Challenges of Inmates
Challenges of Incarceration, Deterrence, and Punishment
The United States had the highest number of inmates worldwide due to harsher sentencing policies and increased punitive laws. Imprisonment and sentencing systems traditionally involve different objectives including punishment, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and deterrence (Wright 2010). And despite the existence of these criminal justice elements, offending continues to rise as evidenced by increased number of offenders recorded.
Some issues with deterrence include the fact that it relies on assumptions that people are rational and, therefore, bound to weigh repercussions before engaging in crime. For instance, Wright (2010) allege that nearly half of inmates were under drug or alcohol influence during the arrest which shows these perpetrators were improbably deterred by severity or certainty of associated punishment. The National Institute of Justice (2016) suggests incarceration and punishment are ineffective means of deterring crime and instead may have an adverse effect, especially on long-term inmates. For example, inmates learn more from other prisoners which may have a negative effect on them and leave them worse than they were before incarceration. Also, many prisoners are unaware of sanctions for particular crimes, and, therefore, cannot be deterred by what they do not know. The National Institute of Justice (2016) adds that there is no evidence that death penalty deters offenders.
While offenders have to obtain punishment for committing crimes, correctional organizations also seek to reform criminals to avoid recidivism or prevent potential criminals from engaging in criminal activities. Nonetheless, punishment as the National Institute of Justice (2016) indicates, do not deter potential offenders since most are not aware of associated punishment for specific crimes. Also, imprisonment does not guarantee the inmate will not re-offend once released; in fact, prisons can potential leave a prisoner worse than before incarceration due to learned ideas from other inmates concerning offending. Therefore, while punishment and incarceration are directed at deterring and rehabilitating potential criminal and convicted criminals, these philosophies face challenges which make it hard to produce anticipated results.
National Institute of Justice. (2016). Five Things about Deterrence. Office of Justice Programs.
https://nij.gov/five-things/pages/deterrence.aspxWright V. (2010). Deterrence in Criminal Justice: Evaluating Certainty vs. Severity of
Punishment. The Sentencing Project. https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Deterrence-in-Criminal-Justice.pdf
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