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The Community Policies on Rehabilitation and Punishment

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As far back as the 19th century, prison life has been around. However, back then the correctional system was not focused on the rehabilitation of its prisoners. More so, on the punishment that would be handed down to them, as they await their time to come in a prison. All the way in 1896, a warden suggested having prisoners be apart of work programs in order to maintain their sanity and to help them keep from being destructive. He stated that “Convicts during confinement need constant employment to keep from destruction and degradation.”

Work programs were intended to keep prisoners mentally healthy and busy. Then, this was considered a simple but practical form of rehabilitation and has actually existed since the Cañon City’s principal prison. In addition, early rehabilitation programs extended beyond just time consuming and economically productive labor but into education for the inmates. The Colorado State penitentiary was amongst the first to start a night school, for the inmates who have a record of good behaviour. The program’s purpose was straightforward. It was built to provide inmates with the skills they would need after they returned to ordinary society, where literacy and math were key to employment. While the main thoughts and plans of rehabilitation have stayed the same, a close examination has since revealed key changes in the language of penal rehabilitation. First and foremost, rehabilitation has become more and more of a mechanism to prevent recidivism and less for the direct improvement of the inmate. A century ago prevention of recidivism was not an explicit rehabilitative agenda.

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Parole vs Mandatory Release

The difference between parole and mandatory release is the determining factor of granting release from prison. Discretionary parole is determined by a parole board as well as the length of sentence to be served. Conditions are set if the convict is granted release and he or she serves the remainder of the sentence in the community under supervision. Mandatory release or mandatory parole replaces the indeterminate sentence with a mathematical computation. Mandatory release takes into consideration good-time served in prison with the amount of total time incarcerated to calculate a release date. The release is conditional in both discretionary and mandatory parole and the parolee will be sent back to prison for failure to comply with parole conditions. Expiration of sentence is applied to those who serve the entire sentence incarcerated and usually are released without conditions. The current parole process could be better served if funding was more abundant. Unfortunately the correction systems resources are limited creating limited solutions to the parole process. Mandatory parole is the release of a prisoner before completing the term of imprisonment. The prisoner may have to follow certain special conditions laid down by the parole granting authority to be released on mandatory parole.

Probation

Probation is considered an alternative sentence to jail time or incarceration at a prison. However, it is still considered a punishment, in which is given out as a part of a sentence, thus meaning, that instead of incarcerating the person convicted of a crime, the judge will order that the person reports to a probation officer on a regular basis and according to their set schedule. Probation could be considered a better option compared to other forms of sentencing because it could allow for people who might be first time offenders, to continue on with their normal lives while still being punished. Although there are still stipulations, the person who has been convicted still gets to walk free, and be apart of society, all the while still reporting to their assigned probation officer, and sometimes this also includes drug testing, or other mandatory meetings and classes.

Community Corrections

Community corrections programs oversee offenders outside of jail or prison, and are administered by agencies or courts with the legal authority to enforce sanctions. Community corrections include probation, correctional supervision within the community rather than jail or prison time and parole, a period of conditional, supervised release from prison. (‘National Institute Of Justice ‘, 2018). These are all viable options in comparison to other forms of sentencing, as it allows for a prisoner to be released early or on time served, and continue on with their everyday normal routine, under certain stipulations.

Improving the System

Parole is when a prisoner gets released from prison early and do not finish serving out the entirety of their prison sentence. A parolee however, remains under the supervision of their parole officer and typically has to follow and comply with a set of behavioural conditions. As far as our current parole system is, in the United States, it ruins smoothly in the way that it operates, however the travel permission, needed to travel from state to state every time you want to go somewhere, I think is a little much. I understand needing permission to travel internationally, but not state to state. For example, some people live close to other state lines and they may need to drive into that state for something small, yet they need permission. That is the only thing I would fix. Much like parole, probationers are supervised and must comply to set rules and conditions by the court if they sentenced to probation rather than serving time in jail or prison. They are to report to their probation officer, are but constantly threatened with the intent of any minor issue that violates their probation, they could end up back in jail and or prison. For example, a person on probation must obtain and keep employment, sometimes required to be apart of education programs and they even have to stay away from bad influences, this can include their family as well. Anyone who can get them into trouble, just by being around their presence. That is something I would critique about probation. It is not really fair that someone else could jeopardize one’s freedom, when it comes to bad presences. For example, what if someone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, maintaining and following all the rules but one person could put all that at risk. I feel that as if someone is doing everything they should be doing on probation, following all the rules set forth by the courts and their probation officer, that should play a big role in whether or not they are in violation. Lastly, community corrections are already a good thing standing amongst the correctional standpoint. These are all viable options as a form of sentencing and punishment, as long as the crime is not severe enough. Depending the convicted persons history and priors with the law, they could be sentenced to probations, community service or any of the plausible punishments without having to be incarcerated.

Conclusion

There are vast arrays and options for sentencing and rehabilitating an inmate. It is important that, that is exactly what is the main priority when it comes to housing or releasing an inmate. It does no one any good to just simply house and ensure an inmate is taken care of at the bare minimum standards, required by the state. It is essential that inmates or release inmates are offered every chance at bettering themselves to become a model citizen.

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