ISSUES IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

Correctional facilities
Correctional facilities

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ISSUES IN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

Introduction

Correctional facilities like prisons and youth development centers in the California state, are tasked with the responsibility of rehabilitating, deterring, retribution and total incapacitation of individuals who act against social rules and norms (Brust & Ford, 2015). However, this task has often proven to be a challenge to those responsible in the management of these facilities, some of these challenges revolve around resource and budgetary constraints, and are manifested in the rampant cases of overcrowding in facilities, policies that are a threat to public safety, ineffective juvenile rehabilitation programs, and many ethical issues that regard the operation and management of corrections in the state of California (Ouss, 2015).

Due to these and other issues that will be discussed herein, issues of inefficiency and ineffectiveness of corrections are increasingly becoming a concern to many (Brust & Ford, 2015).

Issues in Correctional Facilities in the State of California

The onset of this decade has seen a rise in the number of challenges faced by the authorities of both state and county jails in the state of California, among which includes the prisons of Avenal, Corcoran and kings county jail. The high fluctuation in the number of inmates has for instance been a major issue in Avenal and Corcoran prisons, for example, Avenal prison is reported to have an approximated population of 3216 inmates, which as per the its holding capacity exceeds by around 10%.

This issue has resulted in overcrowding in the facility, and as such, the authorities have been finding difficulty in their efforts to accommodate inmates (Latessa & Smith, 2015). The prison is also reported to have had a case of a population influx that hit 8000, leading to shortage of bed and other accommodation facilities in the prison (Altschuler et al., 2016). Despite the premise that having a high population attracts more state funding, most of these facilities still suffer from poor allocation of these funds (Latessa & Smith, 2015).

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 A worst case scenario in the correctional facilities often occurs during the drought periods, which are marked with limited water supply, this adds on to resource constraints that compels the authorities to give early releases as an alternative (Brust & Ford, 2015). Cases of the early releases are often due to population increase, especially in county prisons, for instance, the criminal justice realignment program sees more inmates being driven from state to county jails, which is done to ease the high population influx by relocating less crime offenders (Ouss, 2015).

On the long run, this results to overcrowding in county jails. This situation is even worsened by the provisions of the Assembly bill 900, which tasks counties with the responsibility of running county prisons (Altschuler et al., 2016).

Early release programs are often adopted to complement the budgetary cuts effected by the state, this result of state and county authorities receiving less funds to run correctional facilities. These early releases have been reported to cause a rise in crime rates in California, as more and more non rehabilitated individuals are released into the streets (Altschuler et al., 2016).

The incapacitation of correction’s authorities has also been a precursor to the ineffective nature of rehabilitation programs, this is primarily because the authorities have a limited ability to provide incentives to prisoners, which is necessary in order to encourage them to subscribe to those programs. The rise in the cases of prison escape may also be attributed to this incapacitation (Brust & Ford, 2015).

Ethical issues in prisons are also a major concern in the running of corrections, for instance, cases of disease outbreak and abuse of prisoners have also been reported to plague the facilities. The outbreak of the valley fever in Pleasant valley and Avenal state prison is an example of the poor ethical consideration in the management of these facilities, the case of sexual abuse in Woodland Hills by authorities is another (Altschuler et al., 2016). The limited ability of the authorities to manage these facilities may also be seen in the high number of drug abuse cases, a good example is that of the 19 prisoners who died from a drug overdose (Brust & Ford, 2015).

Conclusion

Corrections in the state of California are plagued with many Issues and challenges that are becoming a great concern to the public, the ability of these facilities to meet their objectives is also under question (Brust & Ford, 2015). This has mainly been due to the emerging cases of resource constraint, poor ethical considerations, ineffective rehabilitation programs, policies that pose a threat to public safety among many others. It is hoped that a lasting solution will be found to restore the effectiveness and efficiency of the correctional facilities (Latessa & Smith, 2015).

References

Altschuler, D. M., Hussemann, J., Zweig, J., Bañuelos, I., Ross, C., & Liberman, A. (2016). The Sustainability of Juvenile Programs beyond Second Chance Act Funding. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000611-The-Sustainability-of-Juvenile-Programs-beyond-Second-Chance-Act-Funding-The-Case-of-Two-Grantees.pdf

Brust, A., & Ford, S. (2015). Speculating on Gold: A Narrative of Private Corrections in California. Writing. Retrieved from http://sites.duke.edu/bakerscholars/files/2015/04/Speculating-on-Gold-A-Narrative-of-Private-Corrections-in-California.pdf

Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the Community. Routledge. Retrieved from http://216.69.13.12/faculty/Academics/Syllabi%20Spring%202014/CRJ%20203%2045T1%20WSmith%20Spring%202014.pdf

Ouss, A. (2015). Incentives Structures and Criminal Justice. Available at SSRN 2685952: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2685952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685952

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