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Correctional facilities play a vital role in the administration of justice. Traditionally, the prison systems have been used in deter the criminals from committing crime and reform them. The architectural design of the prison is an important factor that plays a vital role in the prison management and the entire administration of justice (Jacobson, 2005).
The prisons have to be designed in a manner that will increase the access of the prison administrators to the inmates and increase the chances of the administration deterring the occurrence of any issues (Jacobson, 2005). Therefore, the administration plans and the correctional policies have to be factored in in the entire process of the development of the correctional facilities. How the architectural design contributes to the deterrence of the criminal activities and the implementation of the overall correctional facilities goals is the mantra in the design of the modern prisons.
One of the issues that plague the correctional officers is the inconsistency in terms of the incarceration goals. There are two divides when it comes to the correctional or incarceration goals. The first group of the prison warders and administrators purports that the prison systems have the sole goal of punishing the offenders. This group purports that the offenders have to be punished in any way possible. The group tends to make the stay of the prisoners in the department as detrimental as possible.
The group hopes to create the ordeals of the prisoners as detrimental as possible. In most of the cases, the proponents of the position often resort to the deliberate infringement of the rights of the inmates (Jacobson, 2005). The second side of the debate is concerned with the overall outcomes of the inmates. This group seeks to create a more sustainable change through the impartation of the skills and rehabilitation of the behavior of the inmates.
The two philosophies about the prison systems often end up affecting the architectural designs. The paper will focus on the modern design of the prisons that seeks to increase the changes and rehabilitation outcome in the inmates.
In order to design the correct facilities, it is important to reevaluate the history of the designs of the prisons and come up with the insights of the historical designers. The reference to the original prison design will help in the understanding of the motivations behind design and the revealing conditions of the time. It will also lead to the understanding of the main goals of incarcerations most of which are still relevant even in the modern day.
Incarceration of the inmates has been an ongoing process and it has been run for as long as the man has been civilized (Jacobson, 2005). Some of the means of incarcerations included crude means such as the use of cages and dungeons. The old prisons were designed to use the abandoned places that the common citizens were less likely to use. Some of the places used were dungeons, abandoned quarries and castles.
The oldest prison system was constructed in the sewer systems of Rome. The running goal in the adoption of the places as prisons was the absolute segregation of the inmates from the civilized members of the community. The jail systems were less concerned with the rehabilitation of the inmates on the contrary; it was more about the solution of the social issues that faced the community such as the increased number of crimes. The aim of punishing the members was also the most predominant information in the prison systems design of the early days.
Structures that were previously used for other goals were usually converted to be the prisons for the communities. There was a need for the maintenance of the highest levels of security in order to safeguard the prisoner that were increasing by day. The castles became the natural prisons whereby the lower rooms of the prison system were used for the confinement of the inmates (Jacobson, 2005). Large forts such as bastille in France were used for the incarcerations of the inmates.
Christian churches started contracting the prisons for the incarceration of the wrongdoers in place of mutilation and death penalties (Jacobson, 2005). This was the first time that the prison designed for the human incarceration were constructed. The church contracted the prisons since they thought that the incarceration would cultivate penitence among the wrongdoers. The focus of the church was to ensure that there was not comfort of the prisons.
Proposed design of the prison
The design of the prison will merge the goals of punishment with the rehabilitation hence creating a bridge between the two aspects. The prison will be designed to meet the standard of the maximum-security prisons. It will be holding inmates that have been convicted of the murder. The life sentences served in the prison will range from 5 years to life. The prison will be designed to hold the male convicts.
The prison will comprise of six blocks that will be built in from of a hexagon. The middle ground will be used as a common ground for the exercise and the games (Jacobson, 2005). The five blocks will each be three stories. Classification of the blocks will be based on the security needs. One block will be used for the administration block, sanatorium and the visiting areas. At each corner of the prison, there will be a watchtower that will have sentries stationed with orders to shot to kill any inmate that will try to escape the prison.
The yard will also be divided according to the inmates that will be using it. This means that there will be no contact of the inmates in the yard. The move to reduce the contact of the inmates in the yard is informed by the need to reduce confrontation that occur in the prison system. Limited contact between the inmates will also make the administration and management of the crow easier since the members of the different blocks will be managed individually by the officers in charge of the blocks. The reduction of the interactions will also help in abetting the illegal business and dealing in the wings (Jacobson, 2005).
The issue of the contraband materials will be reduced since the occurrence of any of the issues will be unique to any of the cell blocks. Each block will have a part of the yard, which will be protected using the high chain link fence fixed with the razor wire and electric fence on the top. There will be a buffer path between the walls of each part of the fence to limit communication between the members of the different cell blocks. The path will be one meter long. During the times when the inmates are out on the yard, the wardens will be operating the paths to ensure that there is no communication between the inmates from the different blocks.
The paths will also be connecting the administration block to the individual blocks. The only time that the inmates will be walking through the paths is when they are moving in to the cell blocks or moving out. The paths will also be used by the lawyers and other civilians going to the execution room located in the life sentence and death sentence inmates. The paths will be the only rousts of getting out of the prison. Therefore, the sentries located at the towers will be able to notice any movement and deter the escapes.
Individual cells will be designed separately in a different location and transported to the site for the installation in the prison (Jacobson, 2005). Prefabrication of the cells will use the steel rods set five inches apart. The prefabricated cell will be installed in the prison and filled with concrete such that the steel bars form the skeleton of the cell. The toilet and the beds will also be fitted in the prefabrication site. The goal of adopting this approach is the reduction of the movable parts. It also ensures that the inmates are not capable of drilling through the walls and escaping.
The windows of the prison cells will be fitted facing the outside wall of the individual prison. There will be two rows of cells on each floor. The cells will be measuring 6 by 8 feet. The individual cell will be used for the holding of two inmates at any time. The beds will be fixed to the frame of the cells. Therefore, there will be minimal movement of the beds.
Internal control measures will be installed at each room such that every cells has a mentoring camera that will be used sparingly in the event that the cell block has some disturbances. The cells block will also be fitted with cameras that will be used to monitor any movement in the corridors (Roth, 2006). There will be different control rooms for each cell block that will be used for the monitoring of the individual blocks. The switch room will be used for the locking an opening of each doors. The corridors will be divided using metal grills.
This design will ensure that the disturbances in the cells are controllable by sections. The cell blocks will have once central control center that will be located at the end (Jacobson, 2005). The gates to the control room will also be installed at the end making it impossible for the inmates to access it. The space in the center of the cells will be fitted with the exercise machines to be used by the inmates that will be unwilling to go outside the cells. On one end of the cells blocks, there will be different kitchens and dining areas.
The ideal location of the prison will be on a harsh environment such as a desert of in a deserted area. The seclusion of the prison will be incremental in the deterrence of escape plans. It will also serve as a protection of the members of the neighboring communities from being exposed to the prison. Another design strategy that will be used in the deterrence of the escape is the perimeter wall. The prison will be surrounded by a ten feet perimeter wall. The wall will be fitted with an electric fence.
The base of the wall will have an additional security measure in form of raze wire that will be raised from the ground and extending away from the wall. At the entrance into the no entry zone, there will be another watchtower for the inmates moving out of the predestined area.
Capacity of the facility
The facility will be used to house 500 inmates. The inmates in the rest of the cell blocks apart from the death row inmates will be sharing the rooms (Jacobson, 2005). The death row block will also be fitted with solitary cells that will be used for the incarceration of the troublesome inmates. At each block, there will be a bloc warden whose job will be the administration of the block. He will be assisted by 30 officers that will be operating each block.
A single block will be hosting 100 inmates. The death row block will handle fifty inmates when fully occupied. Whenever there is an issue at one of the blocks, the officers will be shifted to address it. Therefore, there will not be an issue of the inmates overpowering the officers. Most of the wardens attached to the death row bloc will be rotated to the other parts of the prison since the block will not be fully occupied in most of the times. The secluded approach to the death row inmates will reduce the need for monitoring. Therefore, the officers will not be as occupied with the inmates in the section.
Costs of running the establishment
Costs of running the prison will be dependent on a different factor such as the inflation and the number of inmates that will be housed in the facility at the time (Jacobson, 2005). In order to budget well, the calculation of the costs will entail the more fixed part of the costs such as the salaries of the permanent employees and the utilities.
There will also be costs that will be contingent on the number of inmates in the prison. The costs will also vary according to the cost management approaches used (Jones, 2006). For instance, in the cells meant for two people, there should be no instance when they are occupied by a single person. Therefore, the cells will have to use to the full capacity in order to reduce the costs that arise from the under utilization of capacity (Jacobson, 2005).
The fixed costs of running the facility will be four million per year. This cost comprises of the salaries to the administrators and wardens, utilities and sundries. The sundries comprise of the total costs of other expenses (Jacobson, 2005). The costs that can be directly traced to the inmates include the inmate’s medical care, food and rehabilitation activities. There will also be additional costs depending on the number of inmates that are executed.
The inmates medical care has fixed and variable component. The fixed component is accounted for in the fixed costs of operation. The costs of the medical care per patient will be 300 dollars per year. The inmates feeding programs will assume the highest proportion of the costs with the inmates consuming over 3000 dollar per years. These costs will add up to 3300 dollars. The costs will be sourced directly from the government (Wagner, 2001). However, some of the programs that the inmates will be undertaking will be income generating hence the reduction of the costs.
Rehabilitation of the inmates will be the cardinal goal of the prison. Therefore, there will be programs meant to increase the value of the employees to the society once they have served their time. One of the rehabilitation program is the education programs. Most of the inmates that will be incarcerated will have minimal education. In order to increase the value of the inmates, they will be encouraged to join the education system (Jones, 2006).
The system will entail the use of distance learning whereby the inmates will be learning on their own issues to do with the courses that they would like to undertake. The only course that the prison system will be receiving is the high school education (McShane, 2008). The majority of the inmates will not have attained the required qualifications in their high school. Most of them are dropouts from junior high. In order to increase the value of the inmates to the society, the prison will encourage them to take the high school course and increase their chance of getting better lives. The inmates that will indicate interest in the education will be assigned duties in the library to ensure that they have more time for their studies.
Another rehabilitation program will entail teaching the inmates some of the useful vocational skills. The institution will teach the inmates how to repair vehicles, masonry and woodwork. The successful involvement of the inmates in the vocational courses will lead to the development of the inmate’s capability to adapt to the life in the society. The inmates will also be involved in the repairs of the government installations and vehicles. The funds raised from the involvement of the inmates in the activities will be used in lessening the costs of running the institution.
The organization of the prison will be dependent on the design laid out before. The top manager of the institution will be the chief warden. He will be in charge of daily running of the prison. He will also be the liaison between the organization and the external world. The role of the warden will be day to day running of the instruction, the seeking of funds to manage the institution, the hiring and firing of the wardens and provision of the direction to the organization.
The warden will be selected based on a history in the criminal justice system. The skills set for the warden include good negotiation skills, understanding of the law and criminology and the ability to offer managerial guidance to an institution. The professional qualification of the warden includes a degree in criminology, law or any other social science sector relevant to the administration of justice. Immediately underneath him will be the deputy warden who will be in charge of the operations and security (McShane, 2008).
The qualifications of the deputy warden will lean more to the security related issues. A person that has been in the correctional system as junior officer and rose through the ranks will be desirable. The next officials will be the wardens in charge of the blocks. These wardens will be the actual people on the ground. The administration will be advised by a board of advisors who will comprise of the chief medical officer, the chief psychologist, the priest or spiritual leader and an external observer from the department of justice.
Jacobson, M. (2005). Downsizing prisons. New York and London: New York University Press.
Jones, D. (2006). Humane prisons. Oxford: Radcliffe.
McShane, M. (2008). Prisons in America. El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub. LLC.
Roth, M. (2006). Prisons and prison systems. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Wagner, M. (2001). How should prisons treat inmates?. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press.
With the rising crime rates in many states today, several ways of reducing these rates must be sought. The criminal justice system’s mandate is to ensure that the public is safe from lawlessness. In this light, many criminal justice practitioners are looking at ways for enhancing their mandate, Senna (1978). This is important since the security of the country is as valuable as the economic development. Without security, it will be difficult to achieve the latter. One of the strategies imposed by the criminal justice system is the use of community-based correction practices that include incarceration. This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of incarceration.
The first advantage of incarceration is the fact that prison helps the society as it removes criminals off the streets. This therefore, reduces considerably the threat that is posed to the rest of the society by the criminals as they cannot be able to commit any offence when they are locked up in prison (Cole, 2008). Children and mothers can therefore, be safe from these malicious persons that are out to harm them. Further, in the correction centers, through early intervention, chances for a repeat crime are reduced as the offenders are taken through counseling sessions (Alarid, 2013).
The second advantage is the fact that incarceration often helps in ensuring that persons are corrected and they are able to gain valuable life skills from the prison. There are several hard criminals that have gone through the correction system and have turned up to be responsible persons in the society (Cole, 2008). The incarceration gives the person time to think about what they have done, why it is wrong and how they can change into better people. Therefore, the incarceration eventually helps in rehabilitating persons that would have otherwise gone rogue if they were not incarcerated. They are therefore, given a second chance of life and another shot at it.
Thirdly, incarcerated persons often provide free labor for the government and the community in general. They are often used to clean the streets and develop several artifacts, in this way, they are able to gain valuable life skills together with manual skills that help them when they get outside to gain a living that is honest and truthful. The incarcerated persons are therefore, taught to be responsible and this only happens through this effective justice system where incarceration exists.
One of the most notable disadvantages is the fact that not all offenders are rightfully in jail. This is a known fact, and both the authorities and the general public know it. Some of these offenders should be out in the society rather than idling around in jail. Community service with counseling from the practitioners will go a long way in ensuring that the society achieves both justice and development at the same time (Alarid, 2013). The society holds a different view to this proposition by the community-based practitioners. It is not easy for the society to accept a convicted offender back into society. The society views the offender as an outcast and other members of the society find it hard to work side by side with them. Sometimes these are innocent persons that were put in jail for the wrong reason. This is especially worse if the incarceration involves capital punishment or life imprisonment (Cole, 2008).
Another disadvantage is the cost that is often associated with incarceration. The costs incurred in running a prison system, such as the one in America, are exorbitantly high. However, these costs have continued to be ignored by almost all the sitting governments. Consequently, the American tax payers are continuously being burdened by this unnecessary expense. Apart from incurring the tax payers’ additional revenue, the system also failed to curb the levels of crime within the U.S. This is so because the number of U.S prisoners is estimated to be almost ten times more than it was in the past forty years (Alarid, 2013).
Presently, there are over 2 million prisons being held within the U.S prison system. These numbers have even surpassed those of China’s prisoners considered that China’s population is greater than that of the U.S by over a one billion margin. Additionally, the ratio of prisoners to officers has continued to be disproportional as the numbers of prisoners are more than those of police officers (Senna, 1978). This has allowed U.S prisons to provide dilapidated and inhumane conditions to its prisoners in turn, there are increasing incidences of violence and sexual assaults within the prisons.
This is an obvious hint that the U.S prison system is dysfunctional as more and more petty crime offenders are finding themselves being locked up. In all America, there were only five private prisons in 1990.Currently, there are more than one hundred such prisons. Indeed this is scary because there is a necessary demand for prisoners because of more space that has been created. There has been a substantial growth in the private prison sector to a forty billion dollar annually from the industry (Alarid, 2013). They base the stock prices on number of people that have been locked up .There has been in the last twenty years no substantial rise in the use of drugs. However, there has been an almost six times increase in the number of convicted drug users. It leaves one wondering how an institution exists through making direct profits from incarceration of human beings. It is puzzling indeed because most of the private prisons force prisoners to make goods which are later sold for profit. Prisoners are left with only two choices; work for a few cents per hour or be taken to solitary confinement. For the private prisons, this is great because the prisoners lack freedom to strike, or even taking their employers to courts because of wrongdoings. Truly this is a form of modern slavery where individuals are treated as property and a way of making money.
Another disadvantage of incarceration is the fact that less than one third of one million state prisoners are the only ones that have committed violent crimes.16% of the two million prisoners in the country suffer from mental illness. This means therefore that there is a clear abuse of the criminal justice system. There is something wrong when America has twenty five percent of world’s prison population and only five percent of its total population.
There has been definitely a rise in the prison population. However, it is imperative to understand that the rise in population numbers in the United States has not been as a result of more murders, rapes or even violence; however courts have been sentencing more and more offenders into prison each and every year. In order to understand whether or not prison really works, there is a need to look at the re-offending rates. Statistics show that short term prisoners are three times more likely to commit crimes as compared to those that were released after going to prison for two years or more. However, the shocking part about prison is the fact that offenders who have served less than 12 months, the re-offending rate often stands 60%. This therefore, means that prison does not work especially when it comes to aggressively incarcerate high risk offenders.
Therefore, it can be seen from the above statistics that indeed the correctional practice of incarceration does not help in the saving of lives or even make the society a better place. This is because there are many offenders who re-offend and get back to prison. This essentially beats the reason as to why there are prisons and goes to show that prisons are just but a waste of precious resources.
In conclusion, incarceration has both its advantages as well as disadvantages. The first advantage is the fact that it is able to clear the streets of negative elements that would otherwise make the society unsafe for normal law-abiding citizens. Another advantage of incarceration is the fact that it is able to rehabilitate the offenders and give them another shot at life. However, there also exists some disadvantages; the first is the fact that there are times that persons that incarcerated in the prisons can be innocent. Secondly, the costs that are related to incarceration are extremely high. Thirdly, studies have shown that the re-offending rate increases with persons that have been previously incarcerated.
Senna, J. J., Siegel, L. J., & Libby, T. J. (1978). Introduction to criminal justice. St. Paul: West Pub. Co..
Alarid, L. F. (2013). Community-based corrections. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Cole, G. F., & Smith, C. E. (2008). Criminal justice in America. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
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