The effectiveness of prisons and jails to rehabilitate inmates

Whenever a person is charged with an offence and found guilty by a court of law, they are usually sentenced to particular punishment. The most common form of punishment in many judicial systems is imprisonment. A prison or a jail is a correctional facility where people accused of crimes are confined. The main aim of prisons is to rehabilitate or correct inmates so that they may become good and trustworthy members of the society (Andres, A.  Valerie, J. 2010). However some analysts have on more than one occasion cast doubt as to whether the prisons have been able to fulfill the mission of rehabilitation. This discussion attempts to find out if these correctional facilities are effective in rehabilitating inmates and if so, to what extent they are.

The prisons in America have on a couple of times been accused of not being as effective in rehabilitating prisoners. According to various researches conducted there are a high number of prisoners who are re-arrested within a short period of being released from jail. Those prisoners who are put on probation have very slim chances of completing the probation period without committing yet another crime (Peter, M. et al 2006).

It has also been noted that when inmates are in prison they tend to change their behavior with some becoming hardcore criminals. Some practices like homosexuality and use of hard drugs are rife in prisons. By the time an inmate completes to serve their jail term they have picked other bad habits which make then worse than the way they were when they first got into prison. This makes one wonder if prisons are effective or they are breeding places for hardcore criminals (Andres, A.  Valerie, J. 2010).

The prison has been viewed by many as a solution to the problems in the society. The public takes the assumption that the prison rehabilitates inmates y making all the offenders pay for their crimes. It is also the expectation of the society that by the time a criminal is released from prison, they have turned around and changed their lives completely. However this expectation has continually been eluded by the reality that prisons have not effectively been able to rehabilitate prisoners into becoming better members of the society (Peter, M. et al 2006).

Prison officials have however been on the defensive and they have not been taking the accusations of ineffectiveness lying down. They argue that the duty of ensuring that inmates reform is communal where all stakeholders are involved. They argue that they cannot make the reforms happen single handedly. They ask for the support of the public and more importantly they argue that the inmates must be willing to reform and become responsible and trustworthy citizens.

However, accusing fingers having been pointed on the prison officials, who are being accused of not meting punishments that are severe enough to make the inmates change. And for that accusation, prison officials argue that the severity of a punishment does not always guarantee change on the part of the prisoners. There must be will and effort that must be demonstrated by the inmates if change is to occur (Peter, M. et al 2006).

It is clear that the prisons have not been able to serve effectively the main purpose for which they were established. It is therefore important for all stakeholders to go back to the drawing board and find out what exactly the problem is and what is preventing these correctional facilities from being as effective as they ought to be.


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