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What Are the Effects of Treatment Programs and How Do These Programs Assist the Rate of Recidivism Essay

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According to Steadman and Naples (2005), 11. 4 million people are booked within the United States prison system annually and of that, it is estimated that seven percent have been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder as well. Treatment programs have been previously scrutinized however; studies have shown that relapses and recommitting of criminal acts by substance abusers is common during the first 90 days after prison release (Hiller, Knight, & Simpson, 1999).

Therefore, treatment programs in accordance with aftercare can successfully lead to a decrease in reusing illicit drugs or substance abuse.

In order to reduce the rate of recidivism, programs have been created within public and private operated prison systems that are aimed at particular offenses or for offenders such as sex offenders, violent criminals, and drug and alcohol abusers. In order to asses an offenders need for these treatment programs psychologist, social workers, and prison staff are all involved.

Hiller (1999), suggest that the main type of treatment program adapted within the United States prison system is the “In-prison Therapeutic Community”.

This particular program sole intent is to house prisoners receiving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse separately from the general population throughout the prison. According to Hiller (1999), this programs foremost goal or function is to operate differently by adhering to stricter treatment protocols enhanced values and beliefs and to increase the functionality of the staff.

They should also have shorter treatment durations and give emphasis to “self-help recovery and relapse prevention. ” Hiller (2009), states that drugs and crimes are interrelated and that within the United States, over 68% of new arrestees test positive for illegal drugs; as the levels of illicit drug use increase as does the percentage of drug distribution and other serious crimes increase, some of the offenses associated with these arrests are drug trafficking, possession, and many other drug related offenses.

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 80% of prisoners housed within state and federal prisons as well as local jails may have problems with alcohol or illicit drugs, therefore forcing correctional institutions to spend more of its budget to house substance abuse inmates (Hiller et al. , 1999). However, during recent years has posed a tremendous influx of programs designed to not only assist offenders inflicted with substance abuse but cater to those that suffer with mental illness and related substance abuse disorders.

These particular programs are supported throughout with federal funding. A primary focus amongst these programs is to divert particular offenders from serving jail or prison terms but community based treatment programs instead; these programs range from diverting offenders prior to the initial booking process or the initial filing of chargers to the post arrest and booking process (Steadman et al. , 2005).

Many have questioned the use of treatment programs not only due to the funding involved but to the ideology that noting within the correctional realm worked however, according to recent and previous studies conducted on the effectiveness of treatment programs have led to the suggestion that providing adequate treatment programs for offenders can lead to increased favorable parole outcomes; whilst recent studies have found these findings to be true and included accurate evaluations of various programs throughout the united states.

According to Hiller et. al (1999), early studies on states such as Delaware and California proved that substance-abuse programs within the prison system in conjunction with treatment after incarceration has led to reductions in recidivism. The Delaware Key-Crest program represented a 3 step treatment program that solely identified substance abusers, followed by their prison release the offenders were sent into work-release programs, and followed by the final phase of their treatment to include outpatient aftercare (Hiller et al. 1999). The program evaluation in California ultimately showed that of those offenders whom completed the prison substance abuse treatment program in conjunction with an appropriate aftercare program resulted with a lower percentage or returns to prison in comparison to those who were not involved in any prison treatment programs.

In conclusion the information stated above referencing jail diversion programs as well as programs that have implemented during and post treatment plans had significantly higher reductions in recidivism in comparison to offenders that received no treatment at all or of those who just received treatment during their incarceration with no after care plan after imprisonment. The programs that included aftercare assisted with the reintegration of the offender back into the community after institutionalization.

The evaluation of these programs has shown how effective treatment programs are or can be with an adequate plan of action for ultimate success rates and reduced recidivism. According to Steadman and Naples (1999), jail diversion programs results in optimistic results not only for the individuals involved but for society being the communities and systems involved. However, future research should continue to expand and touch on what impact the programs have on individual outcomes as well as being able to successfully illustrate ways that the programs protects society.

The questions that I have is how much time or effort is put into preparing and giving these particular offenders the tools necessary to properly function as responsible citizens in order to deter them from committing future crimes and cycling back into prison life. Prison Gangs: History Development and Operation of prison gangs and the threat they pose to the operation of a safe and secure prison.

According to Seiter, (2001) the development of prison gangs originally know as street gangs date back to the early 1960’s during this time the state of California began to experience an influx of organization by numerous inmates that resulted in increased violence, intimation to staff and other inmates, and the smuggling of contraband. Some of the reasons that have led to increased gang activity range from overcrowded prisons, tension among inmates, and groups such as gang affiliates continuing their street activities once imprisoned (Seiter, 2001).

Fleisher and Decker (2001), states that prison gangs usually function in secrecy and intimate non-members with a hierarchical structure where one affiliate is designated as being the leader and makes all decisions for the other members, they can be distinguished by their symbols, creeds, mottos, and they are also know to exhibit extreme violent behavior. Studies have shown that there are several major prison gangs that have their own history, formation, and regulations.

According to Fleisher (2001), the first primary gang within the prison system is the Mexican Mafia members of this gang must endure a blood oath and some of their activities include drug trafficking to and from within the prison system. The Mexican mafia does not typically kill or hurt members that do not follow rules or regulations. The next primary gang within the prisons is the Aryan Brotherhood which is composed of white gang members that seemingly oppose all non-white inmates.

This group of members engages in killing and drug trafficking as well. Some of the other gangs are the Black Panthers (which is composed of black militant groups, and the Crips and Bloods (historically a street gang based in Los Angeles) (Fleisher, 2001). Each of these gangs function with their own intended structure or purpose at hand to manipulate or control other inmates and to engage in conflicts with other gang parties either for control of the drug traffic within the prison or to exploit other inmates.

Some of the ways that prison gangs pose any threat to correctional administrators is by the violent behaviors they posses which have lead to the prison system labeling them as being “disruptive groups” throughout the prison systems. Prison gangs have been known to contract out murders on individuals outside of the prison, correctional officers, and other non affiliated and affiliated inmates. Prison gangs have and will continue to control the drug realms within the prisons due to the aspiration for notoriety and yearnings for gaining money (Fleisher, 2001).

Prisons have had to create or modify their prison systems to accommodate those inmates that were associated with gangs in an effort to keep them away from non-members so that they would not transfer their beliefs onto other members; this process could easily transpire due to the similarities that inmates typically share (Fleisher, 2001). Some of the typical similarities are based on socio-economic status, educational background, and possible usage of illegal substances.

Fleisher (2001), also states that within the prison system gang members are going to have more violations, sanctions, violent tendencies, and are less likely to involve themselves in any treatment program to reduce recidivism. As prison sentences increase and as the population change the gang population will expand to accommodate these changes. The gangs have dominated the prison system and in order for facilities to combat these organizations they must utilize approaches that include early detection of any and all gang activity, utilize surveillance techniques to identify leaders, members and potential members (Seiter 2001).

According to Fleisher (2001), street members look forward to imprisonment as a natural goal, whilst imprisonment is where the gang member learns how to become an official gang member meaning this is where the member learns to become a career or “professional” criminal. According to research there is really no way to combat prison gangs or gang like behavior, as long as the prisons continue to be overcrowded, however, there are numerous anti gang techniques that many prisons employ.

The techniques that the prisons systems have utilized range from the utilization of informants, to prison lockdowns, isolation of the leaders or gang units as a whole (Fleisher, 2001). The isolation process us a control procedure that tries to deteriorate the communication lines between the group leaders and the gang as whole while another technique that may be utilized is the exercise of “out of state transfers” this technique sets out to separate or divide an established group in order to deteriorate the gangs developed hierarchy.

In conclusion these prison gangs have developed within the prison system for numerous reasons beginning with control and the desire to exert their outside influences within prison system. The prison gangs operate within the prisons as many do or would on the outside for instance if a “turf” war was to take place on the outside the same would occur inside the prison (Fleisher, 2001). In order to control the influx of gangs in and out of prison the whole community must be involved as well as prisons must offer treatment programs, monitor the offender’s behavior once released, and offer reintegration programs.

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