prison of the Future.Retrieved on 27/11/2018 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01mTKDaKa6Q
RMPS Resources ( 2018) Breaking the cycle (2017). Retrieved on27/ 11/ 2018 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuLQ4gqB5XE
Vera Institute of Justice, (2018). Reimagining prison in Germany and Norway. Retrieved on27/11/2018 from https://www.vera.org/spotlights/reimagining-prison-in-germany-and-norway
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