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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The purpose of prison

In my perspective of view I think that Prisons main purpose is to punish the crime and also try to fix the defections that are in the offender’s character. Sometimes even that we punish the crime and we lock down offenders, and increase incarceration for them, not necessarily will bring result. A lot of inmates adjust their behavior and start feeling very comfortable inside those cells. They are allowed to watch TV, play, run, and sometimes they have even better access to the drugs inside the prison that they will have in the free life. Further, this changes the concept of the punishment. It is not anymore punishment; it is place were they live and eat for free. So they don’t feel crime impose anymore, the crime is something that just happen in the past!?

On the other hand, some prisons don’t have a classification of the inmates at all. Some of prisons keep different crime offenders in the same unit. I am not sure if a classification is possible but I think that someone that committed a first degree murder should be treated different from some one that is locked up for pedophiles, or sexual harassment. Not necessary the punishment to be more aggressive in the time of incarcerating but in the way how we try to deal and rehabilitate them.
On other reason that I don’t agree with the “punishing the crime” without taking a close look in causes that brought that crime to be committed is that, if the offender killed someone trying to protect their family, should not be treated in a same way like a gang member that killed someone for gaining the respect from the others.
I think this should matter not just in the prosecutor’s decision but also in the prisons environment.

However, I think prisons like the ones that we have right now should be decreased in number and serve just for the “worst of the worst”. The money we will gain from decreasing the number of these prisons should be allocated in building more rehabilitating centers, from were the inmates with some defects after the rehab will get back to society as responsible people.

This may be just unrealistic theory but we should think more about the future of those people who get released, because their past will dictate their future in the real life despite the quote that past is something that should be forgotten.


Incarceration is a type of punishment, and punishment is meant to be unpleasant. As a

matter of fact, prison will always be unattractive place for people. It is not something that

will have a good image, it never did. However, this should not mean that all the rights of

the prison should be violated. Prison is a place were trouble makres of society are send,

so the prison can change their behavior. Furthermore the society doesn’t demand that

prison change people for better, so, it is very inhumane and contra productive to leave

the prisons in a worst condition. And not being able to change anything in the inmates

behavior. In this case the blame goes in prison administrators.

Prison as a “total institution” being isolative, most likely is capable to create enclaves which later will serve the purpose of creating a little society inside of the prison (Alarid and Cromwell-Prison Gangs). This society is well organized and has a very complicated hierarchy. That is the reason why it is very hard to prevent the operation of these destructive groups. Also if the illegality that this groups have (they are illegal-and dangerous) it is hard to identify them.

I think that classification of the inmates plays an important role in this society. Different groups that share same “ideology” would get together and play a very important role in the prison society, making the environment very difficult for penetrating sometimes. Gang fights and violence inside the prison was a cause of many death and riots in prison.

Although, environment plays a very important role in the incarceration system, intimidation is the main rules of gang operate inside the prison. While, outside you may be able to avoid this hazard that you got into, in prison sometimes you have no other choice but to join the “club” and start a violent journey even if you have no record of the brutal violence. (Alardi and Cromwell- Prison Violence pp.138)

According to this, environment is very important in the way how the inmates are shaped and prepared to face the challenges that they will meet inside prison and outside too, when they will be released. Furthermore, the environment plays a big role in the psychological aspect of inmates. Although, it believed that repentance is reached trough loneliness and small-dark cells, the results are not very greeted. Many inmates when they are locked up in a small little cell were everything is gray, easy cross the line and get in a deep depression which sometimes brings the inmates to the edge were in affect the committee suicide. On the other hand, the culture that is found in prison is a direct result of deprivation of the prison world. Thus black market, homosexuality are all linked to the deprivation of the autonomy and missing access to the goods and so on.(Pollock, Life in Prison pp.98)

Many of the inmates, especially those who are in a long term sentence, obviously will get adopted to the prison life. Some of them been longer enough in jail, that they don’t have any strong feeling about outside life or freedom. This is the reality for them; this is how they know to live. One of the inmates ( Mike Rolland Alarid, Cromwell) explains that how he is adopted to prison life and brutality that he start worrying how he will act in a free society. The need for adoption to the prison life incredibly high, and there is no other choice. Weakness, and fear are not accepted in the prison society, especially in those prisons were violence and brutality is a daily “entertainment”.

In conclusion, everything matters during the incarceration. Environment, is one of the factors that determinate the inmates behavior during the incarceration. Violence and gang membership plays a very important role in the inmate’s experience. The paradox is that these small gangs joint together not because they want to but because they need a self-protection. The experience that inmates had during the time they join the gang groups it is not something that had been just restored in their memory, it has left a visual effect too(Alarid, Cromwell). Tattoos are some of the visual impact that gang membership made in the inmates life. There is no need to spent time figuring out if someone was a gang member or not there are drawing that will tell you the little sad history ore sometimes full of pride about the gang effect in prisoners.