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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78179 Find in a Library
Title: Are Safe and Humane Prisons Possible?
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Volume:14  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1981)  Pages:3-19
Author(s): S Dinitz
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The violent riots at the Attica State Prison in New York and the New Mexico State Prison point to the need for prison reform that will render prisons lawful, safe, industrious, and hopeful.
Abstract: Attica's violent revolt resulted from the naive optimism of the 1960's during which people felt that with action situations could be changed. New Mexico's even more violent confrontations resulted from the destruction of that dream. Together these two events symbolize the demise of the correctional institution as a safe and humane way to punish offenders and to protect society from them. Society must work to reform prisons if such violence is to be avoided and if offenders are to be helped to become responsible citizens. The lawful prison requires a credible grievance system, a reasonable set of institutional rules and standards, and firm law enforcement through adequate patrol and inspection. When major infractions are detected, the responsible prisoners must be prosecuted. Additionally, the prison must ensure the safety of both the staff and prisoners through the use of smaller prisons, encouragement of more intimate relationships between staff and inmates, and the free flow of communication. The industrious prison inspires inmates to work within the prison in some kind of employment that is paid and hence not just slave labor. Finally, the hopeful prison engenders in inmates the hope that their lives will improve. There must be resources to choose from, some incentive to engage in programs, and no penalty for failure to become involved. An appendix presents the Attica Liberation Faction's Manifesto of Demands and their practical proposals. Thirty-eight notes are included.
Index Term(s): Collective violence; Correctional reform; Corrections management; Inmate grievances; Prison disorders; Prisoner's rights
Note: John Vincent Barry Memorial Lecture, delivered at the University of Melbourne, Australia, October 8, 1980.
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