Criminal Justice System and Community Corrections

Categories: Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system is responsible for enforcing the laws created at each level of government. A major part of enforcing the laws is detaining the people who break them. The way that an offender is punished for a crime can be different depending on age or the type of crime committed. Depending on the age of the offender they could go through the juvenile or adult corrections system. Each system has levels like parole and probation built in to help rehabilitate the offender.

Another form of corrections that is used is community corrections. This form allows citizens to help with the corrections process while giving offenders a second chance. Over time each level of corrections has evolved by evaluating the trends and examining different demands on the corrections system. Consistently evolving allows the corrections system to punish and rehabilitate offenders while keeping society safe. Past, present, and future trends pertaining to the development and operation of institutional and community based corrections When it comes to community corrections programs that oversee outside of jail or prison, and are administered by agencies or courts with the legal authority to enforce sanctions.

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Community corrections include probation, which is correctional supervision within the community rather than jail or prison, and parole which is a period of conditional, supervised release from prison.  In the early colonial criminal law there was a curious mix of religion, English barbarity, and pragmatism. Most punishments were public and involved either quick, corporal tortures or more prolonged humiliation. Among the punishments designed to deter crime by inflicting pain, the colonials often used the whipping post, branding and maiming, gags, and device known as the ducking stool.

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The latter device was essentially a chair connected to a pulley system where “slanderers”, “makebayts”, “chyderers”, brawlers, and women of light carriage were restrained and they repeatedly plunged into a  convenient body of water.

Probation and parole are integral to criminal and juvenile justice in the states. Provides a wide variety of services that are critical to the effective and efficient operation of almost every aspect of the justice system, ranging from law enforcement to sentencing to the release of offenders from confinement into the community. These community corrections agencies conduct investigations to support judicial and parole decision making operate residential and secure custodial facilities and parole free labor to local organizations through community service programs, probation and parole are best known for their role in the supervision of offenders in the community. Probation and parole agencies are part of a large, complex and interdependent array of governmental, nonprofit, and private agencies and organizations that comprise the criminal and juvenile justice systems. No aspect of the work of probation and parole can be considered in isolation, as they are affected by and have an impact on many other agencies. With that being said there are strategic trends they will and can use in the future. Collaboration and partnership for example the drug court and other specially “treatment courts.” Results Driven Management requires a substantial investment of agency time and resources.

The agency mission, goals and measures must be articulated and agreed upon. The Re- Emergence of Rehabilitation both was founded on the principle that offenders could change and that the correctional system, and probation and parole officers in particular, had a central role in helping the officer change. With technology when it comes to sex offenders the software is available that can monitor the offender’s computer use and report to the probation or parole officer what Internet sites the offender have visited. Correctional organization and administration functions that reflect fiscal demands The organization and administration functions of jails, prisons, probation, parole, juvenile and community corrections that reflect the operational and fiscal demands are in the many programs, services, and staffs that make these forms of correction run on a daily basis (Burrell, 2003). With jails and prisons facing an increasing overpopulation problem, with less staff, and budget cuts more and more probation, parole, and community corrections are becoming a solution (, 2000).

Parole and probation function through their operation programs such as their case classification system (Burrell, 2003). This system allows the parole board to classify which cases should be considered for early release and which ones should not. Once a case is determined to be eligible for parole, then probation uses the case classification system to decide if the case is high risk or low risk (, 2000). Community corrections becomes a part of the parole and probation services once the inmate is released into the community by “operating residential and secure custodial facilities and provide free labor to local organizations through community service programs, probation and parole are best known for their role in the supervision of offenders in the community” (Burrell, 2003, p. 1). The administration in jails, prisons, parole, probation, and community corrections have many different issues to deal with daily. Corrections face overcrowding, downsizing of staff, budget cuts, and training issues. To combat these difficult issues administrators use the many departments within the system. It starts with the central office that overseas all of corrections within the state (Peak, 2010).

The central office is run by a secretary; under the secretary is the prison director. The prison director is responsible for “setting policy for all wardens to follow in terms of how the institutions should be managed and inmates treated as well as overseeing “public or media affairs coordinators, legislative liaisons, legal advisers, and internal affairs representatives” (Peak, 2010, p. 246). The public or media affairs coordinators are responsible for getting information to the public. Legislative liaisons are responsible for helping to bring new laws and needs for new laws to the attention of the state. Legal advisers make sure that no laws have been broken and take care of any impending lawsuits. Internal affairs representatives ensure that ethical behavior is maintained within the correctional system (Peak, 2010). Every jail, prison, parole, probation, and community corrections are under the watch of the central office of the state which is how these departments of corrections operate and function.

Security and Technology functions with correctional environments

Security is very important with the correctional department. It prevents inmates from escaping jails or prisons, and it also prevents contraband from entering the facility. When contraband enters the facility, a crime can be committed against other inmates. A Baltimore inmate allegedly acquired a cell phone, ordered an arrangement on another inmate, and would pay the murderer $2500 (Bulman, 2009). To prevent such incidents from happening, jails and prisons are bringing new security measures into the establishments. One such technology is using body scanners, often found in the United States airports. These scanners can scan through clothes and detect any contraband trying to be smuggled into the jail or prison. “The system was tested and evaluated at Graterford, a maximum-security facility that houses about 3,100 inmates outside Philadelphia” (Bulman, 2009, para 2) and officials working within the prison believed the trial using the body scanners were successful in finding contraband. Prisons and jails also use hand-held devices called WANDD. This hand-held device scans inmates, or visitors, and detects non-metallic items, such as plastic or wood items.

A prototype was tested in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, and it was able to detect objects such as plastic knives, cell phones, guns, and even credit cards through various types of fabric (Bulman, 2009). Correctional staff is also using some of the latest technology available to track inmate’s movements within a prison or jail called radio frequency identification technology. A little chip is attached to some objects, most often a wristband, and correctional staff can track the movements of each inmates. It also alerts prison staff when a large amount of inmates are gathered within any area within the jail or prison. “Movement information can be stored in computers and could prove useful in investigations to determine who was present in a certain part of a building at a particular time” (Bulman, 2009, para. 18). Management and control Managing a jail or a prison is not an easy task.

Anyone working within these environments must be able to manage a large number of inmates while controlling them at any given time. Correctional guards are the ones who will be in direct contact with inmates. If they become too friendly with inmates or are not paying attention, a situation can occur suddenly. Staying alert and maintaining control is imperative because inmates can read correctional guards easily. Inmates can learn the habits of their guards if the guards maintain the same routine daily. Ethical rights are one of the key factors to managing a prison or a jail. Even though these inmates have committed a crime, they still human rights. Understanding that aspect of managing a prison may be hard for some people in charge. All individuals visiting, working, or the inmates themselves should be respected to a degree. Having this type of approach to prison or jail management is does not represent a liberal outlook on the system or a ‘soft view.’ Many people whom have worked in different prisons throughout the world, believe this approach works in prison and jail management because they view the inmates as humans (Coyle, 2009).

Educational and Treatment Programs

Most individuals incarcerated in Jails, prisons, and community correction centers have little or no education. These individuals often commit crimes to support themselves or their families. These individuals are arrested and sentences to incarceration for their crimes. After release, they continue lacking the education and skills to find legal employment and return to lives of crime to support themselves and family. This is a vicious cycle that has led to extreme overpopulation in correctional facilities. Juveniles commit crimes for several different reasons. Some juveniles commit crimes to support their families, some because of peer pressure, and some just to relieve boredom. Whether these adults and juveniles commit crimes because of lack of education and opportunity or from juvenile ignorance and boredom the solution remains the same, education.

“Studies conducted over the last two decades almost unanimously indicate that higher education in prison programs reduces recidivism and translates into reductions in crime, savings, and long-term contributions to the safety and well-being of the communities to which formerly incarcerated people return.” ("Why Prison Education?” n.d.) (para. 1). The Institute for Higher Education Policy conducted a study in 2011. This study showed that seven in ten people incarcerated will commit further crime upon release and half of these individuals will be incarcerated again within three years ("Why Prison Education?” n.d.). The results of many studies show the solution to be a seemingly simple one, education equals increased employment, and increased employment equals reduced recidivism. Each facility, prison, jail, community corrections, and juvenile detention offers a different type of education to inmates. Prisons typically house individuals for longer periods of time than other correctional facilities.

Because of the lengthy stay prisons are able to offer inmates many more services. In most prisons classes are offered to teach inmates basic skills of language, reading, and math. These skills are developed upon to help the individual obtain a General Education Diploma (GED). Some prisons, such as those in California, offer incentive programs to inmates seeking education. These individuals can earn up to six weeks per year reduction in their sentence for completing educational classes. They also offer sentence reduction for learning vocational skills, such as firefighting and increase the reduction time earned if the skills are used within the facility ("Cdcr Implements Public Safety Reforms to Parole Supervision, Expanded Incentive Credits For Inmates", 2010). Some prisons are attempting to begin pilot programs involving distance learning. They can help the inmates to obtain financial assistance to complete online college courses and earn degrees before release. Jails and community corrections typically do not house inmates for extended periods of time.

Jails are often only able to help inmates to begin the learning process or assist in learning the basic skills of language, reading, math, and GED preparation. Many jails can help inmates in beginning the programs and guiding them toward other facilities and organizations who can further assist them upon release. Community corrections often have more flexibility and can offer a more varied selection of learning opportunities to individuals. Because fewer restrictions are involved they can sometimes offer vocational training or strict and structured on-the-job training. Probation and parole individuals usually have advancing their education as part of their probation or parole contract. Most are required to attend GED classes and strongly urged to obtain a GED. Many states require probation officers to receive training concerning how to best assist their clients in furthering their education, job training, and job placement. Probation officers will often assist clients in locating employment that often involves on-the-job training. Aside from education, almost all facilities offer drug or substance abuse programs.

Many also offer counseling for anger management and other counseling issues or direct individuals to organizations who are able to assist with these issues. While adults in the criminal justice system are often punished as well as rehabilitated, the justice system typically places focus on rehabilitation where juveniles are concerned. Juveniles commit crimes for a variety of reasons and most studies show education to be the solution to recidivism prevention. Juveniles are required to continue their education while in detention. Juveniles are also typically provided with addiction counseling, social skills training, and mental health counseling. The older juveniles are encouraged and often assisted with obtaining higher education. They are also provided with job training and job search skills.


  1. Bulman, P. (2009). Using Technology to Make Prison and Jails Safer. Retrieved from
  2. CDCR Implements Public Safety Reforms to Parole Supervision, Expanded Incentive Credits for Inmates. (2010). Retrieved from
  3. Correctional Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Coyle, A. (2009). A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management. Retrieved from handbook_2nd_ed_eng_8.pdf
  5. U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (1994). Literacy Behind Prison Walls. Retrieved from
  6. Why Prison Education?. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Cite this page

Criminal Justice System and Community Corrections. (2016, Mar 11). Retrieved from

Criminal Justice System and Community Corrections
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