Harms of Imprisonment With Reference to Australian ‘Prison Estate’

The Australian “prison estate” is archetypally represented in imprisonment as the foremost type of punishment espoused by the criminal justice system. However, imprisonment has been routinely been criticized as a counterproductive alternative which ultimately presents numerous harms a wide array of players. Imprisonment without a clear foundational practice to guide the correction of offender’s demeanour is counterproductive and likely to account for a high recidivism rate in the country. A lowered age of responsibility as outlined in the Victorian criminal justice system now accounts for the disproportionate population of interned juveniles with almost two-thirds of this population consisting of individuals with pending sentences

Read also Prison Reform through Alternative Methods of Rehabilitation

            Imprisonment within is a taxing venture which occasions a great deal of economic harm to the nation. The increase in the number of offenders across the territory often linked to lowering of the age of responsibility to the age of 10 years and an exponential increase in illicit drug offences has created unexpected increase the number of individuals housed in such facilities. It is now estimated that A$ 14 billion is spent annually to guarantee the provision of correctional service and a worrying statistic especially in these uncertain times (Committee for Economic Development of Australia 2019). With an overall incarceration rate of 336 per every 100,000 individuals in the adult population, at a cost of $222 daily for incarceration, prisons are not economically and bound to introduce an added social cost in the near future.    

Read also Why Prison Population is Increasing in the United States        

The overall increase in the number of individuals incarcerated in Australia has also shed light on the adverse impact of imprisonment on prisoner’s physical and mental health.  In the past decade, an increase in the spate of prosecutable offences in Australia has translated into an abrupt influx in the prison population. This is further exacerbated by the fact that a sizeable majority of incarcerated individuals hail from low socioeconomic background and with a higher rate of substance abuse issues (Levy et al. 2017). Imprisonment, therefore, predisposes them to health complications, chronic diseases, and mental health problems associated with lower socioeconomic groups.

Read also Overview of Medical Experiments on Prisoners

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Prison Reform through Alternative Methods of Rehabilitation

Over the past decade, policymakers have painstakingly worked to improve the prison environment by clamoring for the creation of an effective penal system to manage offenders. Their efforts were primarily occasioned by the high recidivism rate observed particularly in the United States and overcrowding experienced in federal penitentiaries.  This was further exacerbated by the fact that the United States has one of the highest recidivism rates globally and currently incarcerates 657 prisoners per every 100,000 residents (Prison Policy Initiative, 2019).   Prison reform, therefore, seeks to remedy this situation by focusing on the introduction of alternative methods of rehabilitation for offenders. Variation in the treatment of different levels of crime may mark the beginning of a new era within the penal system, rehabilitating offenders successfully and ultimately restructuring the entire prison system. Contemporary philosophical theories on punishment have also proposed the introduction of appropriate changes to the punishments handed down by courts. Mentoring, justice reinvestment, intensive corrections orders, restorative justice and electronic monitoring are some of the most effective alternative punishments bound to foster rehabilitation in offenders. This research paper will, thus, provide an in-depth evaluation of prison reform the introduction of alternative methods of rehabilitation.

Read also Why Prison Population is Increasing in the United States


            One of the prime reasons why the United States is grappling with rampant repeat offences within the criminal justice system is a result of inadequacy in mentoring programs. Additionally, the effect of serving time in a federal penitentiary has rarely been investigated, eventually resulting in the release of individuals deeply impacted by their experience and without apposite tools to cope in their new environment. Such individuals eventually end up reoffending and serving lengthier prison sentences for their current crime. According to the Pew Center, 44 percent of released prisoners eventually reoffend which eventually accounts for the high recidivism rate within the United States (Pew Research Center, 2018). 

Read also Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

This has prompted prison reform lobbyists to propose the introduction of effervescent mentoring programs to appropriately rehabilitate ex-convicts to reduce their run-ins with the law. The purpose of a mentoring is to introduce programs focusing on the exact circumstances individuals are in and using the context best suited for transformation.  Additionally, mentoring provides the tools necessary for maneuver in society to ex-offenders after their stint in a federal facility. It begins with matching individuals released from prison with the right individual to begin this arduous journey. Mentors may range from social workers, ex-felons, church ministers to community activists. The process also entails building trust to ensure that the individual in question readily accepts the advice provided and, ultimately ask for assistance whenever faced with emerging life challenges. This increases the chances of having a successful outcome where former criminals are rehabilitated fully and able to acclimatize in their new life. Mentors are tasked with educating former prisoners on the importance of obtaining life skills, particularly necessary when facing trials. The strong relationship forged between both the mentor and mentee results in the development of strong adaptive support networks for former prisoners. This is particularly important in half-way houses where ex-prisoners can be accessed easily and most-likely to respond to the suggestions offered.

Read also How Discipline in Schools Leads to the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Low Income Communities

Justice Reinvestment

            The ineffectiveness of a majority of prison reform efforts has forced policymakers to reevaluate the strategies employed to guarantee positive future outcomes. Justice reinvestment now features high among the list of prison reform strategies that aim to rehabilitate former prisoners. It entails channeling funds that would ordinarily be spent on incarcerating individuals to more productive aspects of society which would eventually provide a support system to such individuals. For instance, funds may be directed towards identifying barriers to integrating into society and challenges that ultimately result in the development of criminal behavior.  The local government essentially redirects funding to initiatives that are bound to crate safer communities by addressing antisocial behavior. Justice reinvestment also involves the collection of data and evaluation of areas with a high crime rate to make an informed assessment of the major reasons why recidivism is on the rise. Preventive remedies are crucial in averting the development of criminalistics tendencies among community members. They pinpoint areas where ex-prisoners need to improve on within society to make sure they become significant members of society after release. Life outcomes are, therefore, bound to improve within this particular situation since ex-felons are less likely to engage in activities that may result in their internment. Justice reinvestment further entails the development of a concise framework informed by experts in criminal justice. They then proceed to consult with major actors within the jurisdiction to develop and support workable solutions for individuals released from prison and how best enforce policies offering an alternative method of rehabilitation. This may also involve identifying neighborhoods with a record number of individuals under criminal justice supervision while relying on state-specific information to direct spending to efforts bound to improve public safety. Furthermore, it also entails identifying reinvestment strategies that work effectively and introduce new strategies bound to introduce positive outcomes. Measuring performance will also make certain that the impact of the strategies employed is evaluated to track indicators of change.

Intensive Corrections Orders (ICOs)

            Intensive Corrections Orders (ICOs) can also function as an operational method of rehabilitation for former prisoners. Typically, ICOs entail the application of an alternative sentence which is to be served within the confines of the community from which the individual is from under the strict administration of Community Corrections. This method ensures that the offender becomes aware of their criminal behavior in the past and its effects on the community. Systems of accountability are then developed where offenders realize the community is cognizant of their past offences and, therefore, work to transform their destructive tendencies for posterity. ICOs can also improve security within communities plagued by crime and reduces instances of serious offence being committed (Brennan, 2017). The implementation of this policy is viewed as a lenient alternative to incarceration in a federal penitentiary. It is also only accorded to deserving offenders based on the level of crime committed. Those convicted for voluntary manslaughter, sexual offences and terrorism are deemed to be automatically ineligible and forced to serve the remainder of their sentences in prison facilities. This system, thus, results in an overall reduction the risk of individuals engaging in serious crime. It also aids in the rehabilitation of former offenders who gain an unadulterated angle on the consequences of crime and how best to avoid such an eventuality. The terms attached to ICOs are also regarded as an effective tool when seeking to rehabilitate former prisoners. Failing to comply with ICO conditions may prompt Community Corrections to report the breach to the Parole Authority, ultimately resulting in stiffer measures being imposed. This model has also been a useful tool in reducing overcrowding in federal prisons. Serving close to 2 years of a sentence in the community relieves the population pressure common in prisons as a result of the incarceration of low-level offenders. The community from which individual offenders are from also provides a fitting environment for rehabilitation by addressing key behaviors that often result in recidivism.

Restorative Justice

            Mediation between an offender and aggrieved parties is a novel strategy within the criminal justice system.  Referred to as restorative justice, it seeks to reduce tensions between offenders and the community as an effective method of rehabilitation. It heals broken relationships and creates a new sense of awareness in offenders who come to terms with the impact of their behavior on their victims and the community. It also influences them to participate actively in rehabilitative efforts seeking to transform their behavior. Restorative justice also fosters a high level of collaboration by major players within this intricate scheme to ultimately assure stakeholders of positive outcome. The aspect of reconciliation that is introduced by restorative justice is significant within this particular context for it forces offenders to reflect on their behavior and implement strategies to promote rehabilitation. Harms committed in the past are presented concisely in a bid to address their effect on the community and the offender’s obligation thenceforth.

Read also Restorative Justice Policies and Potential Future Criminal Justice Policy Evolution

Additionally, it provides offenders with a unique opportunity to experience a form of clemency which will eventually remain as a firm reminder of the harsh punitive measures that could have been implemented by the criminal justice system. Mediation, victim-offender conferences and family treatment are major tools harnessed when applying restorative justice (Kahan, 2019).

Read also Restorative Justice, Inmate Forgiveness, Right to Privacy – Research Paper

These methods create an environment where an offender can interact freely with persons who were directly affected by their actions or poor choices.  Both parties come face-to-face in a controlled environment where all the facts related to the case are presented together with accompanying consequences. This type of interaction allows offenders to come to grips with the reality of the issue being presented, allowing the aggrieved party to allocate responsibility. It is through this form of blatant integrity that the healing process can finally begin and a moment of realization for offenders. This understanding is effective in solving long-standing disputes, allowing offenders to make honest presentations, admit wrongdoing and adopt new strategies to support full rehabilitation.

Read also Concept and Purpose of Restorative Justice and Restitution

Electronic Monitoring (EM)

            The ever-growing prison population has emerged as a major problem that now impedes operations within such facilities. Imprisonment has been proven to be largely ineffective in managing crime and rehabilitating inmates who ultimately become repeat offenders. Electronic monitoring (EM) is a relatively recent alternative to imprisonment by relaying signals important signals to parole authorities. Authorities assess the movements of offenders to determine whether they are adhering to the terms imposed. Since EMs are constructed using tamperproof materials, offenders have no other choice than to respect and abide by these conditions, paving the way for rehabilitation.  EMs also endeavors to protect the public by incapacitating offenders while providing an environment where the process of rehabilitation can begin. The implementation of EMs also has deters offenders from engaging in criminal behavior for fear of being subjected to harsh sanctions for failing to uphold their end of the bargain (Bennett, 2019, p. 43).

In addition, EM also results in better rehabilitative outcomes in comparison with incarceration. It is also from this point that offenders making better choice such as improving their level of education and engage in activities that will eventually result in regular employment. They are also more likely to interact with persons capable of impacting their lives positively, resulting in progressive rehabilitation. The independence and autonomy introduced by EMs also allows offenders to develop superior decision-making capabilities which allow them to embrace rehabilitation fully.  Self-accountability also results in improved relations with family and the community who also support the offender in their journey towards becoming respectable members of society. Offenders also develop clear goals for the future and develop strategies to bolster their plans for the future. They also experience an improvement in their general wellbeing and mental health which are important components to address if rehabilitation is to succeed.


Prison reform has recently dominated discourse among policymakers in the United States. The ineffectiveness of incarceration prompted experts to suggest new alternative techniques that would reduce recidivism rates and promote rehabilitation. Alternatives to rehabilitation are now regarded as crucial within the criminal justice system to aid former offenders to reintegrate into society. Mentoring, justice reinvestment, intensive corrections orders, restorative justice and electronic monitoring are some of the most operative alternative punishments promoting rehabilitation in offenders. Thus, it is the duty of the justice system to support such strategies that aim to transform the behavior of individuals with a criminal past.

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Why Prison Population is Increasing in the United States

The United States prison population has been increasing over the past 40 years. According to (Phelps, 2016) the United States witnessed a change in its criminal justice policy that has witnessed what the author terms as mass incarceration.  The decision has had profound effects on the prison populations in the country, resulting in more people being sent to state and federal prisons. That in 1981 the United States federal prison population stood at just less than 24,000 prisoners, is hard to believe given the current number which stands at millions.

Read also Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

According to (Fairweather & McConville, 2013) the United States prison population has been on the rise since 1981, leading to an increase in overcrowding rates. By 2006, the number of prisoners in the federal prisons had reached over 2.3 million, with the current number as of 2016 standing at an estimated 6,613,500 (Kaeble, Glaze, Tsoutis & Minton, 2016). This tremendous growth in the number of people under prison supervision has been affected by factors such as truth in sentencing, determinate sentencing, states abolishing parole, and sentencing guidelines. The paper will focus on how these four factors have affected the prison population growth rate in the United States.

Read also Overview of Medical Experiments on Prisoners


            The prison population in the United States is considered one of the highest among the developed countries in the world. In the last 40 years, the country has been regarded as having been in what (Spohn, 2014) referred to as unprecedented” imprisonment binge”. However, the author asserts that in reality, the increase in the prison population in the country’s federal prisons is not directly linked with the crime rates. As a matter of fact, one would expect that increasing prison population is as a result of increased incarceration due to increased crime rates. Rather, Spohn points that the crimes rates in the United States have been on a steady decline since 1991 (pp. 535-36). Instead the increase in the number of prisoners has been attributed the sentencing policy changes and practices that the favored use of imprisonment.

Read also CJ503 – How Poor Attitudes among Correctional Staff in a State Prison Might Affect other Aspects of that Prison

            The favor for the use of imprisonment has not only led to an increase in the number of prisoners in the United States prisons and the increase in the in the prisoner admission rates, but has also led to an increase in the time served for violent crimes through punitive laws (Spohn, 2014). The adoption of these criminal justice punitive policy changes are attributed to such laws as the Truth-in-Sentencing statutes, the mandatory minimum sentences, the life sentence without possibility of parole (LOWP), the three-strikes sentencing provisions, and the sentencing guidelines that are punitive in nature.

Read also Sentencing Juveniles in Adult Courts – Sample Research Paper

            Initially, many prisoners were released to serve their prison terms under the discretionary paroles. This is reflected in the number of released offenders and the length of time they served in prison cells. According to (Li & Long, 2017) the highest number of prisoners released under discretionary parole reached a record high in 1977, but started to decline as new sentencing policies took effect. This was completely abolished in 1984 through the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Consequently, the release of prisoners on grounds of good behavior became limited and the states moved towards the determinate sentencing and the mandatory supervised release.

In order to ensure an increase in the mean serving time among federal offenders, the federal government enacted the Violent Offender Incarceration and the Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive Formula Grant. The Truth-in-Sentencing program has played a huge role in the implementation of the increase in the time the prisoners spend in jail by funding the expansion or creation of new correctional facilities within the states that confines the offenders convicted of violent crimes. In addition, it warrants that states should ensure such felons spend at least 85% of their sentence terms in prison. In effect, the Congressional act allowed increased mean time spend by prisoners in jails, through funding of the incarceration services. As a result, the prisoners who were initially released early based on their risk to recidivism and behavior change are now forced to spend considerable time in prison, thus increasing dramatically the number of prisoners under confinement.

Determinate Sentencing

            The justice and corrections system in the United States has been governed for the better part of the 20th century under the indeterminate sentencing paradigm.  The indeterminate sentencing ensured that judges enjoyed a greater discretion in determining the type of sentence and their length (Neal & Rick, 2016). This included discretion on the decision on whether to send an offender on probation or to a jail term and the type of sentence for the offenders who entered the prison. It also gave the parole boards and judges the discretion to make decisions on rehabilitation based on the offender behavior, improvements, and the impact that they would have on the public safety when they delivered their punishments. However, the paradigm came under scrutiny and attacks in the 1970s, especially regarding the possibility of racial prejudice while giving sanctions. This led to the adoption of the determinate sentencing, which constrained the initial freedom enjoyed by the judges.

Read also Privatization of Prisons – Advantages And Disadvantages

            The determinate sentencing did not only curtail the discretion that was initially enjoyed by the judges but also introduced more punitive sentencing policies. According to (Neal & Rick, 2016) sentencing policies influences the incarceration rates through a number of ways. The authors point that it exerts influence on whether offenders should enter prison cell and the length of stay in prison. The discretionary release is not present in this paradigm, allowing the judges to offer fixed sentence lengths. This move towards a more punitive sentencing framework has been fund to be among the major drivers of the increase in the prison populations (pp. 4). Initially judges could exercise discretion under the indeterminate paradigm; however the introduction of fixed sentence terms that is proportionate with the offence and paroles means the offenders that could have been released now have to be given prison sentences that are proportionate with their offences.

States Abolishing Parole

            The 1984 Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) is considered one of the landmark legislations in the United States criminal justice system. The legislation has been so influential that it has defined the modern criminal justice system. According to (Berman, 2017), the SRA legislation created the U.S Sentencing Commission which eventually created the U.S Sentencing Guidelines that shaped the modern criminal justice system. However, what is of considerable concern is that the Sentencing Reform Act abolished parole. The elimination of parole by states through the SRA has been shown to have exacerbated the criminal justice system problem of increasing prison population.

Read also Probation Versus Parole

            Unlike probation which is an alternative to incarceration, parole often involves release of the prisoners after serving the prison terms on promise of abiding with the laws. Though both involve offender supervision, parole seeks to release prisoners who have reformed rather than having them complete their prison sentence without release.  According to (Petersilia & Threatt, 2017) release on parole provided many benefits including enhancing good behavior among the prisoners and as a critical “back end” to prison overcrowding. The elimination of indeterminate sentencing and the parole review by the states meant the use of fixed minimum sentence terms. Prisoners have to serve their sentence terms in full without parole, unlike before where based on behavior change and assessment of risk of recidivism prisoners would be released early. However, the abolition of parole means prisoners have to complete their sentence terms, which is a recipe for prison overcrowding and growth in prison population.

Read also M7A1 Essay – Abu Gharaib Prison Case Study Questions Answered

Sentencing Guidelines

            The greatest change that have occurred over the past two decades in the American sentencing is the move from the indeterminate sentencing towards the presumptive range of sentences that the judges must adhere to when sentencing offenders. For example during the pre-guidelines sentencing the courts released high number of offenders believed to have participated in crimes such as tax evasion, insider trading, theft, and antitrust offenses among others (Hinojosa, 2008).  However, the introduction of sentencing guidelines ensured long, determinate prison terms were introduced for such offenders. The author asserts that the commission wrote guidelines that classified many of the previous offenses as serious.      

Read also Effectiveness of the Current American Prison System      

In addition, Berman (2017), points that the commission doggedly intricate guidelines limited judicial discretion, in order to pursue uniformity and consistency. The introduction of sentencing guidelines meant that prisoners who could initially be released on parole and probation terms, were now required to serve determinate prison sentences. Moreover, the abolition of parole further complicated the problem. It now meant that offenders had to serve specific prison terms and were no longer going to enjoy parole terms, thus increasing significantly the prison populations which had reduced thanks to probation and parole.

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Overview of Medical Experiments on Prisoners

Research showed that medical experiment on prisoners started several decades ago and many prisoners have participated in medical research without their consent. For example, in 1946 the Guatemalan prison inmates were used in medical experiment where most of them were deliberately infected with syphilis. Studies showed that male prisoners were directly infected with the disease through direct injection to the penis (Reiter, 2009). Some prisoners were forced to have sex with the prostitutes who were infected with the disease. Some of the prostitutes were purposely infected with the disease in order to infect the prisoners. After sixty years when former president Barack Obama took over the power as the president of the United States, he called on Guatemala’s’ president Alvaro Colom personally for the abhorrent U.S. government-led research.

Read also Tuskegee syphilis studies and the Zimbardo Prison Experiment – Critical Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Researches

            This is one case among other many cases were prisoners have been forced to participate in medical research without their consent. One of the controversial medical experiment that involved the use of prisoners occurred between 1965 and 1966, where Dr. Albert M. Kligman was contracted by Dow Chemical to determine the toxicity of the Vietnam War-era chemical warfare agent (Maron, 2014). In this experiment alone, about 75 prisoners were exposed to high doses of dioxin at Holmesburg prison in Pennsylvania. Dioxin was the main poisonous ingredient in Agent Orange. This is the one of the medical experiment where prisoners were used as the subject for the experiment and it received an outraged from the society.

Read also Stanford Prison Experiment Analysis Paper

As a result, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare published a report condemning the use of prisoner as human subject for the research. The report catalyzed the Federal Government to enact strict laws and regulation that limit the use of prisoner in experimentation (Bates & Harris, 2004). The strict regulations have categorized the use of prisoners in medical experimentation into individually beneficial research, low risk and non-intrusive. However, even after the enactment of the strict regulation limiting the use of prisoners in medical experiment as the human subjects 40 years, the use of prisoners in medical experiment still continues.  

Read also Harlow’s Rhesus Monkeys – Describing and Analyzing a Famous Psychological Experiment

For instance, the most recent medical experiment that involved the use of prisoner as the subject for the research was between 2006 and 2008, where the drug company by the name Hythian contracted with jurisdiction in more than five states including Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Washington and Indiana (Maron, 2014). The medical experiment involved the enrollment of the prisoners into a drug addiction treatment program. As part of the experiment, state judges enrolled the prisoners who were found in possession of drugs as a participant in the experimental treatment program termed as Prometa.

Read also Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

Considering this experiment together with that of Dr, Kligman that took place more than 40 years ago, there is no doubt that use of prisoners’ subjects in medical experiment has raised concern in the past and continues to raise concern in the modern world. Further studies have shown that more medical experiments are conducted on prisoners in the United States, Universities, the Federal Government and private drug companies (Reiter, 2009). Literature review have shown that leading pharmaceutical companies carried out their medical experiment on the prisoners and some of the notable medical experiment included testing of dandruff treatments and studying of chemical warfare agents.

Based on the recent studies that showed that HIV infections in prison is relatively higher as compared to the general populations. Research showed that the prevalence rate in prison is 5 times higher than in the general population. Similarly, the findings showed that the prevalence rate of Hepatitis C is higher in prison as compared to the general population. Based on these findings, it is prudent to carry out a medical experiment to determine factors that increases the infection rate in the prison.

Conducting medical research using prisoners subject has elicited vibrant debate among the ethicists, civil societies, human right defenders, medical practitioners and the general public. Some have argued that it is unethical to force or coerce the prisoners to take part in medical experiment without their consent (Reiter, 2009). On the other hand, some have argued that conducting medical experiment using prisoners as the subject is beneficial to the public since the outcome of the experiment helps the medical professionals to make informed decisions and in most cases, it lead to the discovery of vaccines or drugs that can treat or cure certain diseases. It is evident that balancing between ethics and public benefits is a delicate matter since each side argues their case to satisfy their interest. In this case, it is important to discuss the detrimental effect associated with medical experiment carried out using prisoners and benefits it has to the general public.

Some of the detrimental effect include long-term side effects cause by the medical experiment. For example, medical experiment conducted by Dr. Kligman left many prisoners that took part in the experiment with permanent side effect such as rushes in their skin. In fact some came forward and filed a law suit against the pharmaceutical company that contracted Dr. Kligman to conduct the medical experiment and some have received compensation for the damages. Another detrimental effects is the development of complication such as insanity and sterility especially in the case of syphilis infections. Evidence-based studies have shown that syphilis can cause sterility among men and can lead to mental problems if the disease is not managed properly. There is likelihood that some of the prisoners that were infected with syphilis deliberately developed other complications. The other negative effect associated with medical experiment is loss of life. There is high chances that a subject can succumb to illness if some drugs are administered in higher doses.

Despite of all these negative effects, there are some benefit associated with medical experiments conducted using prisoners. For example, prisoners represent all the ethnicity and races thus giving a more representative sample. This means that the findings from the study gives more accurate result. Generally, medical experiments conduct using human subject does not involves the use of more representative sample, since the minority groups are represented more than other groups. The second benefit that is associated with medical experiment conduct using prisoners it leads to the development of medicines that can treat various diseases thus benefiting the general public. In the conclusion, the tight control on the use of prisoner to carry out medical experiment should be implemented accordingly in order to ensure that prisoners that take part in the study were not forced or coerced but agreed to take part in voluntary basis.

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CJ503 – How Poor Attitudes among Correctional Staff in a State Prison Might Affect other Aspects of that Prison

CJ503 Organizational Behavior Unit 2 Assignment

The prison correctional officers are at the center of great attention from policy makers and social scientists. These employees hold the greatest responsibilities of maintaining peace, security and order of the prison systems (Larivière, 2001). Given the important role that prison employees play in correctional facilities, their attitudes can in many ways exert positive or negative influence on other employees and the prison inmates. The negative impacts can affect other aspects of a prison such as effectiveness of correctional facilities, job stress and reduced job satisfaction among correctional officers.

            The correctional officer’s attitudes towards inmates are critical to the effectiveness of correctional facilities. Negative attitudes among the correctional officers have been described by (Kjelsberg, Skoglund & Rustad, 2007) as being cynical, authoritarian and pessimistic. Moreover, some of the correctional officers seem to hold the views that the major purpose of the correctional facilities is to provide passive storage of criminals than promotion of prevention and rehabilitation. As the author asserts, poor attitudes among the correctional officers can jeopardize the ability of the correctional facilities to meet the intended goals.

Read also How Discipline in Schools Leads to the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Low Income Communities

            Although it is the goal of the correctional facilities to ensure the criminals are rehabilitated and return to the society as better citizens, poor attitudes such as authoritarianism could jeopardize such efforts. Prisoners need to be treated as humans and the goals of correctional facilties are to provide a good environment where prisoners can learn and correct their behaviors. The correctional facility should be a place where they learn good behaviors and that whatever behaviors that lead them to the prison was wrong.

Read also Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

            Moreover, poor attitudes among correctional officers have been cited as the leading cause of work related pressure among the correctional officers. According to (Stohr, Walsh & Hemmens, 2012; Misis, Kim, Cheeseman, Hogan & Lambert, 2013) unfavourable correctional attitudes are likely to report elevated levels of stress. Correctional officers who support punitive or custodial statements are more likely to experience high levels of job stress compared to those who fail to endorse such statements (p. 386). The elevated level of stress is related to reduced levels of job satisfaction, which in turn negatively impacts on the ability of the prison facilities to meets its correctional goals.

Read also Ethical Dilemmas that an Assistant District Attorney is Likely to Face While Serving his Prison Term and Probation

The Importance of Employee Satisfaction within the Prison

            The prison staff constitute the most expensive and valuable resources in the correctional facilities. It is important that prison employees be motivated in their workplace in order to ensure they meet the major goals of correction and rehabilitation of prisoners. In the case scenario provided, it is evident that there is need for increased employee satisfaction within the prison. Employee satisfaction within the prison cannot be overemphasized owing to the numerous negative reactions. Increasing employee satisfaction in the prison is key towards ending the numerous altercations and riots.

Read also Job Satisfaction in Motivating Employees Compared to Organizational Commitment in Starbucks

            Moreover, the increased altercations, riots and punitive approach towards prisoners is likely to increase job related stress. According to (Stohr, Walsh & Hemmens, 2009) poor attitudes towards prisoners have been attributed to increased job-related stress among correctional officers. There is poor attitude towards prisoners in the case prison, where a mixture of punitive and liberal approaches. In addition, the presence of increased prison gangs violence, physical altercations and racial identity, are a source of stress for the prison employees. There is need for job motivation to eliminate these elements for effective operation of the prison.

Read also Effectiveness of the Current American Prison System

            The presence of poor employee satisfaction within the prison is evident through a number of indicators. The first indicator of poor employee satisfaction in the prison is the poor job performance. In the case provided, cases of physical altercations, prison gang violence and poor attitudes and perceptions towards the prisoners have been highlighted. The fact that the prison employees are supposed to offer correctional services is not evidence in the case. Rather the prison employees’ lack of satisfaction has led to a negligent of their duties leading to the observed prisoner behaviors.

Read also Things Employers Could Do To Increase Job Satisfaction Of Their Staff

            The other indicator of poor employee satisfaction is the increased feeling of role conflict. According to (Dial & Johnson, 2008) greater job satisfaction among correctional officers has been linked to positive results such as decreased role conflicts. However, in the case scenario provided, there is increased role conflicts are shown in employee segregation along their racial lines. This has infiltrated to the way the employees treat the inmates, with employees turning “blind eyes” to inmate activities.

            Moreover, there is a decreased work attitude among the prison employees, which provides an indication of reduced job satisfaction. The prison employees have adopted different inmate approaches, with some employees turning to punitive approach, while others have adopted a liberal approach. These varying treatments of prisoners in the prison highlight a reduced employee satisfaction, who have resorted to measures that they feel are appropriate as long as they feel they are performing their duties with the prison.

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Ways Leaders in Criminal Justice Can Manage Ethical Behavior in their Organizations

Ethics refers to the standards of behavior that indicate how one should behave or act based on virtues and moral duties derived from principles of right and wrong (Carlson & Garrett, 2013). According to the authors, ethical behavior is anchored in six pillars of trustworthiness, respect, loyalty, fairness, responsibility and loyalty. One of the ways in which leaders can manage the ethical behavior in their organizations is through the creation of a written code of conduct.

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 A code of conduct typically clarifies to the organization employees, the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.  In the case of prison, every employee whether new hires or old, must be trained on adhering to the organization code of conduct. An example of code of conduct is that of Florida department of corrections. The department’s code of conduct describes five ethical procedures that should be observed by all the prison employees together with an oath of allegiance (Florida Department of Corrections, 2018).

Read also Ways of Dealing With Unethical Behavior

            The other way in which leaders can manage ethical behavior in organizations is channeling appropriate use of force. In the correctional facilities, is part of correctional work. However, correctional facilities administrators must determine the appropriate and legal ways in which force can be channeled. According to (Stohr, Walsh & Hemmens, 2012) there is need for training of staff on when to escalate and de-escalate the use of force based on situation.

            In addition to managing the use of force and observation of legal rights of inmates, the other important way to manage ethical behavior is through ethical training. Since staff behavior in correctional facility is hidden from public in addition to reduced power of inmates, there is increased likelihood of abuse of power. Therefore, there is need for training on the ethical behavior among the prison staff to ensure they exercise ethical behavior while conducting their duties. Training should be done on ethical responsibility and the need to observe the ethical code of conduct.

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Ethical Dilemmas that an Assistant District Attorney is Likely to Face While Serving his Prison Term and Probation

Ethical Conflicts in Correction

            The United States prides itself as the home of the free and has been an enormous influence in the international stage for many years. Through its constitution and other documents like the Declaration of Independence, the country strives to protect the rights of its citizens. However, domestically, the United States remains the country with the highest number of incarcerated individuals in the world. Most of the prisoners in the United States’ prison still face a number of ethical dilemmas while serving their prison sentences or while in probation (Dolovich et al., 2006). An Assistant District Attorney found guilty of child molestation and sexual exploitations of children is likely to face a number of challenges during his prison years and probation.

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Ethical Dilemmas that an Assistant District Attorney is Likely to Face While Serving his Prison Term and Probation

            The contemporary United States prison has moved from the stereotypical forms, where the prison officers were depicted as uneducated and brutal. Despite these improvements, the prisoners in the United States still face a lot of ethical dilemmas while serving their prison terms and during their probation (De Amicis, 2006).  An Assistant District Attorney found guilty of child molestation and sexual exploitation of children is likely to face discrimination, sexual misconduct by the correctional officers and from fellow prisoners, stigmatization and general poor health.

            According to (Vanchieri, Gostin, & Pope, 2007) the state of the confinements in the US prisons today still resemble the ones in thirty years. While the population of prisoners increase with limited changes in the state of prison conditions, the US prisons has become a breeding ground for communicable diseases, mental illnesses, chronic illnesses such as hepatitis and diabetes (Restellini & Restellini, 2014). Such state of US prisons is likely to pose great ethical dilemmas to an incarcerated Assistant District Attorney. Such ethical dilemmas include lack of access to proper healthcare, which infringes on his rights.

The other ethical dilemma that an Assistant District Attorney is likely to face is harsh treatment from the prison officers. Although many correctional officers undergo general and in-service training and certification, most of these officers assume more power and they exercise such powers to the disadvantage of the prisoners. The (Vanchieri, Gostin, & Pope, 2007) asserts that most prison officers face injury and violence with the US correctional settings. An Assistant District Attorney found guilty of child molestation and sexual exploitation of children is likely to face injury from the fellow prisoners. Moreover, such an officer is likely to face discrimination and sexual molestation from fellow prisoners. There are many reported cases where other male prisoners sodomize other prisoners. Given that the Assistant District Attorney was found guilty of child molestation and sexual abuse, he is likely to face stigmatization form fellow inmates.

Assistant District Attorney found guilty of child molestation and sexual exploitation of children and undergoing probation is likely to face discrimination from the correction officers and the population. Most of the prisoners often face the challenge of their acceptance in the society even after the completion of their prison terms (De Amicis, 2006). The populations often do not feel that prisoners have reformed during their prison terms. Most prisoners are likely to be stigmatized by the public for the offences they were convicted. The prisoner will find it hard being accepted in the society, as people will still associate him with the crime he did and for which he was convicted, served prison sentence and was released upon completion of probation. Therefore, the ethical dilemmas range from prison discrimination, injury, poor health, stigmatization from the society.

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Tuskegee syphilis studies and the Zimbardo Prison Experiment – Critical Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Researches


            There are numerous scientific researches that have been conducted, and most of these researches involved human population in one way or the other. The scientific researches that involve human population must always be carried out in accordance to a codes of ethics of research (Pierce, 2007). These ethics of scientific research were developed in order to ensure the researchers protected the rights, dignity and the welfare of the research participants. However, some social research studies that have been carried have involved unethical experimentations, and have been controversial in nature. The paper makes a critical analysis and comparison of the Tuskegee syphilis studies and the Zimbardo Prison Experiment.

Tuskegee Syphilis Studies

            The Tuskegee syphilis study program was a government sponsored experiment that ran for forty years in the county of Macon, Alabama in the middle of the 20th century (Blitz, 2014). Syphilis is a disease that had been in existence for years and the attempts to create its remedy led to fatalities since the available cures were mostly poisonous metallic compounds. However, in 1881, the Tuskegee University that was established in order to offer higher education to the slaves, who were majority inhabitants of the Tuskegee, Alabama, would later be involved in the research that sought to find the vaccine for the disease.  

            In the early part of the 20th century, the government of the United States had developed the Public Health Service, which was in charge of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases that affected the United States citizens (Blitz, 2014). In 1929-1931, the Rosenwald Fund, which promoted education and health care promotions among the poor African-Americans, sponsored a study that was carried out by the Public Health Service, to determine the extent of the syphilis menace in the Southern counties. Initially, the objective was the identification and treatment of the disease. However, the great depression struck in the 1931 and the Rosenwald Fund was unable to sustain the funding of the PHS. Therefore, the PHS approached the Tuskegee University about the possibility of the two organizations forming a study group in order to investigate the effects of untreated syphilis among the male population in Macon County, which had the highest rates of infections.

            The study involved an enrollment of six-hundred Macon county men, from which 399 men had been infected with syphilis, while 201 were free from syphilis (Blitz, 2014). One striking ethical aspect of the study was that none of the participants knew what the objective of the study was. Most of the participants had been lured into participation with the promise of free health care, which was not offered to the African-Americans and the cure for “bad blood”, a term that was used to refer to ailments such as anemia, and other venereal ailments. Other promises that were used to entice the men into participating included free burial insurance, free medical exams and meals. The researchers used deception in order to have a large sample of population and ensure that the participants remained in the study group.

 Moreover, the participants who had the disease were never informed of their diagnosis nor were they treated (Blitz, 2014). Many unnecessary and painful spinal taps were also carried on many of the participants in the field. In addition, the researchers took advantage of the fact that most of the participants were illiterate and it would have been hard for them to know the main reasons behind the research study. Similarly, there was documentation of racial prejudice amongst the researchers. Thus the researchers, did a total disregard of protection of the participants who based on the description of the samples, they formed a vulnerable group. The study would go on for over the initially intended nine months due the breakthroughs. Finally, although penicillin was discovered, none of the participants was offered the treatment as the administrators wanted to monitor the progression of the disease and the subjects would be observed, as they got sick until their death.

Zimbardo Prison Experiment

            In a study to determine the major cause of brutalities in the United States prisons, Zimbardo performed a study in order to determine whether the brutality amongst the guards was situational or dispositional (emanating from the guard sadistic behaviors) (McLeod, 2008). In order to determine the effects of a prison cell on the behavior of prison guards and prisoners, Zimbardo,converted the basement of the Stanford University into a mock prison cell. A total of 75 students volunteered and after subjecting them to psychological screening, 24 male students were eventually selected and paid to participate for the study, which was to take place for a fortnight.

            The participants were randomly selected and assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners (Zimbardo, Maslach, & Froming, 2012). The prisoners were treated just like criminals, being arrested from their homes without warning and the guards worked in shifts. Zimbardo, while acting as a researcher observed the behaviors of the prisoners and the guards. Within a short time, prisoners and guards had settled into their roles. The guards begun to adopt sadistic behaviors and begun to mistreat the prisoners, while prisoners begun to be aggressive and one had to set free after 36 hours because of the uncontrolled cries, bursts and screaming.

Similarities and Differences between the Two Studies

            The Tuskegee and the Zimbardo studies involved studies of human subjects under control experiments. The Tuskegee study was carried using the patients with syphilis and those without the disease as the control sample. On the other hand, the Zimbardo study involved the students who were randomly selected in order to determine the impact of prison environment on the prison guard behaviors. Whereas the Zimbardo study exercised random selection of the participants, who were informed about the study, the Tuskegee study did not randomly select its study participants nor did it obtain any consent form them. Moreover, the participants in the Tuskegee study were coerced and promised money and burial insurance for participating in the study. Unlike the Zimbardo study, which exercised participant protection, the Tuskegee study exercised no regard of participant protection despite the fact that they constituted vulnerable population.

Ethical Principles in the Case Studies

            The Tuskegee syphilis study has a number of ethical principles that were never observed. First, the study involved subjects that were not randomly selected. The control population and the participants who suffered from syphilis were just coerced and deception used in order for them to form part of the study sample. The study failed to adhere to the ethics of research, which demands the protection of the rights of the study sample (Daugherty-Brownrigg, 2012). Moreover, the selection of the population was not randomly drawn but based only on a specific population that consisted of only poor African-Americans. Furthermore, the researchers failed to seek the consent of the participants, taking advantage of the illiteracy of the participants to make them part of the study population. In doing so, the researchers totally disregarded the rights and welfare of the participants. For example, the participants who were free from syphilis were injected with the virus without any explanation that the injection was meant for study purposes.

            In contrast, the Zimbardo prison experiment adopted a different strategy that was guided by the ethics of social research. In the study sample selection, Zimbardo obtained the consent of the participants by giving them a detailed description of the purposes of the study (Haney & Zimbardo, 2008). Moreover, the study samples were randomly selected and thus giving every individual and equal chance of being part of the study sample. These strategies ensured that the rights of the participants were observed. In fact, unlike the Tuskegee study, in which the participants were not treated despite the discovery of the vaccine, the Zimbardo prison experiment had to be terminated when it was found that it had degenerated into a bad condition and some participants whose behaviors had become uncontrollable were removed from the experiment.

The Success of the Strategies in the Two Case Studies

The Zimbardo prison study was successful owing to use of better research strategies of random selection and proper explanation of research purpose to the participants. However, the Tuskegee research study failed to attain better results since the whole study led to fatalities and the researchers were not able to treat the participants who were left to death due the need for continued observation even after death. After all, the research deemed the promise of burial insurance amongst the participants was enough for the study participants. The failure by the Tuskegee researchers to observe the research ethics led them into violating the rights of the participants and thus did not offer any treatment to the participants who suffered the disease, even despite the discovery of its cure. The studies that were later carried after the Tuskegee syphilis research showed that majority of the African-Americans were less willing to participate in the future research that involved clinical trials as compared to the whites, owing to the incidents of the Tuskegee research study.

Alternate Strategies That Might Also Have Been Used To Achieve the Same or Better Results

            The research ethics demand the protection of the rights and welfare of the research study participants (Pierce, 2007). The syphilis study among the minority groups in the Tuskegee would have adopted the research ethics that involves seeking of the consent of the participants before being involved in the study. The participants would have been informed about the intention of the study and the possible implications in order to allow them to make informed decisions. Furthermore, the participants would need to selected randomly in an open and free manner devoid of coercion and bribery. In doing so, the study would achieve better results and would not attract any negative publicity and future skepticism of participation in other studies.

The Case Study that Represents a Better Implementation of Research Ethics

            The Zimbardo prison study achieved better observation of research ethics since the participants were randomly selected and subjected to psychological tests to determine their fitness for the intended study. Moreover, the study exercised study participants protection, for example, when it was observed that some participants had displayed aggression, they were withdrawn. However, the Tuskegee study violated research ethics through adoption of coercion, deceit in recruitment of research participants and use of participants without their informed consent (Engelhardt, 2007). Furthermore, the study population represented vulnerable sample, which demanded better protection. For example, the study participants were not given any treatment, but left to die despite the fact that the syphilis vaccine had been discovered. The researchers valued the study other than the protection of the research participants.

The Ethical, Practical, and Political Consequences of These Cases for the Researchers, Participants, and the Social Groups

            The manner in which the Tuskegee study was carried out has been a subject of great debate to date. The United States government was forced to offer an apology to the victims of the study and the state offered to provide free medical insurance cover to the participants who still survived and their descendants, which still runs to date (CDC, 2013). The study raised serious bioethical implications even for future studies, where there is shrewd regard to study that involve human subjects among the African-Americans. Moreover, the study has been a subject of great scrutiny and criticism from the social groups and the researchers for failure to stick to principles of bioethics.


The Tuskegee and Zimbardo studies represent two cases studies that employed studies on human population. However, the two studies exhibit glaring differences in the manner in which the studies protected the rights and welfares of the research participants. The Tuskegee study has been cited by many researchers for the violation of rights of study population and lack of regard for bioethics. In contrast, the Zimbardo experiment was able to achieve better results owing to its random selection of the study sample and obtaining of participant concept.

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Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

Imprisonment is among the most severe punishment in self-governing societies apart from capital punishment that is only used in the United States. The primary rationale of imprisonment is crime prevention. Imprisonment is anticipated to prevent crime through deterrence and incapacitation. Incapacitation denotes crime prevention yielding from the offenders’ physical isolation. Deterrence denotes a behavioral response (Nagin, Cullen & Johnson, 2009, p.115). Deterrence can be regarded as crime prevention by the terror of a threatened criminal sanction or the experience of real criminal sanction. Deterrence is generally focused at lowering crime through directing that sanction threat at all potential offenders. Unique deterrence is meant for lowering crime by employing a criminal sanction to a unique offender, so as to dissuade her or him from reoffending. Deterrence is just one of the sentencing purposes in Victoria, resolute by the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic), section 5(1). Other sentencing purposes include incapacitation or community protection, punishment, rehabilitation and denunciation (Ritchie, 2011).

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Imprisonment is employed as a criminal justice policy tool in each modern world country.  Ritchie (2011) conducts a research to assess evidence of the strength of imprisonment in enhancing general deterrent. The research noted that imprisonment contains a negative though generally trivial impact on the crime rate, standing for a small positive deterrent impact. The imprisonment failure to act as a deterrent for a considerable number of offender is apparent in both the number of individuals in prisons who have served a past term of imprisonment and the high rate of recidivism. In Victoria, about 49% of adult prisoners incarcerated at 30th June 2010 had a record of past adult imprisonment sentence. However, according to Durlauf and Nagin (2011, p. 21), there is evidence that shows general deterrent impact is strong. It is also noted that different offenders have different experience with imprisonment, while some reform and fear prison, others get to acquire new criminal skills, which they utilize after release (p.22). This means that there are contradictory results based on where and when the research was done.

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Imprisonment is also done with intention of incapacitation. The imprisonment incapacitative effect presents a compelling logic which claims that, while an offender is in prison, that offender cannot harm the community. Thus offender’s incapacitation might be anticipated to prevent crime which a criminal would commit if she or he was free in the community. However, according to Ritchie (2012), community protection from offenders does not essentially need offender imprisonment. This purpose can be satisfied by the execution of other sentencing orders which include community correction order which needs the offender to attend alcohol or drug treatment. Unlike imprisonment which is only likely to protect the community for the time that the offender is away in prison and subject it to the same danger after release, community correction assist in offender rehabilitation, lowering the offender reoffending likelihood. Imprison in this case can only be necessary in the early stages of therapy, where therapist are not able to control the offender’s behaviour until the advance stages of therapy. However, as a lone measure, imprisonment may not be very effective in protecting the community, unless the offender is put on a lifetime imprisonment (Ritchie, 2012).

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The effectiveness of imprisonment in reducing crimes or protecting the society has demonstrated varying results, some showing little or no effect while others showing some improvement.  According to Gelb (2011), evidence on declining crime rate was determined by Australian Bureau of Statistics published data. The data demonstrated decline in crimes that include theft, homicide, burglary and robbery in a period of 10 years. Imprisonment according to Gelb (2011, p.7) is preferred as a way of keeping more criminals  off the street, punishing the criminal for the crime committed, since alternative methods gives criminals a chance to get off so easily, and also used as a way of disapproving criminal acts among people in the society.  However, generally, there are alternatives that offer better results compared to imprisonment. These include individuals involved in light offenses which are non-violent and young offender. Other alternatives that include community collection order can result to better outcome than imprisonment of non-violent offenders. Another alternative is rehabilitation of offenders, especially mentally ill offenders is regarded to offer better results compared to imprisonment especially in preventing them from reoffending. Mentally ill offenders are mostly influenced to offend by their mental state or behavioural disorders. When the root cause of the offense is eliminated, these individuals can manage to live in the society without reoffending.

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Generally, there is no pure data demonstrating situation where imprisonment is the best way to go. Different data show different results, though imprisonment is said to demonstrate better results in cases where offenders were engaged in capital crimes that require lengthy period of imprisonment. However, in situation where offenders are only involved in minor crimes with short period of incarceration, imprisonment is said to play very little or negligible role in crime prevention. Majority of those imprisoned for minor crimes are also likely to reoffend or to engage in other minor crimes in the future. This brings in the question of effectiveness of imprisonment especially in minor crimes, with majority suggesting more effective alternatives to curb crimes. When looked at in another angle, imprisonment gives peace to the member of the society, since it reduce fear of falling in the hands of the offender. It also still regarded as the best strategy to punish the offender. To some extent imprisonment can be used to safe offenders from execution by the society, especially if the offender’s act has infuriated the affected community (Gelb, 2011). 

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Victoria has been experiencing increase in prison population, although it is still the lowest in the country. According to McLeod (2015, p. 1156) if abolition is perceived as immediate tearing of the prison walls to release the inmates, then the whole idea would be chaotic. It would see most of these offenders released to the community. This would definitely increase fear and anxiety in the society, especially among the victims of the offender. This can also results to chaos in the society for a while as people try to take law in their hand to punish those who have offended them or their loved ones. There could also be increase in capital crimes in the state as people try to take revenge while others continue committing offenses without fear of the consequences.  The small number of people who could have deterred from crime due to fear of being incarnated or receiving any other punishment would gain more courage to carry on. Basically, this would be the worst ideal ever. 

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However in McLeod (2015, p.1156)  view, if abolition instead consist of an aspirational ethic and a gradual decarceration framework , that consists of a positive substitution of other regulatory kinds of criminal regulation, then intent to abolish prison system and to welcome reformist dialogue comes into attention as a more worrying absence. Although prevention of violent crime and wrongdoing proportional punishment purportedly justify imprisonment, the criminal law administration might be attained in large measure via institutions rather than criminal law administration (p. 1156). The adoption of other measures in a systematic ways which include offenders rehabilitation with intention to change their behaviours, putting those engaged in minor crimes under community supervision order, and acquitting some with penalty or community based punishment may play a better role in reducing crimes and reoffending in Victoria than imprisonment.

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However, a great challenge may be experienced while handling individuals involved in capital crimes, who need to be isolated from the community, for the fear of reoffending. Although most groups can fit in those with mental issues that require rehabilitation, lack of punishment for their wrong doing which can include murder may not be a very welcomed idea.  There are a number of alternatives that can be used to substitute imprisonment in Victoria. One of these alternatives is rehabilitation. According Birgden (2008 p.452) rehabilitation is more effectual in lowering reoffending compared to prevention and punishment. In this case, normative framework stance of community protection will be met via the offender rehabilitation sentencing principle. The rehabilitation can be therapeutic if behavioural or/and mental conditions contributed to the offenders action, or it can be anti-therapeutic where principles of professional practice is the right treatment. Effective criminal rehabilitation will need to balance rights of the community and those of offenders to promote community protection.

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To attain this, normative framework will require integrating legal and psychological   theory to address the criminal in the criminal justice system (Birgden, 2008. p.452). The other alternative is employ community based sentencing. This strategy is based on the principle that offenders’ correction is a societal responsibility. It involves the integration of all stakeholders in offender rehabilitation. In this case, the government will need to offer education on the role of every involved stakeholder, in offender rehabilitation. Effective policies also need to put in place to ensure right legislations, procedure and supervision is employed to ensure successful rehabilitation of offender (Zondi, 2012, p.763).

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M7A1 Essay – Abu Gharaib Prison Case Study Questions Answered

M7A1 Essay Instructions

The purpose of this activity is for you to examine a real-world case of abuse of power and the consequences that resulted.  Most of you are familiar with the Abu Ghraib Prison case and what happened when abuse of power went unchecked.  Let’s look at the case in some detail and share your thoughts and opinions in a 2-3 page essay.

Some have argued that the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became a symbol of the military’s unpreparedness to deal with the chaos and insurgency of a post-war Iraq. Having read the case study and viewed the video tape reflect for a few moments on the events and climate that permitted such activities to take place. Then answer the questions outlined below in a 2-3 page APA format essay. In your essay, consider the following questions

  • First, when considering the actions that took place at Abu Ghraib, who should be held responsible? Who should be held accountable?
  • Describe the mitigating factors that cause you to hold an individual or individuals more or less responsible. Accountable? 
  • Discuss what caused/allowed Abu Ghraib to happen.
  • Explain if what happened at Abu Ghraib was the result of just a “few bad apples”…or was it something more systemic?
  • Why you do suppose that those who were troubled by what they knew was taking place did not stop it? Report it? Why did some apparently go along who really didn’t want to?
  • Finally, if there is one overarching lesson to be learned from Abu Ghraib it is…?

M7A1 Essay – Abu Gharaib Prison Case Study Questions Answered

The prisoner abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib prison from April 2004 under the Coalition Provisional Authority’s watch is by far one the most heinous acts ever recorded in modern history. According to Amnesty International, these atrocities were widespread and often ranged from murder, physical and even sexual abuse (Salvatore Anthony Esposito, 2012). Thus, pursuant to the facts presented in this case study, I am of the opinion that military police guards, their commanding officers and other senior officials of the Bush administration are personally liable for the abuse that become apparent at Abu Ghraib prison. While individual soldiers were responsible for carrying out various abusive acts, they did so while following orders from their commanding officers who were answerable to (the then Secretary of Defense) Donald Rumsfeld. It is these particular individuals, who I believe, should be held accountable for what occurred in this overseas detention center.

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There are a number of extenuating circumstances that come into play when holding an individual or group of individuals more or less responsible for the atrocities that occurred at Abu Ghraib. Firstly, any moral agent is entirely responsible for their actions. As Benvenisti (2014) argues, an individual capable of basic comprehension and with ordinary sense of right and wrong, who acts independently without being subjected to duress, is answerable for their actions (65). In this regard, the individual reservists who were, later on, described as having committed “blatant sadistic acts” were party to the abuse. Some were pictured abusing the Iraqi prisoners using unconventional techniques that now even included threatening prisoners with un-muzzled guard dogs. Moreover, the commanding officers also played a major role in allowing these abuses to take place. As one of the indicted prison guards later revealed, the commanding officers often gave these orders which they expected would be followed to the letter by their subordinates. Similarly, officials from the United States government are also liable for the human rights abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib. In particular, the then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered the actions that took place in the detention center and is ,therefore, accountable since he was head of the Department of Defense (DOD).

It is vital to understand the cataclysm of causative events and factors that were at play at the time when seeking to explore the reasons why the Abu Ghraib incident even took place in the first place. Continued US presence in Iraq had sparked an insurgency among disillusioned Baathists who now viewed them as occupiers as opposed to liberators. In response, any individual accused of financing or participating in these movements was immediately arrested and transported to Abu Ghraib for processing. The abuse that soon followed was conducted by junior officers who did so only after receiving orders from the existing chain of command (Brooks, 2015, p. 78). Most notably, Generals Geoff Miller and Ricardo Sanchez are explicitly cited as key figures responsible for giving the green light allowing operatives to use any means at their disposal to extract crucial intelligence from prisoners. This included the use of enhanced interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, exposing prisoners to the elements, shackling them in painful positions for extended periods and preying on their phobias. At the heart of this problem was the White House’s disregard for the Geneva Conventions as it relates to the overall   treatment prisoners. In essence, the prisoners held at Abu Ghraib were labeled “enemy combatants”. It was this tag that the Bush administration used as an excuse to sidestep Geneva Conventions, subsequently creating an environment conducive for abuse.

The evidence presented after the investigations into the abuse at Abu Ghraib reveals that what took place there was not the mere action of some “few bad apples” as the public was led to believe. In reality, the whole barrel was rotten and there is much that points to this abuse being systematic. The abuse was so widespread that reports indicate that it still continued a year after the story came to light. To begin with, General Geoff Miller was tasked with implementing Guantánamo Bay-style methods of interrogation in detention centers across Iraq. Next in command was General Ricardo Sanchez who then authorized the use of these policies and made absolutely certain that they were implemented by all commanding officers. While it has been intensively argued that the commanding officers were simply following orders, there is clear evidence that suggests that they tolerated and encouraged these actions. This makes them equally culpable for the human rights abuses committed at the detention center. As argued by legal pundits with regard to the Vietnam My Lai massacre of 1968, the disregard of civilian life and prisoners of war (POW) was beginning to creep into the United States military and bound to emerge later on in future (Johnson, O’Connor, Sassaman, & Rawal, 2010). Abu Ghraib, therefore, came to embody this prediction, revealing the darker side of US foreign policy.             Even so, the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison was, in essence, a blessing in disguise for policy makers within the United States especially owing to the overarching lessons learned. Public uproar within the United States and around the world led many to question its legitimacy in addition to the justification of its activities in Iraq. President George W. Bush was forced to acknowledge these crimes publicly, re-affirming that the United States was indeed a “nation of law” while also insisting that all its overseas detention centers would, from thenceforward,  abide by domestic and international law. The so-called “bad apples” and all those complicit in abusing the prisoners were soon brought to justice and others were dishonorably discharged from the military. Thus, the United States was forced to commit to the elimination of all kinds of torture and expected to lead this fight by example.

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How Discipline in Schools Leads to the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Low Income Communities


The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the process whereby, experiences of disciplinary in school augment students’ probability of contact with the juvenile justice system. It refers to institutional practice of channeling school students that are frequently from disadvantaged families into the criminal justice system. This contact with criminal justice is consequently related with devastating economic, educational, and personal consequences, for the affected youths. There are three historical developments which have made the greatest considerable contributions to the growth of pipeline into a large-scale, ethnically disproportionate phenomenon. The first one was the school discipline criminalization. The school discipline criminalization refers to a shift offshoot towards crime punitive policy that started in the 1970s, signaling a mass incarceration era that has never been experienced before in human history, and providing dubious record to the United States, of having the biggest quantity of prisoners in the globe (Raufu, 2017). Given the prevailing milieu mood, it appeared inevitable for the same to be extended eventually to other elements of American life. This inevitability ultimately took place on the back of various school ground crimes, which commanded the attention of the public, hastening the zero tolerance school discipline policy introduction in American schools.

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The second phenomenon was a parallel rise in the augmented presence of police in school, which basically meant that the non-safety associated offenses, which were initially handled by school staff may now be addressed by law enforcement. These changes resulted to increase in school-founded arrests and contact with justice system. The third phenomenon was increase in people biasness while judging people from minority groups. Implicit or unconscious bias test has demonstrated that about 40% of blacks and 80% of white are negatively biased over Blacks, consistently relating them to antisocial constructs that include laziness and aggression (Stahl, 2017). This kind of biasedness has been shown in school discipline, where Latino and African American students receive hasher and more frequent penalties for behaviors that are same as their white colleagues with similar backgrounds. Black youth are said to suffer most deadly consequences due to societal racial biases of the pipeline, due to their overexposure to its techniques. When combined, the three aspects served as the foundation of the dramatic increase of harsh school discipline, and ultimately develop a greatly racialized school-to-prison pipeline (Stahl, 2017). This paper describes how discipline in schools has resulted to the school-to-prison pipeline among students from low income communities.  

How Discipline in Schools Leads to the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Low Income Communities

According to the education reform activists, the pipeline metaphor is premised on the idea that schools in towns are failing to break the criminality and poverty cycle. Schooling practices that either lacks sensitivity, such as authoritative control, policing and surveillance, and zero tolerance policies, or are institutionally racist, contribute a great deal to how specific populations experience schooling. In schools, specific populations are frequently subjected to educators’ deficit discourses, who might construct their pedagogical process around alleged shortfall in ability of students to learn, as a result of their membership in a distinct cultural or social group (Crawley & Hirschfield, 2018).  The school-to-prison pipeline (STPP) metaphor comprises of different discipline practices and policies in which, students are labeled as troublemakers, students are excluded from schools, and augment the possibility of involvement in juvenile justice, delinquency and subsequent incarceration. A number of external forces support these practices and polices including panel policies, harsh practices in justice system, and high stakes testing, as well as federal laws, which enhance the referral of specific school crimes into law enforcement. Some of the pathways postulated by the STPP have been confirmed by the research. For instance, research demonstrates that out-of-school suspensions forecast school dropout, involvement in justice system, and adult incarceration.

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According to Spiller and Porter (2014), STPP models stipulate different pathways, via which, school experiences enhance justice system involvement. Different studies have demonstrated that school suspensions augment arrest risk and involvement to juvenile justice over long and short term. The risks are also said to double in the time of suspensions. The impact does not seem to be just an automatic result of extra time away from school, since the effect is higher on weekdays compared to weekends. This research offers strong proof that being suspended during school day attracts more police scrutiny. In addition, suspensions augment the felony arrest risk that proposes that consistent with strain and labeling theories, suspension might also augment offending behavior. According to Spiller and Porter (2014), school officials might augment vulnerability of students to police scrutiny not just via suspensions, but also via disciplinary alternative schools transfer. A number of qualitative researches have recorded that students transferred to alternative school are subject to police surveillance, enhancement near and on school property. Promoted school police scrutiny can consequently increase the school exclusion risk. This might not only increase police scrutiny and delinquency in short run, but it might as well intensify justice system interactions, over in the long run, via multiple mechanisms. To begin with, school exclusion can act as a stigmatizing labels source that can weaken positive influences and social support at school and at home, and thus, augmenting delinquency. School exclusion along with these adverse consequences might impact risk assessment and compliance on decision makers’ part in the juvenile justice system (Crawley & Hirschfield, 2018). For instance, according to Crawley and Hirschfield (2018), youths arrested with past school disciplinary issues in Iowa County were more probable to be formally processes, even after taking past offenses into consideration and the severity and number of current charges. Issues of discipline also augment the odds of being formal delinquency petition subject, though just among African Americans.

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The research demonstrates that although school indiscipline can result to involvement with criminal justice, the chances of incarnation are low. Most of youths are given probation. According to Crawley and Hirschfield (2018), majority of youths on probation are permitted to continue attending school. For such youths, new cases of school arrest or suspensions can initiate punitive reactions from secondary sanctioning. A school suspension in many jurisdictions contains a violation of parole or probation terms, which can yield to secure confinement. Provided that the foregoing secondary sanctioning processes further criminalize, stigmatize and marginalize students, it is not surprising that longitudinal researches have established that being suspended from school is related to juvenile involvement or subsequent arrest, particularly after multiple suspensions (Crawley & Hirschfield, 2018). These impacts are seen even for students that remain enrolled and even when self-reported offending is considered.  The observed school suspensions effects on police scrutiny, support, social status and secondary sanctioning probability for school-founded court referrals and school arrests are evident. School arrests, which are products of promoted school policing, are probable to influence processing of juvenile justice, provided that they generate a police record and frequently trigger involvement of the court. Although school arrests and suspensions rarely directly result to incarceration, they together with juvenile justice interactions facilitate to infliction of lasting and severe damage, on a prospects of youth for productive and healthy future (Crawley & Hirschfield, 2018).

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School discipline criminalization has been established as a risk factor which inclines public school students, especially African American students to be in interaction with the criminal justice system, and how it might partly explain the noticeable gap in academic achievement between African American and White students. According to Raufu (2017), recent research demonstrates that students who have had cumulative school discipline violations suspension are more inclined to dealing with the criminal justice system, either with regard to conviction or arrest, than those that have not experienced suspension. The research also demonstrates a relationship between constant school discipline insubordination by students and the arrest risk, and the transition to school-to-prison pipeline. The main issue that surrounds STPP is that is mostly affect students of color. According King, Rusoja and Peguero (2018), research demonstrate that Latino and Black American student in schools in the United States tend to be suspended for subjective mistakes that include disrespectful behaviors such as “passing gas in class, bringing cell phone to class or violating school dressing code” (Nance, 2016) . On the contrary, White students are only suspended for objective reasons that include smoking. This demonstrates discriminative approach to the STPP, where students from minority groups are judged and punished harshly than Whites. With subjective charges, there is normally a disparity in the school policies enforcement that results to unfair punishment distribution. This makes students to perceive punishment as unjust or unfair, a situation that impact students possibility of abiding by the policies of a school. Punitive climates at school with disparity in enforcement of rule can impact academic engagement, and force students out of school by instigating school disengagement indirectly. School disengagement refers to a practice which generates an uncomfortable students’ environment, by distancing them from academic and social support (King, Rusoja & Peguero, 2018). 

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The past reviewed literature demonstrates that STPP mostly affects African American and Latino students. This creates the need of assessing the cases of indiscipline in school and how students of low social economic communities fair, without paying much attention to their race. According to Skiba, Michael, Nardo and Peterson (2002), school suspension studies have consistently recorded the overrepresentation of students of low-socioeconomic status in disciplinary consequences. The data shows that students who get free school lunch are at high risk of being suspended from school. It was also established that learners whose fathers did not have a permanent job were essentially more probable to be suspended, compared to students whose fathers were permanently employed. In a different study, student response to school discipline was evaluated by interviewing adolescent learners from both low- and high-income residential areas, regarding their response to school discipline and school climate Skiba et al. (2002). The results demonstrated that both high- and low-income adolescents approved that students from low-income families were targeted unfairly by school disciplinary sanctions. There also seemed to be variations in the form of punishment given to students of various social classes. Students from high-income families were more frequently reported to get moderate and mild consequences such as seat reassignment and teacher reprimand, while those of low income families were reported to get more severe penalties, sometimes offered in a less-than professional way such as being yelled at in front of other student, forced to stand all day in the hall or searching their personal belongings (Skiba et al., 2002). This research demonstrated that students from low income families where likely to experience harsh punishment even for minor offenses, than high income families, without paying much attention to race. Poor socioeconomic status was thus identified as one factor that would influence teachers’ biasness toward students when judging their offenses, and while punishing them. Judging based on this perspective, high number of African American and Latinos involvement in harsh punishment may be associated by their poor social and economic background (Skiba et al., 2002).

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Poor socioeconomic status is highly related with development of negative behaviors among children. According to Kaiser, Li, Pollmann-Schult and Song (2017), there is huge research evidence that show that low socioeconomic status, low income and poverty are connected to behavioral problems in adolescents and children. This has in the past been explained by the Family Investment Model (FIM) or Family Stress Model (FSM) though there is no clear mechanism which explains this relationship. The two models claim that difficult family financial situation negatively influence the relationship and emotional functioning, disrupting effectual parenting practices. The models also argue that deficiency of economic resources forces parents to center on immediate material needs, therefore, restricting the investment in developmentally reassuring conditions for their children. Past researches have also proposed that patenting styles and parental mental health are essential mechanisms, underpinning the relationship between poverty and low income and behavioral problem of a child. Poverty and low income were connected to uninvolved, unsupportive, and inconsistent styles of parenting and poor mental health of the parents (Kaiser et al, 2017). This argument can be used to explain why most students from poor socioeconomic status are involved in discipline issue. Although the research has demonstrated possibility of exaggeration on number of students from poor economic communities involved in serious indiscipline issues, the above explanation demonstrates a high possibility of a high number of poor family students who have behavioral issues that would result to school indiscipline.

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In a different assessment, Atkins et al. (2002) established that there is enough evidence which demonstrates that urban schools in low-income communities are fighting to manage various stressor related to inner-city living. These include poverty, substance abuse, and community violence, which are overwhelming the ability of school to offer suitable educational programming, despite of diminishing educational and financial resources. In addition, with the welfare reform advent, families and schools have been experiencing unusual pressure with diminishing resources. For instance, deficit of quality after-school programs in communities living in inner-city exacerbates poverty’s impact on children, by augmenting parental burden to offer safety to their children.  There is also high rate of prevalence or disruptive behaviors among children in low-income, urban communities, which is said to be about threefold the national estimates, making it recognized as the most weighty mental health issues in these communities (Atkins et al., 2002).  In this analysis Atkins et al., gives a clear picture of the life of student from low socioeconomic status and problems they encounter during their normal living. Other than poverty, their external environment is considerably unhealthy for children growth, and it thus subject these children to a number of social vices. These vices are likely to put them through hard situation where they will sometimes need to fight for their survival. The experience reduces their sensitivity to the rule of law, and hence making it hard for them to obey simple subjective norms such as respect, in a school environment. This can be used to explain the high rate of discipline suspension among children living in low socioeconomics communities. Their environment can also make them easily misjudged or easily engaged in criminal behaviors, while out of school. Thus, with close police monitoring, it is highly likely for school suspended students from this community to encounter with justice system, especially in the course of the week, while serving their school discipline suspension.  

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Different researches assessing the relationship between school discipline penalties and social economic status demonstrated overrepresentation of minority groups and male gender in school discipline cases. According to Raufu (2017), the school discipline administration creates a concern by minority overrepresentation, particularly students from African-American and Latinos. This can be explained by citing racial discrimination against the minority groups as discussed above. This can also be associated with poor socioeconomic status of minority group communities. Mode, Evans and Zonderman (2016) argue that African Americans stand for a disproportionate United States burden of low education and poverty. The African American poverty rate in the United States is at 26%, though only at around 10% for non-Hispanic Whites. In addition, 15% of African Americans contain education below high school level, while only 8% of non-Hispanic Whites fit in this group (Mode, Evans, & Zonderman, 2016). This simply means that majority of Black Americans fall in the category of people in low socioeconomic status and hence, other than racial discrimination or bias which influences teachers’ judgment on their indiscipline behavior, they also fall among those experience harsher treatment due to poverty. This can be used to explain why African American are overrepresented among students experiencing school suspension due to indiscipline, or those referred to juvenile justice system due to persistent indiscipline or serious cases of indiscipline.

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The issue of indiscipline in school among low socioeconomic students resulting to school-to-prison pipeline can be supported by the cultural capital theory in education. According to Bourdieu, schools privilege the dominant cultural capital. This implies that people from the upper and middle classes are highly likely to succeed since they learn from the school and their parent. On the contrary, people from low class are discriminated and harshly judged and punished by the school as demonstrated in this review, in what appear like a strategy of drawing them out of school. They are then piped to the criminal justice system through school indiscipline criminalization that draws them away from the school and more to their community which is characterized by social vices and crimes. In addition to this, students from low socioeconomic society get little chances of learning from their parents, who are always busy trying to fight economic challenges. Thus, people from low class communities are less likely to succeed due to prejudice at school and lack of parental support. 


School-to-prison pipeline is a metaphor that is highly experienced by student among low income communities, especially from the minority racial groups in the United States. This phenomenon illustrates a situation where school indiscipline punishment creates a path for student to encounter with criminal justice system. This situation was highly propagated by enactment of school indiscipline criminalization where schools are permitted to directly or indirectly involve police for offenses done by students at school. Although the policies were meant to govern all students, literature analysis demonstrates a high level of biasness in judging indiscipline behaviors and offering punishment between students from high social class and those from low social class, especially those of minority racial groups. This situation has increased negative attitude toward school discipline system among students of low socioeconomic status, since it is highly discriminative and used to connect majority of Black American youth to criminal justices. This situation eventually results to lengthy involvement with the criminal justice system and decline in the chances of Black American among other students from low socioeconomic status to complete their education and graduate.

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