When people think of community corrections they may imagine offenders coexisting with the community. To some this is cause for immediate alarm, but community corrections is happening all around us every day, and in many cases, community corrections is actively effective. Community corrections is practiced in countries other than the United States, and impacts each community it is practiced in. It was the late 70s, when officials finally began to take a deeper look into other ways to handle offenders besides the obvious. With growing prison and jail populations, and institutions filling up with first time offenders, offenders convicted of nonviolent crimes, and misdemeanors, many states determined that under proper limitations and regulations, many nonviolent and petty offenders could be maintained securely in their homes, or in halfway homes. These offenders could check in daily to drug treatment programs reporting centers, or community service centers. This notion is what helped inspire the community corrections programs of today. The practice of community programs is beneficial to both offenders, and the communities they return to. The offender learns accountability in the sense that they learn to be responsible for their time and what they do within that time.
Communities are impacted by community corrections in a partially indirect way. The community can claim those who successfully complete the community corrections programs, and utilize the resource provided by the programs, as law abiding and productive citizens of the community. Thus these offenders will no longer pose a threat to the community. My theory about community corrections and their overall effectiveness within the correctional system is community corrections will evolved and find more efficient ways to help offenders become productive members of society. I imagine the evolution of community corrections programs will be a slow process, but I feel that it is with evolution and innovativeness during evolution that community corrections programs will improve there effectiveness. The United States is not the only country that focuses on humane treatment of prisoners, and rehabilitation within the prison system. Places like Norway, and Indonesia have a prison system that focuses on treatment and rehabilitation through programs.
A prison in Norway has been accused of making the prions experience too cushy. Bastoy is equipped with a church, a library, and working toilets in the cells. What many in Norway view as a luxury some would consider necessity. Despite debates about the prisoner treatment in Norway prisons, this area of Europe has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe, and the crimes rates in this area of the world remain at an all-time, low, (James, 2013). Prisons in Indonesia view what they do as a service to the prisoner, and the public. According to the Forgiven Prisoner Support service, (2013), “services are offered to prisoners in the form of drug and substance abuse and rehabilitation services”, (p, 1). These efforts are specifically aimed at ensuring that the prisoners will be able to live a fulfilling and law abiding life after their release from prison. Considering that all of the prisons I researched seemed to focus on rehabilitation and treatment of prisoners, rather than stern and harsh punishment. During my research I found that it is not apparent that the United States’ prison system would be greatly if affected if it were to focus on imprisonment under the terms that foreign countries seem to focus on. Rehabilitation seems to be the recurring topic when referring to prison systems in this country, as well as others.
In the end, it all comes down to the fact that community corrections programs are effective in many cases. If I were to suggest a community corrections program in my neighborhood, I would suggest a program that provides an opportunity for offenders to maintain work within the community. I would suggest projects that include cleaning dilapidated buildings and structures as a sort of beautification project. I would suggest these types of projects within the community that the offender lives. I would suggest this type of program because I feel that if offenders played a part in cleaning up their communities they may be less likely to commit acts that will bring their communities down. This type of community correction would help build pride in the offender for where they live, and would make them what to keep the area nice. Community corrections is a reputable tool used to aid in the criminal justice system’s struggle to keep offenders functioning as active members of the community.
Countries all across the world have the same central focus, which is rehabilitation and treatment for prisoners. It is not plausible that so many prisons systems in the world have it all wrong with their treatment and rehabilitation approach. While some may question the effectiveness of community corrections, the active programs and growing implementation of community corrections in prison system across the country indicate that these programs indeed yield valid and tangible results for those who participate and complete them.
References; James, E. (2013). Norwegian Prison. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/25/norwegian-prison-inmates-treated-like-people Foreign Prisoner Support Service. (2012). News at Foreign Prisons. Retrieved from http://www.foreignprisoners.com/prison-indonesia.html