The present paper deals with the issue of violence as a means of prisoner control in a fictitious correctional institution. The problem is reviewed from the perspective of public opinion, change management, Commission of 1967 and its implications, etc. Relevant research is used when formulating the potential solution to the problem.
Correctional institutions’ dependence on public opinion is a critical factor in implementing change since the majority of prison funding (with the exception of privatized correctional establishments) is funded by the taxpayers. In the given fictitious case, the public opinion is rather a restraint. The public encourages violent behavior, which does not facilitate change and is quite likely to lead to the dissolution of the correctional establishment in the long run.
The public’s interest in the prison system can be explained by the funding considerations mentioned above, as well as the safety concerns and other prerequisites. A number of studies reveal that the majority of the public is positively concerned about prison overcrowding and the way convicts are treated. They underline the effects of poorly designed and implemented rehabilitation programs on recidivism – and, therefore, public safety – not least because of several Court rulings wherein rehabilitation was excluded from the sentencing considerations as it were (Stojkovic, Kalinich & Klofas, 2014). The research in the area confirms the public’s concern over overcrowding and other issues including violence. The public is reported to prefer rehabilitation over-incarceration by a three-to-one margin (Thielo, Cullen, Cohen & Chouhy, 2015). Considering the prime role of the public’s opinions and cooperation with the prison system, such viewpoints are likely to facilitate more humane methods of dealing with the convicts, thus revolutionizing the system. The given case, however, presents no such opportunity as the community’s perspective is quite contrary to the very concept of humane.
The work environment is reported as the critical factor in employee turnover prevention (Wozniak, 2016). In this case, the correction employees are clearly dissatisfied with their assigned duties because they feel the unethicality and inhumanity of violent discipline enforcement. The prolonged dissatisfaction can result in employee burnout and escalation in turnover rates. The latter is specifically undesirable in a correctional facility setting, the one that is consistently in need of reliable, qualified staff. The facility, therefore, should provide the appropriate working conditions that would reduce stress – which would mean certain leniency towards the offenders and, consequently, public dissatisfaction. To reduce working hours and establish more frequent shift turnaround would be one of the measures to prevent employee burnout and increase productivity. Contacting the public, educating them on the drawbacks of prison violence, and gathering feedback to track any attitudinal changes to take action accordingly would be another way to solve the problem long-term.
The Commission of 1967 issued its signature report with a directive for more coordination among the assorted parts of the criminal justice system and, as applied to correction and rehabilitation, for more public support (The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, 1967). The report emphasized that the correctional goal of such institutions was largely unfulfilled. The positive implication of this report on the aftermath of the Commission and President Johnson’s term of service is that the concept of rehabilitation was researched and a number of programs appeared. However, the Commission’s directives begot the plurality of the public opinions leaning towards rehabilitative practices instead of incarceration and, simultaneously, towards further restriction and control.
Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., & Klofas, J. (2014). Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration and Management (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society. (1967). Web.
Thielo, A. J., Cullen, F. T., Cohen, D. M., & Chouhy, C. (2015). Rehabilitation in a Red State. Criminology & Public Policy, 15(1), 137-170.
Wozniak, K. H. (2016). Perceptions of Prison and Punitive Attitudes: A Test of the Penal Escalation Hypothesis. Criminal Justice Review, 41(3), 352-371.