When the word “corrections” is mentioned, prison is usually the first thing that comes to mind. There are different models of prison, each with its emphasis on different correctional goals. Incarceration rates have been on the rise since the 1980s, and issues with how to administer prisons remain at the forefront of correctional thought.
Consider the first three steps of the Criminal Justice Decision Making Model:
Step One: Define the problem (and the questions that need to be answered): Read the sections titled “The Design and Classification of Prisons,” “Incarceration Trends,” “Prison Society,” “Prison Programs,” and “Violence in Prison.” Discuss the goals of prison: should prison be a place where people simply “do time” for their sentences, or should it be more focused on rehabilitation? What programs do you think are the most effective and why? Discuss how prison life typically operates, and state some of the reasons prison violence typically occurs. Is there a correlation between types of programs offered and violence in prison, and why or why not? How can prison models affect prison life?
Step Two: Gather evidence (laws, policies, procedures, data) and evaluate for relevancy: Research prison populations that exist in your state. Are they currently on the rise or decline, and what might be contributing to the trends you see? What types of rehabilitation programs are offered, and what are the rates of prison violence?
Step Three: Weigh moral considerations and direct and indirect consequences: What are some of the potential consequences of a steadily increasing prison population? What are the consequences of having a model that is more punitive in nature? Of having one that is more rehabilitative? What is the best solution for prisons, and why?
Following Steps 4 and 5 of the Decision Making Model, write a three-page essay in which you discuss the issues involved in prison administration, what the goals of imprisonment should be, and how they might best be accomplished.
Four: Write your position paper, argument, or proposal, using the material above.
Step Five: Balance your position by addressing alternatives and potential pitfalls.