Academic level – Undergrad. 1-2
Type of paper – Analysis
Topic Title – Prisoner’s Rights
We are discussing your personal preferences regarding incarceration. Your choice of one of the five below philosophies will inform me as to the type of probation / parole officer, correctional officer or prison administrator you are most likely to be.
Which of the five goals of sentencing (*retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration*) do you feel should guide sentencing decisions? Why?
How do inmate rights impact correctional administration?
Do inmates have too many rights? Too few?
What inmate rights, if any, would you add? Remove?
The administration of justice within carceral institutions involves navigating a complex balance between societal interests, victims’ rights, and inmates’ welfare. Competing sentencing philosophies shape the duties of correctional staff and leaders. An emphasis on rehabilitation as the primary aim can transform penal operations into more efficient, humane, and transformative engines of positive change. Therefore, upholding inmates’ rights may yield a criminal justice system that is both cost-effective and inclined toward compassion.
Out of the five goals, rehabilitation stands out as the most appropriate guiding concept for sentencing decisions, highlighting the ability of the justice system to support prisoners’ change and successful reintegration into society as law-abiding citizens. Focusing on rehabilitation leads to empathy, compassion, and tailored therapy since it addresses the root reasons of criminal conduct rather than just penalizing the offender (Karthaus et al., 2019). Facilitating access to educational opportunities, vocational training, and therapeutic interventions lowers the likelihood of repeat offenses and promotes effective reintegration.
The importance of inmate rights reaches well into the field of penitentiary administration, including crucial constitutional safeguards essential for ensuring fair treatment and encompassing ideas like due process and protecting against cruel and unusual punishment. Ensuring these rights helps create a secure and compassionate atmosphere in detention facilities, which ultimately leads to improved outcomes for both inmates and employees (Peterman et al., 2020). Respecting the rights of individuals who are imprisoned also contributes to the legitimacy of the penal system by preserving public faith in the fair and impartial administration of justice.
Determining how many rights prisoners should have is a contentious and subjective matter. Even if upholding fundamental rights is still crucial, having too many of them could jeopardize security and make it impossible to adequately administer punishment. The safety of the personnel, the prisoners, and the greater community is ensured by finding a harmonious equilibrium. Extra access to educational and vocational programs can encourage inmates’ skill development and improve employability after release (Duwe & Henry-Nickie, 2021). Furthermore, stressing the right to mental health help and treatment addresses the underlying psychological issues that underlie criminal behavior.
Overall, the philosophical foundations underlying sentencing determinations profoundly influence the practical work of probation and parole officers, corrections personnel, and prison leadership. Prioritizing rehabilitation as the cardinal objective allows the penal system to emphasize inmate rights, potentially transforming corrections into a more efficacious, compassionate, and restorative institution. Carefully balancing human rights and institutional security is imperative, as proper rehabilitation and reintegration depend on it. This synthesis ultimately accrues benefits for society overall by reducing recidivism through progressive penal philosophies.
Duwe, G., & Henry-Nickie, M. (2021). Training and employment for correctional populations. Contexts, 20(4), 40–45. https://doi.org/10.1177/15365042211058124
Karthaus, R., Block, L., & Hu, A. (2019). Redesigning prison: The architecture and ethics of rehabilitation. The Journal of Architecture, 24(2), 193–222. https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2019.1578072
Peterman, D. E., Rubien-Thomas, E., O’Brien, T., Richeson, J. A., Casey, B. J., Meares, T., Tyler, T., & Baskin-Sommers, A. (2020). Procedurally just organizational climates improve relations between corrections officers and incarcerated individuals. Psychology, Crime & Law, 27(5), 456–475. https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316x.2020.1818238