The main aim of correctional facilities is to ensure that the inmates are reformed before they are reintegrated back to society. The rise in the number of inmates has, however, led to the emergence of both inmate and staff challenge within the facilities. It is important to ensure inmate custody and control for a number of reasons. Integral amongst them is to see to it that they serve the time for the crimes that they committed. Further, the control prevents them from possible escape that might lead to the commission of further crimes within the community. It also ensures that the rehabilitation process is conducted as scheduled.
Various correctional facilities have different ways of ensuring inmate custody and control. The following analysis illustrates some of the possible techniques that might be employed by the prisons to achieve the above objective:
The administration and leadership determine how the facilities are run. It is, therefore, imperative that the management be comprised of highly qualified staff especially in the area of decision making. Disciplinary procedures applied should be motivated by the principle of rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. However, extreme case should attract unique measures to deter further actions that might create chaos within the facility as well as maintaining control (Palmer, 2010).
It is important to ensure that the physical layout of the facility will be effective in this regard. The perimeter walls should be enforced to prevent any escape from the facility. In addition, it should provide a clear monitoring scope for the security personnel. Any objects that could potentially be used as weapons should not be present. While free communication should be allowed, such communication should not promote the formation of gangs within the facilities. Any already formed gangs should be quickly dismantled in the interests of safety. This can be achieved by separating the members to different areas within the facility. Grievance procedures should be clearly spelt out and strictly adhered to. The management should take all necessary steps to handle all the grievances, whether from the staff or inmates and thus prevent them from spilling into larger problems (Palmer, 2010).
The constitution of the land guarantees the humane treatment of every citizen, whether free or imprisoned. It is imperative that the institutions be as humane as possible especially in relation to the health and diet of the inmates. The screening and classification procedure should be designed to suit the smooth operation within the facility. Offenders who have been detained for serious crimes should be separated from petty offenders. The gender of the inmates must also be taken into consideration through this classification. For greater effectiveness, the team training should be updated regularly in line with all the emergent needs of the facility. Every education undertaken must be guided by specific objectives and interests. It should also be made available to the inmates where possible so that they can find it helpful once they are released and thus prevent the possibility of repeat offenders. The use of force should be restricted to extreme situations only. This will encourage cooperation from the inmates and staff (Clear, 2011).
While the task of rehabilitating offenders has been exclusively mandated upon the correctional facilities and prisons, all stakeholders have to concert their efforts in order to achieve this goal. Undoubtedly, a society with due regard for all its citizens is better placed than that which ignores its inmates.
Clear, T. R. (2011). American corrections. 9th ed., Wadsworth. Cengage Learning.
Palmer, J. W. (2010). Constitutional Rights of Prisoners. Burlington: Elsevier Science.