Authored by Danielle Watson

Changes in Community Corrections

Correctional facilities are essential in every society since they help in ensuring that the population is at peace since wrongdoers are locked up in these centers. Therefore, they provide the exclusion of offenders from the community and their rehabilitation. The Division of Corrections and Sentencing of the American Society of Criminology has been at the forefront in advocating for changes in correctional facilities to come up with new practices that suit the twenty-first century. This essay aims to evaluate both variations in the correctional population and philosophies, as well as their impacts. Changes in the Community Corrections Population Placing More Inmates in Private Prisons Unlike in the past when federal prisons in the United States had the capacity to hold quite a massive number of detainees, the present situation is different. There are more criminals to the extent that prisons are overcrowded, and the only way out is to seek alternative facilities where inmates can be redistributed to ease congestion. Therefore, in this case, the use of private places has been embraced as a way of complementing overcrowded federal correctional institutions in the United States. The number of inmates held in such facilities under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons has increased rapidly since 1980. The main reason for the overpopulation of detainees is a result of the fact that at the end of their sentence many of them are placed in residential reentry centers (RRCs). The authorities have realized that it is cheaper to use private facilities since they can provide similar services with the only concern being that those in such institutions may have a higher rate of drug abuse as compared to those in federal prisons. Alternatives to Incarceration In the previous decades, as a way of decongesting prisons, the states used various alternatives for incarceration with probation being one of them. In this case, it was utilized for those offenders whose crime did not deserve a very severe punishment. However, in modern times, a lot has changed, and sentiments have pointed to the fact that while some offenses are too sensitive to be placed on probation, they cannot warrant incarceration. For this reason, the United States Congress has passed laws that permit other punishment fitting into the category between incarceration and probation, namely, electronic monitoring, house arrest, boot camps, intensive supervision, fines, split sentences, community service and day reporting centers. Sentence Reduction As a way of reducing the ever growing number of inmates, the Bureau of Prisons acts pursuant to the law of the United States 18 U.S.C. §3582(c), which has mandated to reduce the sentence of prisoners. This category includes those that have attained the age of 70 years and have served at least 30 years of their sentence provided that they do not show any signs of being a threat to the safety of society. This approach is an effort to bring parity to the inmate-staff ratio, as well as to lower the federal prison system operational cost that has been recorded to be $7.479 billion in FY 2016 as compared to $330 million as of FY 1980. The measure has helped in the lowering of the cost of looking after and nursing the elderly and the chronically ill, who cannot participate in revenue generation in prisons. Changes in Correctional Philosophies Federal Probation The Division of Corrections and Sentencing of the American Society of Criminology has embraced evidence-based practice that implies using science to comprehend and demystify the usefulness of correctional programs. Federal probation is an approach that has been adopted in the United States and is founded on effective practice of reducing recidivism. For it to attain its objective, it has coined risk, needs, and responsivity (RNR) model in its correction practices. To embrace the latter, the federal authorities had to develop the post-conviction risk assessment instrument (PCRA) helping officers to categorize offenders into different levels and point out those likely to recidivate during their supervision period. The risk level has fallen from 34.9% to 30.7%. 58,524 offenders were put under PCRA assessment in 2013. Those supervised and released were 85% with the male population comprising 84.3%. Regarding race, 57.2% were whites, 36.6% were blacks, while other races formed 23.9%. The mean age of offenders was 39. Regarding policy override on offenses, sex criminals recorded the highest percentage of 76.6, while those violating public order amounted to 3.5%. The system has helped to achieve the use of minimal resources and time. Rehabilitation Justice Correctional institutions have embarked on using science to identify “what works,” and this has led to the development of new philosophies such as crime control and retribution, as well as fairness in punishment. Ohio is one of the states that have embraced the rehabilitation policy as the best alternative to incarceration. Through this system, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has achieved a significant reduction of the crime rate in the entire state. It has enshrined the culture of working with the community to achieve the smooth and efficient integration of offenders back into society. Both offender recidivism and crime rates went down by 28.7% in 2014 and outdid their last achievement of 27.1% in 2013. The population affected is described below. The demographics of the state criminal system recorded the North Central Correctional Complex as a private institution with the highest number of offenders amounting to 2,705, while the Ohio State Penitentiary had 424 inmates. However, the Hocking Correctional Complex did not have any newly registered offenders in that year indicating a positive tendency of a decrease in recidivism and crime. The number of males under rehabilitation was 10,364, while there were 2,818 females. Blacks were the majority recording 6,972 men and 501 women, while Asians were represented by fifteen men and two women. The age bracket of 40-44 was the most common with ladies being 247, while males were 1,556. The elderly over 80 years recorded only four male prisoners. Regarding the type of the felony committed, the third degree was at the top with 4,915 men and 723 women. Crimes against persons were leading registering 4,470 males and 475 females. It shows that despite a positive tendency of the reduction of recidivism and crime, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction still needs the use of rehabilitation programs to decrease these figures further. Many changes have been witnessed in correctional institutions, and all are aimed at ensuring that the increasing rate of crime is dealt with in a more effective manner. The issue of congestion in prisons has led to the use of private facilities, which complement federal ones under the Bureau of Prisons. Other measures such as the reduction of prisoners’ sentence have helped in decongestion, while the introduction of alternatives to incarceration and probation have assisted in calming the sentiments from the public that some crimes that are too severe for probation have not warranted incarceration. Correctional philosophies have also shifted from the punishment of the individual to the reforming of society to prevent the escalation of crime. In Ohio, rehabilitation justice has been a success lowering the crime rate in the state. Federal probation in the United States has helped in ensuring that offenses and the probability of recidivism are reduced. This material was prepared by Danielle Watson, who is a talented writer at She likes to depict her thoughts on the paper.

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