Caught Up in the System One Get Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Caught Up in the System

One get tough policy in particular that has had lasting effects in contemporary times is related to measures designed to keep sex offenders from pursuing more criminal transgressions of the law. Specifically, some of these measures occurred in the final years of the 20th century when laws were implemented (such as the Jacob Wetterling Act and Megan's Law, respectively) to get sex offenders to register in statewide databases that are available to the general public. Additionally, restrictions about residency requirements (where sex offenders can live and go) has had a significant effect on crime victims for a largely unintended outcome, which is that the stringent regulations (which may be violated if an offender needs to pick up a prescription or fails to register with a state agency because he or she is homeless) can oftentimes create levels of stress that causes offenders to either not report there whereabouts in efforts to forsake the system altogether, or else to find new victims (Hannah 2011).

In many ways, the War On Terrorism can be considered a get-tough policy which has had a significant lasting impacts on the victims of crimes of terrorism (such as the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001). The outcome of this "war" and numerous counter-terrorism measures employed since the Autumn of 2001 are fairly plentiful for those who have been victimized by terrorists -- meaning the free public in the United States. Minor inconveniences (such as lengthy lines in airports due to heightened security measures) have been augmented by cries of racial profiling among the innocents who are "randomly" selected to be searched. Other libertarians claim that the largely imperialist measures of the war are actually in violations of human rights in an international capacity, and point to frequent instances of terrorism and other measures of domestic profiling as evidence.

2. One of the primary factors that has come to be a leading influence in the reason that incarceration has become the major correctional goal has to do with capitalism. Prison business (along with church business) is exceedingly robust in these days and times. The financing and facilitating of prisons is one of the leading industries in the United States today, and does not appear to be showing any signs of waning anytime soon. In fact, there are several private and corporate financiers who are either looking to become involved in the bankrolling of prisons, or who have already begun the process of doing so, thereby aiding in what has traditionally been a government controlled industry. Additionally, crime victims need reassurance that they will not be victimized again, so incarceration is typically supported by the majority of this demographic. Of the five existing correctional ideologies (including rehabilitation, retribution, incapacitation, specific deterrence and general deterrence) relating to the support of incarceration, retribution appears to be the one that pertains most to victims of crime (Tewksbury, R. & Mustaine, E. 2008).

However, closer examination of these ideologies indicates exactly how much both the general public as well as policy makers believe that incarceration can actually help to prevent crime in the future. Incarceration's ability to deter criminals from pursuing future crimes is often cited in defense of implementing its practice. Additionally, it should be stated that due to these factors, incarceration is considered somewhat of a panacea in the field of corrections, as it encompasses a number of factors that provide financially viable solutions to the problem of what to do with those who have transgressed the law -- and may do so again. The effects of capitalism on the high rates of incarceration are naturally real, while the rehabilitative measures of this process (certainly in the eyes of those imprisoned) may very well be dubious as many incarcerated persons have difficult times readjusting to society and see no other option other than to continue a life of misanthropic crime.

3. Some of the negative aspects of the "confinement model" -- which is essentially a philosophical regard for the purpose of imprisonment -- lies with its distinct separation from any sort of rehabilitative or correctional process. The ideology behind the "confinement model" is that trying to actually help people who are criminals (or at least those who have committed a crime) is essentially a waste of time and that instead, the point of prison should not be to ameliorate, but to deter individuals from crime by primarily providing a suitable means for punishment. The logic holds that as a punishment for crime, people will not want to commit illicit activities so as to avoid imprisonment (and the punishment which it holds).

The negative component of this line of thought is that some criminals simply need help and virtually any of the therapeutic or psychiatric work which may aid in such healing, as it were, is largely impossible within the confinement model. Therefore, senior level corrections staff or the ones who fund such institutions are generally in favor of this model, since it is more cost effective and less prodigal in its allocation of its resources. That prudent allocation of resources, however, does appear to be the primary positive associated with the confinement model. Most confinement model ideologists advocate a number of programs such as work and education that are known to have fairly readily, tangible results (unlike those involving correctional measures). By focusing on these factors, resources can be determined to be more cost-effective and efficient. Additionally, the confinement model may be viewed as an administration of justice to compensate for crimes in ways that correctional measures do not account for. Correctional staff members of lower ranking who actually have to deal with prisoners on a day-to-day basis, and who may even benefit from the effects of rehabilitation in such individuals, tend to favor more corrective measures.

4. The primary benefits of the patronage and new deal models of prison policy were that they resulted in the creation of several new prisons. Political patronage has a lengthy history of being influential in the creation and implementation of the prison system. Political patronage refers to the concept of politicians running for office and promising sweeping reforms in social areas, some of which are guaranteed by the building of new prisons, to help the public increase feelings of safety. The positives primarily benefit industry, which is promised a consistent source of revenue as well as plenty of contracts and jobs that in turn boost the economy. In the mid-1990's, for example, there was an inordinate number of prisons built at both the state and federal level, which was largely the result of political patronage.

Similarly, during the New Deal the prison system was officially evaluated from a federal perspective that imposed new regulations and sanctioned the building of facilities for prisoners. The effect upon the economy was similar to that as mentioned for the system of political patronage. However, there are certain negatives associated with both of these models, which primarily have to do with the level of corruption inherent in the promises of jobs and the other economic benefits associated with a large decrease of prisons in a short amount of time. Towns, states, and political alliances vying with one another for the creation of prisons in their particular region create temptation for illicit means of doing so, which was also experienced during the New Deal era. The history of corruption often associated with prisons in this country can be traced back to these two models of prison policy.

5. Similar to many state prison systems throughout the country, the prison system in Texas is experiencing a good deal of financial cutbacks due to policy makers attempting to reduce expenditures while maximizing their profits. In some prisons within Texas, inmates are fed only two meals a day during weekends, while other budgetary…

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