Correctional administration is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the day-to-day running of the state’s prisons and rehabilitation centers. The correctional administrators therefore manage the routine operations of the corrections officers and the general operations of the prisons. In a bid to investigate some of the major changes within the correctional administration over the past twenty years, I conducted a personal interview with the senior most correctional administrator whose main duty is to supervise, mentor, and provide leadership to the other subordinate staff members at the prison. According to the discussions that resulted from the live interview with the prisons’ staff member, it was apparent that the correctional administration has undergone through series of change over the last twenty years as presented in this paper.
a) Major Changes in the Correctional Administration
According to the correctional administrator, the conditions in the American prisoners lived were ghastly horror when he joined the authority thirty six years ago in the capacity of a correctional officer. He recounted all the nasty sights of filthy cells and stunning segregation units where hardcore criminals were detained. In a simple language, the experienced administrator admittedly that he witnessed quite a number of prisoners die of starvation, bodily harm inflicted by fellow inmates or warders, and contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. The prolonged imprisonment was also imminent even for petty offenses. In general, prisoners were treated as lesser beings and their human rights were trodden upon by the prison authorities contrary to the spirit of the American constitution.
Around 1990, the American false politically instigated high crime rates prompted the introduction of tougher criminal punitive measures within the U.S. judiciary, prison system and other categories of correctional institutions. Worse still, the criminal were liable to serve longer sentences than required in the newly established segregation units. The inadequate training police and correctional officers received from their respective academies revolved around physical torture and killing of the widely perceived “dangerous criminal”. Literally no attention was paid to the rehabilitation of criminals alongside parole programs (Abrahamsky, 1999).
Nevertheless, this trend came to an abrupt end after 1995 when U.S. statistics proved that the faulty operational systems of the U.S. prisons authority was the real drive behind an escalating crime and arrest rates in the American society. Consequently, the American correctional administration was restructured to a greater extent. The newly restructured prison authority concentrated on the implementation of rehabilitation programs hence the correctional officers were given specialized training on how to handle the inmates with dignity. Additionally, various forms of parole programs were supported by the correctional administration as a sure means to mitigate crime, improve living conditions within the prison facilities, and ensure that the inmates equally enjoy their constitutional rights.
b) Why have things changed in the Correctional Administration
Despite the severe punishments criminals were getting from the judiciary and prison authority, the rates of crime were always on an upward trend. According to Abrahamsky (1999), the ill trained guards and prison officers casually punished and in some cases killed the inmates. He further goes on to add that all criminals were subjected to severe forms of punishment, prolonged duration of imprisonment, and physical assault. These stringent actions were fully embraced by the judiciary and prison systems as strategies to reduce the flaring rates of crime in the United States of America then.
According to the correctional administrator, most of the reforms experienced in the U.S. prison authorities were propelled by the 1986 and 1995 prison inmates’ survey reports whose statics jointly showed that the American prison systems was the leading cause of increasing crime rates in the American society because the most serious crimes, such as incidences of murder among the inmates, were committed within the facilities. The two reports further linked the U.S. prisons to the production of hardcore criminals and the dehumanizing conditions prisoners were subjected to live in. the correctional administration maintained that the internal prison surveys recommended reforms so as to amend the outright failures of the prison systems with speed.
The administrator finally added that the correctional administration was also under pressure from the American human and activist groups, the states, and the outside world to reform its prison systems. Directives from the white house demanding reforms in the U.S. prisons system is the most fundamental in this category. Similarly, U.S. government struggled to reform its correctional administration to match that of the Great Britain.
c) Effectiveness of the correctional Administration
Even though the experienced correctional administrator admits that the uphill task of executing reforms within the U.S. correctional administration has never been easy, these changes have yielded much fruit. From the time these reforms were implemented, the overall rate of crime is gradually reducing in the American societies hitherto. All segments of the civil society is happy that the U.S. prisons authorities recognize inmates and other categories of criminals as human beings as required by the constitution. This phenomenon portrays the U.S. prison system as that which is driven by its undying urge to rehabilitate the inmate rather than punish them.
Finally, the respondent concludes that insufficient funds and lack of political goodwill from the ruling government are the two major obstacles that hinder correctional administration from running its rehabilitation and parole programs in all federal states of the United States of America. If sufficient funds could be availed with the support of the political elites then correctional administration would definitely record an exemplary performance.
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