Inmate and staff safety

Subject: Law
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 780
Topics: Justice, Crime, Injustice, Law Enforcement

Correctional facilities have been receiving a lot of attention lately mainly due to the issue of safety and control within these institutions. There has been a rise in the number of safety and control cases within these correctional facilities that has raised concerns that correctional facilities are losing control. This rise has been mainly attributed to the numerous challenges the correctional facilities are facing. Inmate custody and control is of great importance as it helps to ensure a smooth running of operations in the correctional facilities as well as ensuring they perform their core duty that is rehabilitating the inmates (Crewe, 2012). To achieve this, correctional facilities have established and put in place various techniques. This paper discusses the techniques used by correctional facilities to maintain custody and control as well as the ethical concerns relevant to these techniques.

Safety and control techniques used in prisons

There are various methods used to maintain control and safety in correctional facilities. The first method used is administration and leadership (Crewe, 2012). Critical and appropriate decision making regarding the issue of control and safety goes a long way towards achieving it. This technique, therefore, calls for an effective management of the correctional facilities. Another technique is disciplinary procedures which involve imposing disciplinary sanctions against prisoners who violate the set rules of conduct. These sanctions are based on the type of misconduct that can either be class I, class II, or class III. The physical layout of the correctional facility as well is a tool used to maintain control and custody in correctional facilities. The physical layout should be one that separates the various types of inmates as well as one that makes it impossible for inmates to escape (Crewe, 2012). It should also take into consideration safety emergencies that may occur such as fire. In addition, prisons also use grievance procedures as custody and control technique. This involves having a system whereby inmates and staff can come forward with any safety concern they may have as well as report any incident that may have occurred.

Gangs are one of the major problems facing prisons hence the use of gang control as a technique in prisons. Gang control aims at eradicating the formation and spread of gangs in prisons as it only promotes more crime such as gang wars in prisons (Crewe, 2012). Prisons have also been shifting to a more humanitarian approach by trying to turn the prisons into humane institutions. This is done by focusing on rehabilitating the inmates and not on making their lives difficult (Crewe, 2012). This creates a safer environment within the prisons. The other method used is screening and classification of both inmates and staff. This method mainly assists in ensuring that drugs and weapons such a daggers are not smuggled into prisons. Besides this, another method used that greatly involves prison staff is staff training and education. This method equips the staff with more skills and knowledge on how to better handle inmates especially when it comes to the issue of safety and control of both the inmates and the staff. As a last resort, prison staff are forced to use force in as a method to ensuring both safety and control within the prisons. This method is mainly used when inmates become rowdy and unwilling to cooperate (Crewe, 2012).

Ethical concerns over methods used

The methods used to maintain inmate safety and control assist in ensuring a smooth day to day running of the prisons. Some of these methods have however resulted in ethical concerns. Disciplinary procedures is one of these methods. There have been concerns that some of the disciplinary sanctions imposed on prisoners who violate the rules are unethical. These sanctions include strokes and manual labor (Crewe, 2012). The argument here by those that feel this method is unethical is that the prison staff should be focusing on rehabilitating the inmates and not making their lives difficult. However, others argue that such actions are part of the rehabilitation.

Another technique that has sparked a lot of ethical concerns is the use of force (Arend, 2014). Inmates can at times be difficult and unwilling to cooperate. In such cases, the prison staff results to the use of force to make them comply. Some people view this technique as unethical. Their argument is that inmates are also protected by the constitution and the bill of rights. They argue that when using force, the prison staff mainly uses excessive force that they view as assault hence a violation of the inmates’ rights (Arend, 2014). Those against this technique feel that it should be banned and treated as a crime since it is unethical.

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  1. Crewe, B. (2012). The prisoner society: Power, adaptation and social life in an English prison. OUP Oxford.
  2. Arend, A. C., & Beck, R. J. (2014). International law and the use of force: beyond the UN Charter paradigm. Routledge.
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