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The history of correctional institutions is well-documented. Correctional institutions (jails and prisons) house individuals who are awaiting trial, serving both short and long term sentences. Correctional officers are responsible for the monitoring, treatment and supervision of individuals who have been found guilty by a court of law.

For this assignment, we will take you inside a look at the "2016 Most Violent Prison".

Answers to the following questions

  1. Describe the main methods Sergeant Baldwin and his staff use to maintain order and safety in the prison. Take a position on the effectiveness, risks, pros and cons, and ethics of these methods.
  1. Choose one (1) of the inmates profiled in this video – Terry Dibble, Simkayta Winfield, Jerico Jones, or Gregory Crowder – and discuss their situation. Explain how they ended up at Statefield, the main issues they described facing, and the methods they use to cope with their time in prison.
  1. Discuss the effect you feel the presence of the active armed guards has on the violence level and overall safety within this prison.
  1. Describe the issue of isolation in Statesville presented in this video and the effects connections and contact with outside visitors can have on the prisoners’ mental status.
  1. Identify at least two (2) issues that gay inmates here uniquely face as well as at least one (1) method of protecting gay inmates against each of these identified issues.
  1. Take a position on how you believe conditions at Statefield could be improved. Include at least two (2) specific actions that could be taken to improve conditions (i.e. security and safety, abuse and use of force, isolation, poor food quality, etc.). Provide a rationale for your position.

Lockdowns and their effectiveness in maintaining order

One of the main methods that Sergeant Baldwin applies to ensure that order and safety is maintained is through keeping the inmates on lockdown. Through this, the prisoners remain locked up in the prison cells with no ability to freely move around or outside the cell periphery. During periods that the situation becomes unmanageable, it is thus applied as a measure to fully contain the prisoners, since it makes the prisoners tone down. Moreover, the method is also best applicable where there are potential threats as it helps to contain such risks as well.

Despite the fact that it can be best applicable to contain various situations, it is not an effective method as per the correctional standards of the facility. According to Simkayta Winfield, one of the inmates at the prison, during the lockdown, they find themselves missing much as well as idle around without doing anything to keep them engaged.

As per Sergeant Baldwin’s analysis, completely locking off the prisoners from the society renders them hopeless hence being of more threat to the general public and the community at large. As a consequence, lockdowns reduces the benefits that would be realised as a result of engaging them and allowing them outside contact. It also, on the other hand, tends to increase the aggression levels of the prisoners.

Apart from the above defects associated with the method applicable, it also makes the prisoners more apprehensive unfairly punishing putting the inmates not involved in the scenarios that led to the lockdown.

Firing shots in the air is altogether another method that is applicable in maintaining order and ensuring safety within the prison. It is applied in instances where a prison warden might be facing an imminent threat from a prisoner. According to Sergeant Baldwin, the warning shots fired acts as an informer to the inmates that the prison warders are alert. Though effective it is, it can be risky as well in that it can promote an environment of intolerance by the inmates.

The fact that the method leaves none hurt during the process, it is thus an ethical method to be applied.

Lastly, excessive force can be used on inmates trying to lay an attack on the correctional officers physically. As a method, it helps in creating awareness to other inmates on the consequences of any an orderly behavior that might arise as well as assists in containing crimes and controlling against any future threats of violence.

Disadvantages associated with the use of lockdowns

Despite the benefits that accrue as a result of its application, it carries with it some demerits as well, one being that it can lead to the inmates being injured in the process hence taking legal action against the prison. Since violence is involved in the process, it is not an ethical method to be used. Finally, this technique can also make the prisoners to whom the method is used, more resilient and making them hold negative feelings against the guards thereby creating an environment of uncertainty.

Terry Dibble, being one of the inmates, was transferred to Statefield because he fought with another inmate in the former prison he was held in. his period of sentencing that he is left to serve is 45 years having served ten years. This sentencing was as a result of a murder case whereby he killed one man, who had tried to date his girlfriend, and the other man who had been staying with his girlfriend.

As a result of the transfer, he is faced with the challenge of the lockdown. On the other hand, he is also not able to quickly see his girlfriend and his mother due to the distance from the current prison facility. Previously, he could see his girlfriend almost five times a month, while currently; his girlfriend cannot easily travel to the facility. His girlfriend is an essential coping mechanism as well as she, being caring and ready to sacrifice for him urges him on.

Consequently, he is willing to give his girlfriend his level best since she is willing to help him during his period at the prison facility. To cope with his time in prison, Dibble makes drawings of his girlfriend.

To maintain safety within the prison, actively armed guards are critical since they act as a hindrance against any imminent violence in the prison facility. This makes the prisoners aware that they are being watched over thereby curtailing any grand plans that they might be harboring. Firing warning shot helps to contain the prisoners during instances of violence, which would be a contrast if the guards would not be armed, since the prisoners would not be afraid to engage the police, thereby escalating it. A reduction of violence through the presence of guards at the facility brings about increased security levels in prison.

At the facility, high levels of isolation are practiced since helps to decrease significantly by a large margin, instances of violence at the facility. This is done on various stages, whereby, for entrants, the gay prisoners are isolated from the prayers. The second level of isolation occurs at the exercise yard, whereby the inmates are restricted with the aim of reducing any instances of violence. Segregation is also practiced during lockdowns, which is not the best form of isolation since it completely prevents the inmates from interacting with the outside world. This prevents the inmates from having a positive mental state making them feel dejected. The contact with individuals outside the prison facility makes them feel part of the society hence having a sense of belonging; since they can meet and interact with people, they love and care for their lives. For example, Simkayta Winfield, who is an inmate, can check up on his daughter.

Firing warning shots to deter violence

Those who are guys suffer additional and ill-treatment and torture from the prison officials and Fellow inmates. The gays are mostly intimidated by the new, and most of the prison officials were also hostile to them. Most of the prison officials don’t like homosexual men since they have the stereotype that if you are gay, then you want to have sex with them of which they put all of the gays in the same situation. Most of the gays when they are outside the prison life they are regarded as being predators, but when they are in prison, they are at a higher risk of being sexual abuse from the fellow inmate.

There are various methods of protecting gay inmates in prison which include:

The prison department segregates gay prisoners: Correction officials used the technique of segregation when dealing with those who are homosexual. This act as a standard technique as those who are gay are free from the risk of being attack by Fellow inmates. This technique also helps to the stemmed official who has the perception that those who are homosexual a threat to general security in prison. It also helps in reducing the ignorance about homosexuality that exists within the Prison life.

Another method is the deployment of officers responsible for keeping check of all inmates that are in the cell; they ensure that those who are targeted by new cellmate are protected from the attack. The officials are responsible for safeguarding inmate against rape from other gay inmates.

The condition of the prison should be improved in the following ways: The quality of food being provided to the prisoners should be of good quality; this will enables the prisoners to have good health. Some of the prisoners complain of having a poor quality meal such as disgusting meat and the prisoners say it is a heal staying in prison. They should also be given an opportunity of contacting their families on a regular basis as this will motivate them and improve their psychological life. It is also advisable for the prison department to provide access to Condoms as this will lower chances of contradicting HIV AIDS. This is because some of the inmates have to improvise condom using plastic bags due to lack of Condoms (Schaefer, 2018). 

The safety and security of all the officials and prisoners can be enhanced through the provision of better training to the official guards. The Staffs should be training on issues that deal with the human rights since we find that most of the officials are fond of abusing prisoners and intimidating them. The training process should also be extended to all the prisoners; they should be informed of their rights and the procedures in which they can take in solving the issues that are affecting them.

There should also be reform on the criminal Justice by establishing alternatives to sentences that are long. They should check the changes in behaviors to those who are jailed. Those who have long sentences should be released based on the changes in their routines.

References

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGyxXGJWA2I&feature=youtu.be 

Schaefer, L. (2018). Correcting the “correctional” component of the corrections officer role: How offender custodians can contribute to rehabilitation and reintegration. Corrections3(1), 38-55.

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