Corrections and the Death Row inmate
Corrections and the Death Row inmate
This paper answers questions about the death row inmate in the United States, the international opinion on the death penalty, programs for the betterment of inmates in the US, and the current challenges facing corrections in the country.
Death row inmates in the United States and international opinion on death penalty
As of 2011, of the total number of inmates on death row in the United States, 55% were white, and 42% were black. Males constituted 98% of the total death row inmate population. 86% were of non-Hispanic origin, with the rest 14% accounting for the Hispanic population CITATION Bar11 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
Contrary to popular belief, most inmates on death row do not exhibit violence of any kind. However, a large number of them belong to a traumatic or abusive background, familial disruption, and substance abuse. Psychological disorders among these inmates are also common, with the conditions exacerbating due to the stringent policies of incarceration CITATION Bar11 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
The opinion about the death penalty has changed drastically over the years. In 1978, 66% of the American population alone opposed the death penalty CITATION Bar11 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011). While countries around the world are not averse to the idea, most of them have started opting for alternatives and seeking abolishment of capital punishment. In fact, according to the Article 2 of the ICCPR, countries that have yet to abolish the death penalty, the same can only be levied in cases of utterly serious crimes, and only be a court of the highest authority. No person under the age of eighteen can be sentenced to death. Furthermore, every person on death row has the right to appeal for mercy or seek pardon in the same context CITATION The08 l 16393 (The International Bar Association, 2008).
Educational possibilities for inmates in prison
There are two primary types of educational options available to inmates in prison: firstly, vocational training, which helps prisoners acquire technical and practical skills applicable to a job in the field; secondly, literacy development, which allows inmates to acquire knowledge not unlike in school and college, and focuses on intellectual development and math skills CITATION Baz04 l 16393 (Bazos & Hausman, 2004)Some prisons also allow inmates to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees while serving time, so as to increase their chances of post-release employment, which, in turn, decreases the chances of returning to prison CITATION Kir14 l 16393 (Kirchner, 2014). Not only does it provide inmates with desired skills, but it also helps boost self-esteem and settle into life after prison by making them independent, even for inmates of average intelligence. Additionally, receiving the education while also serving time has a psychological effect on the inmates by keeping them abreast with social norms. This removes them from the influence of the group and cult cultures inside prison walls CITATION Baz04 l 16393 (Bazos & Hausman, 2004).
Current challenges in corrections
Even though corrections have come a long way since the days of brute force, there are still significant challenges to be overcome. It is understandable that a limited amount of staff cannot control inmates in an overcrowded prison, but the same can be used to curb violence and drug trafficking in the facility. More important is the need to remove from office personnel who abuse the inmates CITATION Bar11 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
While fiscal constraints and limited resources remain a persistent challenge, another is being compelled to deprive inmates of beneficial programs under the need to appear tough and relentless. There also need to be a philosophy and guidelines detailing the purpose of the correctional institute and behavior of the personnel and people in the community driven programs for the inmates. Lastly, apart from oppressing and eradicating the culture of abuse by personnel in prisons, administrations should also hire the right staff, having the proper countenance and education. They should also provide personnel with regular increments in wages, while also taking careful note of other provisions in facilities CITATION Bar11 l 16393 (Bartollas & Siegel, 2011).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Bartollas, C., & Siegel, L. (2011). Capital Punishment and the Death Row Inmate. In C. Bartollas, & L. Siegel, Corrections Today (Second Edition ed.). Wadsworth : Cengage Learning .
Bazos, A., & Hausman, J. (2004). Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program. UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research – Department of Policy Studies .
Kirchner, L. (2014, March 4). Are Prison Education Programs Worth It? Retrieved from Pacific Standard: http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/prison-education-programs-worth-75796
The International Bar Association. (2008). The Death Penalty under International Law: A Background Paper to the IBAHRI Resolution on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. London: International Bar Association .