Ethics in Corrections

What is your personal stance on the privatization of prisons versus traditional government-run facilities?

After an complete analysis on prisons versus government run facilities, one may come to the conclusion that private run facilities are no more cost saving effective or safer than a state run facility. We must ask ourselves, is any monetary amount worth the lives of one of our own? The statistics are there, this profession is tough enough, we should take pride of it and not risk the lives of our bravest officers just to attempt to save the state a couple of dollars.

Is it ethical for prisons to focus on profit? Why or why not

Focusing on profit there have been an increase in arrests and incarcerations of people who do not deserve to be in prison. Petty crime individuals who have misdemeanor crimes end up taking a plea bargain due to not being able to afford a good attorney and have to serve from one to five years in prison when they should have just paid a fine or six months to a year in a city or county jail. Because these private own prisons have gotten filthy rich due to packing prisoners in like sardines without the care of the safety and health of the inmates they housed. Making a profit off each inmate locked in their facility is a modern day slavery, and if they lose inmates then they lose money. I do support the phasing out of corporate run prisons due to the fact they have not stood up too their potential of having the same level of I think not — though a thing cannot be ethical or unethical. Only actions can be.

Here’s my reason for why I think for-profit imprisonment is inherently unethical as currently practiced in the US: Prisons are one of these things, like childcare and education, that the market is very badly equipped to handle.

Good prison management — like good childcare management — needs to focus on long-term effects that will not be apparent until after the client has left the institution.

The goal of imprisonment — from the societal side — always has to be rehabilitation. It’s the only sustainable way to reduce crime long-term. The old “discipline and punish” dance, while emotionally understandable from a very human desire for revenge, does nothing or very little (depending on the crime) to prevent further criminality.

Market-driven prison facilities create counteracting incentives, however. Minimum staffing levels — and staff costs are still the driving costs in prison — aren’t good for the mental and physical wellbeing of prisoners in the short term. Neither is the provision of substandard food and medical care. (Both well-known problems of the for-profit prison industry.) This leads to increased unrest in the prison population, which in turn adversely affects long-term outcomes.

Profit maximization does not maximize societal benefit.

Good drivers of rehabilitation are education and the provision of job skills as well as mental-health therapy. (A large percentage of the US prison population — which is the largest in the world both in absolute and relative terms — is mentally ill.) All of these cost money, both directly and through the fact that they need highly qualified staff to provide them.

A society that knowingly pushes people in situations where they cannot rehabilitate themselves, cannot be rehabilitated by others and does so to save costs doesn’t act ethically.

In addition a large for-profit prison industry that is not shy to lobby creates criminal incentives for others as well. The rather well published scandals about kickbacks for judges that sentence people to prison time are one such example of bad behavior incentive.

Do you support the phasing out of corporate-run prisons by the Justice Department? Why or why not?

It’s a lose-lose situation. Privately ran prisons have spawned corruption to where judges have been paid off to sentence people to jail in cases where they normally would not (Pennsylvania juvenile judge) in order to fill up the jail so that the per prisoner lodging fees paid would be the most. This benefits the private owner. It’s like having a hotel that is full, and even overfilled. It’s profitable for the owner. The flip side is that government is inefficient by design and subject to institutional corruption of other forms. The government is just horrible at managing most everything they manage. Im a fan of small government and even privatization of some governmental services. But the business of “freedom” is one that shouldn’t be corrupted by the free market. but even when it’s not privatized, there is corruption seen everyday where those with ample wealth can get a different outcome than those of limited means. This crosses racial lines even as seen by OJ Simpson evading imprisonment when he is very clearly guilty of murder. Private run prisons was a horrible mistake. The primary reason is the public’s inability to successfully monitor the contract prisons for compliance. The mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is to protect society by confining federal offenders in correctional facilities that are safe, humane, cost efficient, and secure, and to provide reentry programming for the inmates to ensure their successful return to the community. Contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per than comparable BOP institutions. Contract prisons also had higher rates of assaults, both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff. Monitoring of health care for contract compliance lacked coordination from BOP staff responsible for health services oversight.

What consequences should be faced by correctional officers who violate ethical codes of conduct?

all officers are, in fact, held to a higher standard than the rest of us. If they’re suspended for something, they should at least not be paid for they’re time off. I don’t think they need to be held to a harsher punishment, they just need to be punished. Every human makes mistakes. No matter how we want the system to work, the system is made of erroneous beings. That said, there needs to be something done about emotional training in police officers. They do need to be exceptional people to be willing and able to do their jobs. They need to act logically and not emotionally as much as possible. Anyway, my point is, there should be no lee-ways for officers that break the law. The standards for being a police officer should be extremely high, but the punishment does not need to be anything beyond being fired (when appropriate) and then the full extent of the law.

If a correctional officer is arrested and incarcerated, should they be housed with the regular inmate population.

Where they go largely depends on who put the officer on trial. Police corruption cases often become federal crimes, especially when it is a sheriff or chief, but that certainly doesn’t mean the state can’t get a piece of th`1e action as well. In either event, the former police officer will go through intake/classification like all other inmates, where risks and needs will be assessed. Former law enforcement are definitely a high risk for being attacked, so efforts will be made to put them in a cell/pod with other inmates with a high risk of being attacked. Protective Custody can be done on a short term basis, but it isn’t a permanent solution.

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