What is the primary objective of punishment? To
serve as a deterrant to both the larger public and to the offender. Arguebaly
the system aims to push their behavioural pattern from the wrong side to living
a life on the right side of the law by cultivating a fear psychosis.
The concept of prison dates all the way back to
the conception of states. In order to conceive a state certain laws had to be
laid down in the form of legal codes. The most prominent of these early legal
codes is the Code of Hammurabi,
written in Babylon around
1770 BC. The penalties for violations of the laws in code were almost all
centered on the concept of retaliation, whereby the perpetrators were often
punished by the victims themselves. Ancient Greek philosophers, such as
Plato, began to develop ideas of using punishment to rehabilitate offenders
instead of simply using it as a conduit for the victims to channel their anger
and extract revenge. The victims weren’t the only ones affected by the actions
of the criminals, society as a whole was.
The main aim of prisons , ever since their
establishment , was punishment. What did they seek to achieve by using these
punitive measures? A sense of regret and remorse in the perpetrator, so they
would not commit such an act or acts again and to deter anyone who wanted to
commit a criminal offence.
Prisons have four main aims : protection of the public by removal of
the offender from society, so they no longer pose a threat to the general
public (incapacitation) .To punish the offender for not abiding by the law and
causing harm to other individuals. To serve as a deterrent to the offender and
to other individuals . To rehabilitate the offender. Punishment is normally
meted out based on the severity of the crime
A major problems
faced by prison systems, or any institution that deals with offenders is
recidivism , which is a persons relapse into criminal behavior after the person
has received intervention after a previous crime. Recidivism is what criminal
correctional institutions are fighting to abolish the world over. Let us take
Nigeria for example. A study in 2009 reported that 81% of male criminal offenders
and 45% of female criminal offenders were rearrested within 36 months of
discharge from prison.
When prisoners are
released they are not prepared to deal with the outside world. A typical
offender leaves prison without any savings, and very few employment
opportunities, as not very many institutions hire convicted criminals. A majority of prisoners function on levels of
low literacy , many are unable to fill out a job application, read a bus
schedule, or calculate a price discount. This also plays a major role in them
not being able to hold steady jobs for extended periods of time, or any jobs at
all, leading to offenders falling back into their life of crime in order to
survive. Longer prison sentences are also not a very effective deterrent.
Evidences of rehabilitative action were seen as
late as the nineteenth century in dispersed places like Australia, United
states of America, specifically Colorado and the united kingdom. Early
rehabilitative activities where centered around understanding why criminals
committed offences and only about unearthing psychological ailments. Rather
than any “rehabilitative” action, however as the body of information from the
efforts grew, the paradigm shifted towards effective utilization of the prisoners’
time , Instead of keeping them in traditional cells and solitary confinement,
idle all day . utilization of their time in such a way , which is beneficial to
them and the rest of society, while they are in society and up skilling them
with the capacity to deal with society (restorative justice) and life outside
prison to help secure stable jobs and lives , thus reducing recidivism rates.
Many prisons across the world are giving
rehabilitation utmost importance with their contemporary and open minded prison
policies.giving the prisoners employment is also rehabilitation as they will be
taught how to hold a job once they are released. Prisoners at Mekelle Prison, in northern Ethiopia, are
provided with microfinance and insurance loans to start cooperatives based on
business ideas nurtured in educational and vocational classes offered while
they were behind bars. The prison has supported 31 different co-operations in
construction, textiles, and agriculture. “I have been amazed to discover
how prison life is like a university,” said a 23-year-old prisoner, Almaz
Gebriel. “I have earned certificates in plumbing, woodwork, pig rearing, and
beauty salon training. The cooperative experience has allowed me to earn an
income while in prison.” Classes like these benefit not only the prisoners
themselves, but the economy and the society as a whole. In Slovenia prisoners
are allowed to hold jobs during the week, outside of prison and return for the
weekend, there are various factors which determine the eligibility of a
prisoner to do so, mainly his or her behavior in prison.
Uruguay’s National Rehabilitation Center,
outside Montevideo, boasts extremely low recidivism rates , around 10 to 12 %,
drastically contrasting the national average at 60%. Facilities offered here are
classes which range from plumbing to mechanics to gardening. The Indira
Gandhi National Open university set up 94 study centers in prisons across india
, in different jails like Madurai and Tiruchi.As of May 2015, 25,000 prisoners
had participated in these programs.
AS: , giAve a
reaction of a prisoner from a traditional prison.
Suomenlinna island in
Helsinki,finland , is home to the suomenlinna
“open” prison , established in 1971. Everyday 95 male prisoners make
their way to the mainland to work or study and some to do the towns general maintenance
. the prison has a range of facilities ranging from televisons, table tennis
tables and steel darts, cases of violence are extremely rare , the gaurds do not
carry batons or pepper spray. the inmates are constantly monitored using
survelince cameras and other equipment.A common practice in Scandanavian
prisons is for each prisoner to have a “contact officer” , who guides and
rehabilitates the prisoner and acts like his or her personal councilor. This
practice was enforced to help protect the correctional officers,.across the
world correctional officers are plagued with a range of ailments like stress,
hypertension , alcoholism, etc , which is a result of serving a purely punitive
function. This system benefits both prisoner and correctional officer, but it
does have it’s limitations. All these methods only work in prisons with a very
low number of inmates. The total number of prisoners in finland is 3174*. The
Rikers Island prison in New York has a total inmate population of around
10,000, equal to the combined prison populations of Sweden, Norway and Finland
, all in one facility !p
First level of
rehabilitation: upskill them in vocational and reading and writing skills.
Provide employment which wil (1) keep them busy, thus keep them gainfully busy,
mentally and also enable them to create savings for themselves. When they leave
prison they have a small corpus to keep them afloat, a set of skills with which
to sustain themselves.
prisons, violence levels higher?
rehabilitation: Some prisons in India and the US, even going so far as to teach
prisoners transidental meditation. Give result from a prisoner.
Prison is also an extremely violent environment for
individuals to be in , Prison assaults and incidents of
self-harm rose more than 70% from 2013 to 2016 and the number of suicides
doubled in the last four years.