As the name suggests, ‘correctional facilities’ are meant to rehabilitate the members of society who fall short of societal expectations in major ways. The facilities are, in other words, meant to correct people who break the law in big ways. Unfortunately, and as many of us are aware, the correctional facilities are not always effective in this role. Cases abound where people go to prison as petty criminals, and come out as big-time criminals. Correctional facilities are meant to make people better. But cases abound, where correctional facilities actually make people worse. Thus, a question arises as to what can be done, to ensure that correctional facilities are effective.
In my view, in order to make correctional facilities more effective, we need to ensure that the only people in these facilities are those who (truly) deserve to be there. Petty offenders can be rehabilitated in other ways. The whole idea of mass incarceration needs to be done away with. The concept of mass incarceration is probably an off-shoot of the private prisons phenomenon. One can only be grateful that the whole concept of private prisons is being done away with. It was almost getting to a ridiculous level: where a fellow could simply go to the Sunbiz website, proceed to make a Sunbiz fictitious name filing and then go ahead to establish a private prison based on a www.sunbiz.org registration! We hadn’t quite gotten there, but if the private prisons phenomenon went on for a few more years, that is where we’d have ended. To my mind, there are certain services that are better not privatized: and the correctional service is definitely one of those.
Further, in order to make correctional facilities more effective, we need to ensure that corruption is minimized. If you have a situation where inmates can bribe the correctional officers for a comfortable stay in prison, then it gets very tricky.
Further still, in order to enhance the effectiveness of correctional facilities, we need to ensure that the people who run these facilities are well trained. Currently, the focus seems to be on the aspect of security. That is the aspect of ensuring that the inmates remain behind the bars — you know, things like minimizing jailbreak incidents, and not on the rehabilitative aspect.