.. ny correctional changes have also happened over the past few years. There was the Prisoners Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1980s. These movements gave prisoners certain right that they have never had before. The received the right to have freedom of speech and religion.
They could receive medical care. They got the right to procedural due process and they were allowed to live in proper living conditions. Not all the reforms have resulted in positive effects. Many of the reforms that have happened over the 175 years have decreased the control and power that administrators have over inmates. Prisons have become much more violent because the control of the prisons has changed from the staff to inmate gangs.
Riots have broken out in some prisons including New York and New Mexico. It also seems that many methods to rehabilitation have failed. The idea that prisoners are seen as sick people that need to be treated has not been proved. Treatment does not cure these people. The idea of reintegration have not been highly successful either. Rehabilitation centers thought that allowing criminals to participate in work release would help them reintegrate themselves back into the community. But crimes committed by those criminals that were on work release made this theory very unpopular.
One method has been the main stay though. The Bifurcated Correctional Policy has those criminals that are dangerous and violent put in prisons for long periods of time. Supporters believe that prison are places for control, incarceration, and incapacitation. On the other hand, those that are not violent are kept out of the correctional system as long as possible. They go through community based programs instead of incarceration. Now what is the difference between jails and prisons.
Jails are used for holding a criminal before their trial and/or sentencing. Jails hold those that violate their parole or probation requirements. Not only that they hold prisoners that come form overcrowded prisons. About half of a jails population is people awaiting their trials. Some are waiting to be transferred to a prison.
About 20 million criminals go through jail in a one year period. Most jail inmates are young, single males. They tend to be undereducated and earn low income. Fifty-seven percent of jail inmates are minorities. Many come from single parent households and are drug or alcohol users. A majority of them are also arrested for property crimes. The condition of US jails are generally very poor.
They lack basic programs and services. The food is of poor quality. Medical and recreational facilities are also in poor condition. The staff of a jail is usually underpaid and there are not enough staff members to cover all the inmates. Overcrowding is also definitely a problem with jails. This is cause because there is now mandatory sentencing for DUIs, drug use, and spousal assaults.
Now on the other side are prisons. Unlike jails, prisons are classified by the level of security they use. There are three levels of prison security. The first are minimum security prisons. There are no armed guards or walls. The inmates live in dormitories or small private rooms.
The inmates in these minimum security prison are the most trustworthy and have committed the least violent crimes. Next are medium security prisons. There are fences and armed guards unlike the minimum security prisons. Treatment efforts are used to rehabilitate the inmates. Inmates receive visitor privileges.
Inmates are those that are violent but have some chance of being rehabilitated and returned to society. The third type of prison is a maximum security prison. These prisons are built with high walls, multiple fences with cyclone wire, and there are definitely armed guards with guard towers. Security is the main emphasis here because they house the most violent and dangerous criminals. These prisons offer little rehabilitation or education; it must be earned by the prisoners.
There are little in any visitors allowed in maximum security prisons. Some of these prisons lock their inmates in single inmate cells for twenty-three and a half hours a day. The other half of an hour is used for showering and exercise. The similarity between jails and prisons is that the inmates profiles are rather similar. They are young, single, and poorly educated males. Most are minorities. They are usually poor and do not have jobs.
Most of their crimes dealt with weapon or drug use. There are a million people in Federal and State prisons. This number has tripled since 1980. The US has the highest prison population in the world. These high numbers seem to be caused by the use of mandatory sentencing laws and from having high unemployment rates.
Over the past fifteen years, the prison population has grown 250 percent. Probation and parole populations are also growing about seven percent every year. It also seems that these criminals have more problems than those from the past. Todays criminals are less educated and have more mental disabilities. With all of the change with todays families, religions, schools, and economies, it is hard for the correctional system to keep up. The correctional system has to continue to renew its programs and facilities so that they can successfully help return offenders to their families and society.
The correctional system must be responsive to all of todays problems. The correctional system main purpose is to assure public safety and increase the success rates of offenders in the most cost-effective way. Corrections has been a tremendous help to our society. The history of corrections helps us see where we are going with the idea of rehabilitating criminals. The corrections industry can measure its failures and successes by just looking to the past. The corrections system has come a long way but there is still a long way to go.
By understanding how are society changes and how that influences crime the corrections system will be able to increase the rate at which criminals can turn themselves around. Our court systems have, in recent years, been said to be inefficient, sometimes ineffective, and even backlogged to the point where cases have to be dismissed because of how long it takes for them to get to court. After my trip to court, these are my opinions and observations on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of our Criminal Court System. The court procedures of provincial court are very systematic and are carried out very swiftly. It is much like a tennis match, the ball, or control in the court, is volleyed back and forth between the judge (and court clerk) and the lawyers.
The court clerk arraigns the accused, the defence lawyer responses with how the accused pleas, if it is not guilty, the court clerk asks how the Crown lawyer wishes to proceed and so forth. However, this is not so in the Ontario Supreme Court (Trial Division), though similar in methodical procedures, the court cases are longer and much more time is spent on each individual part of the case, from presenting the evidence to cross- examination of the witness, this is because of the amount of information involved. The general atmosphere and behaviour in the Provincial Courtrooms were general loose and calm. The people, lawyers, judge, clerk and recorder seem to know each other very well. They joked openly, even while the court was in session, the defence lawyer asked if he could persuade the judge into a lighter sentence after the judge had already made a decision in a very easy and friendly tone of voice, something seemly unprofessional that caused chuckles throughout the courtroom.
Where in the Ontario Supreme Court the atmosphere was much more serious, professional, strict and at times high in tension. Our current bail system, in either monetary terms or personal recognizance, seemed pretty successful in Provincial Court, though not observed in the Ontario Supreme Court, all the people did show up for their trial, which included two people on bail for possession of marijuana cigarettes. As a final note, no bench warrant was every called for by the judge for people whom failed to attend their trial. The necessity of the duty council is for those who don’t have a lawyer and is for their benefit that they discuss legal options that the accused might have before proceeding, however this part of the system is not very efficient as the court must adjourn for this and thus waste valuable time that could be otherwise used for processing other court cases. The Crown Attorney in provincial court was, on the whole, fairly well prepared, efficiently bring relevant facts to attention, friendly and well acquainted to the defence lawyers as well as the judge, and quick to get to the point that he was trying to prove. There was little time wasted, between the arraignment and the sentencing, on the part of the Crown Attorney.
In Ontario Supreme Court, the Crown Attorney there seemed well prepared, efficient, and quick, however there seemed to be a lack of personal evolvement in the case, rather he seemed emotionless, just doing his job, not being familiar with the judge or other people in the court room. By the way he presented and dressed, he appeared far more strict and serious in conduct and appearance than his Provincial Court counterpart. Calling a remand can be helpful in that it allows witnesses, especially key witnesses, to be present at a later date when it is possible for them to attend the trial, as duty may call them to do otherwise. The disadvantages, however, are mostly on the accused’s part, as s/he must remain in custody longer in order to be brought back to trial. The necessity for a lawyer for minor offences can sometimes outweigh the cost the accused must pay for them because the lawyer understands the law and how the system works, he might be able to point out some small discrepancies or may suggest what type and how much punishment is suitable for the accused’s crime.
The lawyer may also point out that if the person has a record, how old it really is, as records older than 5 years old that are not cleared are disregarded by the judge. They also help the cases progress faster as an accused legal options will be already made clear to him by his/her lawyer. Lawyers are absolutely necessary for major cases, as the accused may not understand his legal rights clearly or may not know how to defend himself correctly in the correct the manner during trial in court. Court judges in Provincial Court were generally looser than those in Ontario Supreme Court as that the one we saw in Supreme Court seemed more serious, lacked in emotional expressions, but also easily bored. However in Provincial Court, they were serious but there was room for humour and understanding of the accused’s situation.
Over all they looked like they enjoyed their jobs. All in all, the system we currently have cannot be any better as it is efficient as humanly possible without violating any individuals rights as in the Charter. Government Essays.