Corrections system Essay

The history of the corrections system: past vs present


            Over the years the corrections system has seen vast changes in its structure and operations which have shifted most of its operations to a modern outlook.  This has mostly been contributed by the dynamics of the modern society which demands changes in approach to effect the goals and objectives of the corrections system.  Notably, the orientation of the justice system towards criminal justice has over the years been forced to shift to new outlooks which do not necessarily confer to the old corrections system ideals (Curt & Anne, 2008).  Besides, there has been increasing global demands from scholars and researchers on appropriateness of the justice system structures in effecting the overall objective of correction. As a result, policies have had to be readdressed as a measure of effecting modern justice operation capacity.  Due to the changing technological advancements with time, various models of structural operations have been assimilated either as a modification of the previous ones or totally new ones altogether (Matt & Peter, 2009).


            Frank & Gordon (1997) points out that corrections system is a government establishment that is responsible for ensuring the correct living environment is available for normal existence and development of the country.  It therefore entails separation of the convicted felons from the general public to ensure enough psychological and physical security to the people.  Corrections systems are established to ensure effective reforms in an individual after being convicted of criminal activities.  It is administered by the US department of Corrections through individual states administration.  The correction system involves the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the US probation service, office of the Courts and the US Parole Commission.  According to the Corrections Act 2004 and correction regulations 2005, the system is meant to offer the following (Matt & Peter, 2009).  Ensuring that the community based and custodial sentences are administered in the most secure, safe, humane, and effective manner to guarantee that the system’s correction objectives are met.  Besides, it is supposed to provide the relevant and effective correction facilities that are supposed to meet the United Nations Minimum Standards for treatment of prisoners.  To add to that, it should offer the correct platform for assisting the offenders in their reintegration to the community.  This entails viewing the offenders as part of the overall society that requires psychological and moral support to reform and get back to the society as better people (Thomas ; Karol, 2000).  Besides, they are supposed to provide the courts and the justice system with the relevant progress reports of the people undergoing reforms necessary for assisting them in making the correct decisions regarding those being corrected.  Therefore, it is an inclusive system that entails careful management and administration to effect the noble task of correcting the convicted people.  Notably, it adheres to the ruling of the court system which directs on the different punitive and rehabilitative systems that an individual may be subjected to.  Besides, they are full units with management and budgetary allocations for their operations.

Origin of the correction system

            Thomas ; Karol (2000) points out that corrections system has a long history in America that traces back to the dark ages of the colonial period.  In early seventeenth century, the dungeon like Fort Amsterdam was erected and used as a prison for different offenders.  However, administration of justice was poor by then and depended on the leaders consideration of what consisted of the offenses.  Most of the convicts included the unruly soldiers, native people who were non-compliant, and debtors who were unable to settle their debts on time.  Notably, there were no rehabilitation systems for these convicts and their imprisonment was entirely dependent on the rulers. By late seventeenth century, these systems were becoming less effective and other systems had to be assimilated due to the high cases of resistance especially from the blacks.  However, the current correction system is considered to be a direct derivative of the mid twentieth century development when correction measures were identified as part of the of the overall system for converting the offenders to better law abiding citizens. New York City Penitentiary on Black wells Island was established with rehabilitation programs that included education on different programs that assist the offenders to reform and easily cope with life after their sentences were over (Cyndi, 2008).

Diversity of the corrections system program

            Notably, the current corrections system addresses many types of crimes that are highly diverse in nature and complexity.  Matt ; Peter (2009) noted that criminal activities over time have shifted from simple defiance of law to complex aspects like terrorism, Drug trafficking, robbery with violence, abuse of intellectual property rights, and drugs abuse.  This has demanded use of complicated systems to detect and bring to justice these criminals.  To effectively articulate corrective mechanisms, it has become necessary to use modern systems to contain the criminals in the society.  According to the pattern theory, criminal activities take place when the correct environment for crime paves way.  It continues to add that once the criminal has been established, preventing crime becomes very hard.  Following this notion, the law has recently assimilated the technique of separating different criminals under correction mechanisms to avoid escalation of especially the hard criminals in the prisons (David et al, 2007).  However, most of the correction mechanisms in the past never appreciated this fact and were accused of failing to effect the much required change to the people.

Recognition and emphasis on human rights

            Notably, recent advancements in recognition of human rights at all spheres of human life has invoked revitalization of the different correction methods and conditions upon which rehabilitation is done to the different offenders.  Since mid 19th century, vast conventions have been held on human rights with special regards to the people behind bars. Notably, US have been championing the campaigns on human rights especially with regard to availability of basic human rights.  Prior to the onset of the last decade of 20th century, over 60% of the convicted people who underwent various corrective systems reactivated back to prisons within ten years of their release (Matt ; Peter, 2009)..  Most of the corrective systems by then were authoritative and accompanied by “military” type of discipline where objections were not welcome.  As a result, the effectiveness of the system was ebbing out with speed.  However, the present corrections systems are highly considerate and treat the offenders with much dignity necessary for reforming them to the highly productive citizens in the society.  Notably, jails and other correction centers are highly hygienic places and food offered at the prisons is of high quality for effective body and mental development.  Though scholars have sharply differed on the punitive measures that would make individuals understand that mistakes they made should never in a lifetime be repeated, it is clear that excess comfort should be addressed.

Cooperation between the corrections systems, research institutions, and public

          Arguably, US is considered to be one of the most democratic state where considerations of freedom are effected without compromise.  Unlike historical periods when most of information was given out by the prisons authorities, the current systems offers strong cooperation between research institutions and the corrective mechanisms necessary to establish the best systems for reforming the offenders.  Of greater importance is the establishment of criminal justice learning systems where researchers are able to interact with the offenders in the different corrective systems to establish these systems effectiveness as well as monitor their progress.  This open system has assisted in establishment of the many prison reforms in the US.  Besides, there is higher cooperation between the corrections system and public which act as the direct watch for the released people from custody (James ; Michelle, 2008).  This assists in making up the necessary follow up and fine-tuning the overall rehabilitation process.  However, as indicated earlier, historical corrective systems were less open and never welcomed external criticism which was viewed as part of the overall strategy to kill the system.

Size and operations considerations

            Over the years, the number of cases being referred for corrections system has massively increased since mid-twentieth century.  By the year 2007, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail, in prison, or in parole.  According to Matt ; Peter (2009), about 1.6 million prisoners were in different federal and state jurisdictions by the middle of the same year.  This has made the country to stretch to the limit and be forced to review the present policy regarding the administration of justice necessary to reduce the overall demands by these programs.  This consideration has seen many states reduce the minimum number of years that an individual is supposed to serve when convicted of various offenses.  According to section 1 of Article three of the US constitution, the federal judges serving in the federal courts have been mandated to review various cases necessary to ensure reduced congestion in the prisons.  Besides, section 2 of article three allows release of people who the court gets convinced that have reformed fully.  This provision was however absent in the past systems where most of the people had to finish their sentences giving no room for anomalies.  This made most of the jails to be extremely congested (Cyndi, 2008).

            Following this notion, the US government has increasingly adopted use of technology in management of these correction systems.  Monitoring systems has assimilated digital operations using special computer models and automated detectors to ensure cohesion and better coordination between various prisons.  Due to this coordination, criminal records are easily accessible to all the justice and correction system in the country (James, 2008).  Besides, it is also made available to all of the government departments.  This has made it possible to easily investigate cases, make the correct ruling and subject offenders to justice with speed.  To add to that, tracing cases of recidivism has been greatly simplified.  Previously, most of the considerations were done manually which made it hard to effect justice with time.

Sensitivity to the people under correction and the community

            Currently, the federal bureau of prisons has been mandated to establish any form of relationship with various private or public institution and organizations to ensure faster rehabilitation of the offenders.  This has made it possible to house the juvenile offenders away from the hard criminals while supplying special psychological counseling to them.  Besides, it has also linked with different private prisons to offer their services to state since the present ones are currently inadequate. To add to that, it has taken special consideration by fully enacting all the demands of CARE Act which recognizes that women inmates require greater care than men due to their biological nature (Stephen et al, 2004).  The modern corrections system’s special address to issues of HIV and AIDS has reduced the overall number of people succumbing to effects of the pandemic.  Through routine checks, effective counseling, and provision of enough preventative and curative therapy, it has been possible to keep these conditions at bay.  To add to that, the initiative assists in protecting the individuals while reducing spread of the same diseases to the public.  Besides, this cooperation between corrections system and private sector has gone a step further by providing the much needed extended help to the system in making the released to adapt to the new lives much easily (Cyndi, 2008).  CARE Act assists women to re-integrate with the society by offering holistic support to them.  Such a system was unheard off in the past as the authorities viewed the convicts like outcasts who were supposed to be rejected by the community.  Women survival in different correction centers was very poor.  For those who survived, their ability to get back and assimilate their previous lives was greatly reduced.


            Correction systems in the society have metamorphosed with time owing to changes in governance, technology, globalization, and ethical considerations.  The Federal department of correction has assimilated an open system which has been envied by many states and nations.  The notion of the daily rise in the numbers of convicts requiring to go through the correction system has made the Department of Corrections to open up to new models of solving the problem.  Integrating the community with the operation system of the correction systems through research and community rehabilitation systems has added weight to the system making it much superior compared to the older system.  However, the current criminals are borne of generation X and Y which require faster advancement in technology to deal with the present problems (Majbritt, 2008).  To add to that, the state should establish policies that emphasis on assimilation back of the offenders after the correction period as it determines the ability to rekindle previous demands that had made the offender to be convicted.  Of greater importance, is the need to address the problem holistically and ensure that the new systems are not loop holed to give more criminals.  Finally, recidivism should be addressed by extending the monitoring system for longer periods.

Reference list

Curt, R. & Anne, M. (2008).  Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application.    Los Angeles: Clifford and Clifford Publishing Inc.

Cyndi, B. (2008). Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. New York: Sage Publications,   Inc.

David, C., Kevin, I., Rick, R. & Betsy, A. (2007). Corrections and the Criminal Justice System Chicago:  Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Frank, S. & Gordon, M. (1997). Crime and the justice system in America: an encyclopedia. New           Jersey:  Greenwood Publishing Group.

James, M. & Michelle, L. (2008). The Handbook of Social Policy. New York: Sage Publications,            Inc.

James, C. (2008). Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework.          New York: Sage Publications, Inc.

Majbritt, L. (2008).  Peace Operations and International Criminal Justice: Building Peace After            Mass Atrocities. San Francisco: Taylor & Francis.

Matt, D. & Peter, J. (2009). American Corrections: Theory, Research, Policy, and Practice.        Washington: Jones & Bartlett Pub.

Stephen, S., Wayne, G. & Gordon, A. (2004). Living in prison: a history of the correctional        system with an insider’s view. New Jersey: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Thomas, G. ; Karol, L. (2000). American penology: a history of control. London: Aldine           Transaction.