In this paper I will be evaluating past, present, and future trends pertaining to the corrections system. There are many different trends that correctional facilities have used in the past and these trends have continued on to modern day and maybe will continue on into the future. As part of my evaluation I will identify and analyze past, current and future issues facing the corrections system today and also I will discuss the budgetary and managerial impact that future trends will likely have not only on the corrections system, but also on the other components of the criminal justice system like law enforcement and the court system. Trends of Corrections
In the past before there were prisons and jails the punishment of crimes were cruel and dangerous. Some of the punishments in the past included flogging, mutilation, branding, public humiliation, or exile. Today our correctional facilities focus on rehabilitating criminals so that they can be functional in society; one of the ways that is pursued is through community based corrections to save costs instead of housing an inmate. Community based corrections is used as an alternative to being locked up, this is also cost effective rather than housing them in prison or jail because they foot the bill. Community based corrections is known as parole, probation, house arrest, or electronic monitoring.
Community based corrections is a privilege and there are many rules that need to be followed, and if they disobey any of the rules the get sent back to prison or jail. Currently we have a bill that passed in California called AB 109 and it was passed to release many inmates to lower the overpopulation of inmates and the end rising costs to house an inmate. “The state expects to reduce the prison inmate population by about 14,000 in 2011-2012 and approximately 40,000 upon full implementation in 2014-2015.
The state estimates that these reductions will result in a state savings of about $453 million in 2011-2012 and up to $1.5 billion upon full implementation.” (Taylor, 2011). This assembly bill will just create a future problem though, when all these inmates get released out into the communities most of them will end up back in prison. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation the recidivism rate of inmates that were returned back into a correctional facility within three years was 63.7% and the other 36.3% were successful three years out of prison. AB 109 will not decrease the inmate population that largely in the long run according to those statistics. The bill will also increase the caseloads on probation officers, making it harder to keep a good eye on all inmates roaming in the communities, allowing them to reoffend put the problem back in the hands of law enforcement. Issues Facing the Criminal Justice System
The current issues facing prisons are they are being over crowded, and they are too expensive to manage. Assembly Bill AB 109 tries to alleviate the problems of over crowding but I believe that it is a short-term solution because of the recidivism rate. Alternate correction systems would reduce costs to the state, and maybe even be more affective than jail or prison time. There are alternatives to jail and prison like we discussed earlier, but those are all state funded. In the future maybe there will be programs funded by organizations that want to help rehabilitate criminals or they make the criminal pay for their services. Some examples might be intensive supervised probation, house arrest, electronic monitoring, community residential centers, or shock incarceration.
I think we need to have a self-sufficient prison that keeps inmates busy working for what they have, to cut down costs of prisons. One way to cut down costs is to actually use our death penalty, what is the severity of having a death penalty if you know you are going to sit in a cell until you die of natural causes. We are not posing enough threat to these criminals. Watching Lock Up on MSNBC, most of the inmates will never be functioning citizens, some of them admit they need to be behind a cell. Why pay so much money for someone to rot in jail, they are no use to the country and think they need to be put down, just like a viscous dog at the pound. If the vet determines the animal is too aggressive they euthanize the animal because they can never be adopted out, I think we can use the same concept in our correctional system.
With an overpopulated correctional system, and the realignment bill 109 there will be many criminals back on the streets, which only adds to the problem for every other component of the criminal justice system. The police are having a bigger population of criminals back on the streets and the departments have tight budgets and do not have enough funds to hire more help to control the streets. The sheriff and police departments then will have to stretch themselves thin to try to put the recommitting offenders back in the correction system. Which then puts the criminal back into the already overcrowded court system, which creates more of a problem because now there are even more cases which will create bigger case loads and slow down the already slow system. Conclusion
In this paper I discussed the past, current, and future trends in corrections. In the past the punishments were cruel, and now we are focused more on rehabilitation and California facilities are being over crowded. I also analyzed current and future issues facing the overpopulated prisons. The budget deficit is only going to get worse and these problems within the criminal justice system is only going to get bigger and bigger. Bill AB 109 was put into affect to help relieve the budget issue but as I discussed I think that it is a short-term solution because of the recidivism rates. The criminal justice system is always growing and changing to satisfy the needs of the communities they protect.