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NCJ Number: 63747 Find in a Library
Title: WHY THE PROBLEMS IN PRISON TODAY? (FROM CRITICAL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1979, BY R G IACOVETTA AND DAE H CHANG - SEE NCJ-63717)
Author(s): H RUBENSTEIN
Corporate Author: Carolina Academic Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Carolina Academic Press
Durham, NC 27701
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A PSYCHIATRIST WHO WORKED WITH A SPECIAL UNIT AT ATTICA STATE PRISON IN NEW YORK PRESENTS INSIGHTS INTO THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY OFFENDERS FROM THE TIME OF ARREST TO SERVING THE SENTENCE.
Abstract: AN ARRESTEE BEGINS A LONG JOURNEY THROUGH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT IS CHARACTERIZED BY SEEMINGLY LIMITLESS WAITING AND CONFUSION. NOTHING, NOT THE TRIAL, CHARGE, SENTENCE, OR TYPE OF FACILITY ASSIGNMENT IF CONVICTED CAN BE ANTICIPATED. TOO MANY FACTORS, A LARGE PART OF WHICH THE OFFENDER CANNOT UNDERSTAND, ENTER INTO THE PICTURE. FOR INSTANCE, IF THE ARRESTING OFFICER MAKES A MISTAKE IN THE ARRESTING REPORT, THE OFFENDER CAN GO FREE; THE CHARGE WRITTEN UP MAY NOT BE RECOGNIZABLE TO THE OFFENDER AS HIS CRIME; PLEA BARGAINING CAN CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE PROCESS ALTOGETHER SO THAT THE OFFENDER CAN BE PERSUADED TO PLEAD GUILTY TO A LESSER CHARGE IN ORDER TO GET AN EASIER SENTENCE; AND THE SENTENCE FOR IDENTICAL CRIMES MAY VARY SO THAT, TO THE OFFENDER, IT CAN APPEAR THAT THE HEINOUSNESS OF A CRIME HAS CHANGED OVERNIGHT. COMBINED WITH THE CONSTANT WAITING IN JAIL AND RECEPTION FACILITIES, THE FORCED INTERMIXING WITH HARDENED CRIMINALS FOR SOME LESS-PRACTICED OFFENDERS, AND THE COUNTRY CLUB ATMOSPHERE OF A FEW PRISONS, THESE SYSTEM INCONSISTENCIES MUST FRUSTRATE OFFENDERS AND REDUCE CHANCES OF REHABILITATION AND DETERRENCE. TO CHANGE THE SITUATION, PRISON REFORM MUST ALTER ITS APPROACH. CORRECTIONS PERSONNEL SHOULD HAVE A SIGNIFICANT SAY IN POLICIES, RATHER THAN OUTSIDERS WHO ARE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH PRISON LIFE; DETERMINATE SENTENCES SHOULD BE MATCHED WITH CRIMES; AND FIRST OFFENDERS SHOULD BE KEPT AWAY FROM HARDENED CRIMINALS. FURTHERMORE, MEDIA SHOULD RETHINK THEIR POLICIES CONCERNING REPORTING ON PRISONS SINCE THEIR TRADITIONAL FOCUS HAS BEEN MORE HURTFUL THAN HELPFUL. (DAG)
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Detention; Determinate Sentencing; Effects of imprisonment; Failure factors; Indeterminate sentences; Inmate attitudes
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