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SOC209H5 (126)
Chapter 10-11

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC209H5
Professor
Philip Goodman
Semester
Winter

Description
Correctional Institutions Griffiths Chapter 10  Correctional institutions have always been a source of curiosity and controversy because most Canadians have never experienced it and only know as much as the media portrays. Historical Foundations  In pre-Confederation Canada, imprisonment was not used for the specific purpose of punishing offenders. It was to hold offenders who were awaiting trial  There was extensive use of the death penalty and many other sanctions that were imposed in public and were designed to shame and humiliate the offender  Early 1800s, lower and upper Canada established local jails and workhouses  These facilities were plagued by poor management, foul conditions, lack of separation of men, women, and youths, and general chaos  Canada’s first penitentiary was built in 1835 in Kingston, Ontario based on blueprints provided by officials in New York. It was the United States that the widespread use of imprisonment as a form of punishment emerged  1900s, the government began passing legislation to improve the conditions in correctional institutions Creating Correctional Communities  Late 1900s, there was shift in thinking about how federal correctional institutions should be designed and operated  The intent of these initiatives was to replicate, within the institution, the spaces and types of activities that inmates would encounter upon their release back into the community Structure of Institutional Corrections  Corrections services and facilities are generally divided into “custodial” and “non- custodial”  Non-custodial services include bail supervision and probation, temporary absences from institutions, provincial and federal parole, and statutory release  In Canada, the responsibility of corrections is shared between the federal, provincial, and municipal (only deals with local police lockups) levels of government  The basis for the split in correctional jurisdiction is the two-year rule: an offenders who receives a sentence (or consecutive sentences) totaling two or more years falls under the jurisdiction of federal corrections, whereas an offender whose prison sentence totals less than two years is the responsibility of the provincial corrections services Federal Corrections  Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has three levels: national, regional, and institutional (or district)  The mission of the CSC is to contribute to the protection of society by encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizen  CSC has five regional headquarters that administer the system’s maximum, medium, and minimum-security institutions. A General Profile of Custodial Populations  Incarcerated offenders tend to have the following characteristics, they are: o Men o In their thirties o Convicted of a property offence o Single o Parents o Marginally skilled o Disproportionately Aboriginal o Disproportionately Black o Substance-addicted o Suffer mental impairment The Escalating Costs of Institutional Corrections  Although the number of offenders in custody has remained stable over the past decade, the costs of housing inmates has been rising  Average cost of confining a federal male offender is $250 a day ($91,250 per year)  Average cost of confining a federal female offender is double, $500 a day ($182,500)  Despite having invested over $400 million in renewing correctional institution infrastructure, the costs of confining inmates in Ontario continues to increase and is the highest among the provinces/territories  Largest portion of correctional budgeting is for staffing Managing Correctional Institutions: A Challenging Job  Challenges include: o Overcrowding  Public pressures to be more tough on criminals affects legislation and sentencing patterns  In 2008, provincial institutions in Ontario were operating at 100% capacity and 11 of them were over at 135% capacity  This affects daily prison life by heightening tensions among inmates and between inmates and correctional officers  In federal institutions, about 25% of the inmates share cell space when it should be one person per cell, this leads to inmate-on-inmate assault o Ensuring Inmate Safety  Corrections officials required to ensure safety of inmates, especially in federal maximum security  Recent years, number of high-profile incidents, including murders of inmates by fellow inmates o Inmate Gangs  Originate in the community but import their affiliations and tactics into correctional institutions  1/6 federal inmates affiliated with gang or organized crime o Communicable Diseases and Prevention Strategies  Infection rates alarmingly high  Nearly 2% of federal inmates are HIV positive, a rate 10 times that of the general Canadian population  Transmitted through anal sex (not common)  The primary cause is drug use and sharing syringes and needles  Also commonly transmitted through pens, pencils, and wire instruments used by inmates for body piercing and tattoos  To reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, all federal correctional institutions and many provincial facilities are providing inmates with condoms and bleach kits On the Line: Correctional Officers at Work  Although warden directs overall operations of the prison, the correctional officers have the most daily contact with inmates o Recruiting and Training of Correctional Officers o Officer-Inmate Relationships  Inmates may use variety of tactics to manipulate the officer, so new officers must learn to “read” the inmates  Must become familiar with the intricacies of the inmate social system and various scams inmates get involved in  Research shows correctional officers are more punitive, less empathetic, less supportive of rehabilitation o Occupational Stress  Stress includes safety concerns, inadequate training, shift work, and vague/unrealistic administrative policies  Critical incidents in prison, disturbances, riots, hostage-takings, inmate murder, self-mutilation can result in officers experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder  Female correctional officers may experience forms of sexual and psychological harassment Doing Time: The World of an Inmate  Through a series of status degradation ceremonies, the offender is psychologically and materially stripped of possessions that identify him or her as a member of the free world  These possessions are replaced with an identification number, prison-issue clothing, and list of institutional rules and regulations designed to control every aspect of life inside the prison as well as the inmate’s conduct with the outside world  Process in which status of offender is transformed from “citizen” to “inmate” is important  Note that there are no “status restoration ceremonies” when an offender has finished their sentences  All inmates have to find ways to cope with the pains of imprisonment: loss of security, autonomy, contacts with family and friends, and independence  Common feature of all correctional institutions in the existence of inmate social system, which is centered on the inmate code which has rules such as do your own time; don’t rat on other inmates; don’t trust anyone; don’t weaken and don’t whine; be tough, be a man; don’t be a sucker Suicide and Self-Injurious Behaviour  Inmates have different ways of coping with daily pressures in prison, some resort to self-mutilation and suicide as an escape  Suicide rate double that of the general public  Suicide is the most common cause of inmate death Prisonization  Term used to describe the process of how new inmates are socialized into the norms, values, and culture of the prison  Degree to which offender becomes prisonized depends on individual personality, pre-prison experiences, and the nature of the relationships he or she establishes with other inmates  Offenders who spend too long in confinement run the risk of becoming institutionalized: they are unwilling to or cannot function in the outside world Assessing Inmate Risks and Needs  Classification is an ongoing process that involves identifying the treatment needs of the inmates (along with the risks he or she presents) and assessing the inmates progress in altering his or her attitudes and behaviours  Objective: to place offenders in correctional settings most appropriate to their individual needs, while ensuring that the risks they pose are recognized and addressed  Classification system generally includes psychological, personality, and behavioural inventories that attempt to categorize offenders into certain types  Risk analysis is done to determine whether the inmate should be confined in or moved to; to determine the inmates treatment needs; identify those inmates who require higher level of support, intervention, and supervision upon their release; and assist in release decisions  Research studies indicate that assessing both risks and needs improves the ability of corrections officials to predict which offenders will recidivate  In assessing the degree of risk posed by an inmate, corrections personnel will generally consider: o Static risk factors: inmate characteristics that cannot be altered through intervention  Ex. Inmates criminal history o Dynamic risk factors: inmate characteristics that can be altered through intervention  Ex. Level of education, addiction, and cognitive skills  Aboriginal offenders entering federal/provincial institutions have a greater number of identified needs than non-Aboriginal offenders and are more likely to be classified as having medium to high risk Case Management  Continuous process that extends from initial entry into the system through the period of confinement, to supervision upon release  Based on the inmates risks/needs profile, this plan determines the offenders initial institutional placement, training or work opportunities, and conditions of release  A key issue is the extent to which treatment should be made mandatory for offenders and the extent to which inmates should have rights to refuse treatment Institutional Treatment Programs  CSC and provincial/territorial corrections systems operate wide variety of core and specialized treatment programs in correctional facilities  Programs include education, vocational and trades training, institutional employment programs, and specific treatment interventions  Only 10% of the budget of the CSC is spent on treatment programs Treating Special Offender Groups  Sex Offenders o Greatest treatment challenge because not much is known about the causes of sex offending and there is ongoing debate about the effectiveness of these programs o Also, most sex offenders deny committing the offence or minimize the significance and impact of their behavior by blaming the victim o Most treatments are to not “cure” the offenders necessarily BUT to provide them strategies to manage and control deviant impulses o For some offenders however, such as pedophiles, there are virtually no cures and most will reoffend so the focus on relapse prevention is key  Female Offenders o Men dominate prison system but there has been an increase of women offenders so attention is reflected in recent construction of small, regional facilities for federally sentenced women and in development of correctional programming that is community-orientated, woman-centered, and designed to improve the education, skills, and self-esteem of female offenders o Treatment initiatives have been developed that are designed to address women’s experiences with physical and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol dependency and substance abuse, and self-injurious behavior, and to provide women with parenting and general life skills o Unique and controversial feature is the mother-child program, which allows infants and small children to live in the institution with their mothers for a specified period  Aboriginal Offenders o Many initiatives taken in attempt to reduce high levels of incarceration among Aboriginal persons o Creating and staffing more culturally appropriate programs to assist Aboriginals o Aboriginal leaders involved in teaching Aboriginal inmates  Mentally Ill Offenders o Insufficient information on mental health status of inmates and no information on whether the provincial correctional system was providing sufficient treatment o Many argue that institutions have become the new mental asylums o Estimate that up to 20% of inmates require clinical intervention Effectiveness of Treatment Programs  Debated whether treatment programs work. Are those who participated in treatment programs while confined more likely to be successful on the release back into community?  Determining “what works” is difficult  Here is what is known about the effectiveness of more common correctional treatment programs o Life skills training  Appears to produce positive changes however there is no evidence that it reduces rates of reoffending o Anger management programs  Successful in providing inmates with non-hostile ways to resolve conflict in interpersonal relationships as well as with strategies for managing anger-arousing thought patterns o Education programs  Significant relationship between completion of adult basic education courses and reduced recidivism upon release  Participation in university-level degree programs reduces risk of reoffending for some offenders o Vocational and work programs  Helps with release back into community o Cognitive skills programs  Increases critical reasoning skills and interpersonal problem solving as well as reducing reoffending upon release o Substance abuse programs  Lower rates of reoffending if successful in the program o Restorative justice programs  No impact on correctional outcomes but positive attitudes toward program among staff and inmates Principles of Effective Correctional Treatment  Research shows that there are a number of principles that if followed increase the likelihood that treatment programs will succeed: o The risk principle:  Treatment interventions have a greater chance of success if matched to risk level of offender  Higher levels of treatment should be reserved for higher-risk inmates  Interestingly lower-risk inmates may be negatively affected by intensive treatment o The need principle:  Treatment must address factors (substance abuse for example) that are related to offender behaviour o The responsivity principle:  Treatment must be matched to learning styles and abilities of individual inmates; a one size fits all treatment approach must be avoided  Other contributing factors include that the staffs professional discretion must be applied to each individual using the above principles and the staff must be fair in their decision making How effective is Incarceration?  Research shows that expect when used for violent, high-risk offenders, incarceration is not an effective individual deterrent  Evidence suggests that the likelihood of being caught and punished is the most effective general deterrent  No evidence that longer period of imprisonment reduces crime. In fact, when low- risk offenders are given long sentences, they are more likely to reoffend because they have been introduced to an environment with serious offenders  To be effective, incarceration must be used selectively, although it is difficult to determine which offenders should be incarcerated and for how long  No relationship between recidivism and severity of sanctions  However, there is conclusive evidence that treatment approaches are more effective Doing Time Donald Morin  “Prisoner is the only correct term to describe a person locked into a cage or cell within a facility not of one’s choice and whose quality of existence therein depends upon the keepers”  In provincial and federal prisons on the Prairies, there are many aboriginal men serving time  Men in prison are from isolated reserves, small towns, and larger urban centers. Each with unique experiences but a lot of commonalities  Aboriginal prisoners start serving time at a younger age than non-Aboriginal  Morin focuses on his story and personal reflections as well as his friend Ivans Road to Prison  The prison road – juvenile centers, provincial jails, and federal penitentiary – while not altogether predictable, had some connections to trouble at home, foster house placements, and academic problems  Morins path to prison began in early preteen years. He never did well academically, experience emotional turmoil, was always angry and resentful, hated authority and always got into “small” trouble  Ivans childhood is similarly characterized by foster care, trouble at home, juvenile jail, and the adult system  “Bridging the Cultural Divide,” a survey of Aboriginal prisoners at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary discovered that more than 95% had been in foster homes or group homes  Argues that not everyone in foster homes was abused or ended up in prison but quality of life was almost always affected  Hostile environment of foster care, later replicates prisons, sets a pattern that teaches about violence and the power of violence  A study identifies a “defensive worldview” of offenders which consists of 6 traits, rejecting the lived reality: o Feeling of vulnerability and need to protect oneself o Need to maintain social distance o Belief that no one can be trusted o Willingness to use violence and intimidation to repel others o Attraction to similarly defensive people o Expectation that no one will provide aid  The quality of life experience in foster care does not enhance anyone’s self-esteem. Ironically, persisting in crime long enough boosted confidence in oneself. Experience loss of identity in foster homes, which parallels the experience in prison Crime as Power and Habit  Childhood rage and powerlessness may eventually turn into anger, which is expressed through various means, including crimes.  Morin believes crime stems from unresolved issues, one is about asserting a kind of control that you did not have as a child.  On the street and in prison, dope and money are forms of power, a gun in your hand is power, as is a reputation on the inside or outside as being a person not to “fuck with”  Doing time and committing crime are “bad habits,” they’re hard to break  Morin states that being in prison in my late teens and early twenties was not a deterrent, it didn’t stop him from wanting to continue in that lifestyle, it was exciting and fun  He believes that people who commit crimes have a higher threshold for risk-taking  Friendship networks in prisons share a common bond that focuses on talk of past scores and talking and planning of future scores = main topic of conversation  Crimes escalate, start from nuisance crimes such as vandalism, to break and centers, then armed robberies, and other profit-motivated crimes such as drug-trafficking  Prison contributes to the escalation, as “success” is defined by the type of scores you do  To leave crime is to lose your contact with your circle of friends, acquaintances, and a comfort zone in which your self-efficacy or level of confidence is high. It is both a physical and mental process Prison  Throughout the road to prison, a process of emotional detachment occurs, where you learn to block out things that will affect you emotionally and will affect the quality of your time. The outcome of this detachment translates into coldness that you may or may not be aware of  Prison is about conformity and to stand out is to go against the reality of the day-to- day existence  Change or the desire to change is situational. One day you want to go straight, then the next you are content to remain where you are  The social norms of prison life and routine shape your worldview slowly so that eventually you do not even have to physically look the other way not to see  It is a small world where you are molded and sculpted by years on the range and in the yard  Person develops a keen sense of intuition, or belief that they have one  Experiences on the street and in prison with like-minded people condition you to be aware of both facial and body language. Ex. Walking by someone, staring at them and bumping into them means you want a challenge  In the small world of a prison, something so small as bumping into someone is often magnified, because you own little except the “respect” you have earned, command, and must maintain  In “The Expanding Prison” the author argues that prison becomes a habit that is hard to break, it removes people who are poor at decision making from the need to make any decisions at all. In prison, you don’t even open the door for yourself. Everything is decided for you  Physical and mental distance from loved ones and the world means that to keep sane, you must try to stay busy and avoid thinking  The fine balance is that it does not help to dwell on your sentence or lose sight of the outside world yet the reality is that a long prison sentence does mean that many inmates do lose contact with loved ones and close friends  Lack of social and human stimuli carry implications for when you are released, because most situations you encounter outside are totally new and you lack the ability to deal with them  Institutionalization = inability to cope with new environment Friends and Acquaintances  Note that the “con code” is that you don’t accept people for what they are, you accept people for what they can do for you or what you can do for them Prison Culture and the Aboriginal Community  When you leave prison, you take back into the community the attitudes, values, and cognitive maps that you learned and used in prison. The result is that the Aboriginal community and youth are influenced by this prison culture  For the Aboriginal society, doing time has become intergenerational and normal, almost a rite of passage  When released from prison, the odds are that you will go back into the “high-risk” environment  Almost impossible to maintain positive growth in prison Jobs  “Nine-to-five” routine does not appeal to most criminals. Having a job means drudgery, rules, and having a boss (problem with authority)  Significant factor in recidivism is the lack of decent employment and lack of marketable job skills  Lack of job skills combined with a criminal record and few references closes more doors than it opens  Also, lack of education, hinders most men in searching for job  Also, social skills which are vital to live a healthy balanced life and also a asset for employers but the closed world of prison rarely allows for interaction with people of varying circumstances and interests  Basically, prison routine does not allow real social experience, you don’t learn proper life skills that you need to know and often the stock of knowledge learnt in prison is not useful at all Change and Growth  Morin believes that people change only when they want to and believe that they are capable of doing so  Ivan believes that change occurs when you recognize that yea I can contribute and that I am a good person Corrections, the Courts, and the Constitution Michael Jackson  End of the 19 century, the legislative framework governing penitentiaries in Canada was concerned mainly with assigning responsibilities for the management of institutions  Thus, the Penitentiary Act of 1886 stated, o The following general rules shall be observed in the treatment of convicts in a penitentiary:  (a) every convict shall, during the term of his confinement, be clothed, at the expense of the penitentiary, in suitable prison garments;  (b) he shall be fed on a sufficient quantity of wholesome food;  (c) he shall be provided with a bed and pillow and sufficient covering, varied according to the season; and  (d) he shall, except in case of sickness, be kept in a cell by himself at night, and during the day when not employed  The contours of the legislative landscape of imprisonment, dominated by the Penitentiary Act, remained relatively unchanged through the 20 century, until the enactment of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act in 1992  The Penitentiary Act delegated the Cabinet with the power to make regulations, thus it was left to the regulations to set out what constituted a disciplinary offence and to establish the criteria under which the prisoner could be placed in segregation. BUT even then, this only represented a small part of rules governing the prisoners lives Beyond the Ken of the Courts  The framework for which the responsibility for the conditions of confinement and treatment of prisoners was delegated to the penitentiary officials was supported reluctantly by the courts of Canada to review the decisions of prison officials in response to challenges by prisoners to inhumane conditions or unfair treatment  The courts role was to enforce legal rights, since the prisoners were seen as persons without rights; their complaints were necessarily beyond the ken of the courts.  The rationale for the “hands-off” doctrine was later supplemented by an additional argument, that the judicial review of such administrative decisions would subvert the authority of the prison officials  Prisoners were seen as the “slaves of the state”  Prisoners were beat for minor rule infractions, worked hard, starved, forced to live in filth, and made to suffer cruelties and hardships  The effect of the hands-off approach was to immunize the prison from public scrutiny through the judicial process and to place prison officials in a position of virtual invulnerability and power over the persons committed to their institutions  Great deal of irony that imprisonment, the ultimate product of our CJS, itself epitomizes injustice  To re-dress the situation, the Sub-Committee advocated that two principles be accepted: o The Rule of Law must prevail inside penitentiaries  The Rule of Law establishes rights and interests under law and protects them against the illicit or illegal use of any power, private, or official, by providing recourse to the course through the legal process  The administrative process, may or may not protect these things, or may itself interfere with them, depending on the discretion of those who are given statutory administrative powers  In penitentiaries, almost all elements of the life and experience of inmates are governed by administrative authority rather than law  Conclude that such situation is neither necessary for, nor had it resulted in the protection of society through sound correctional practice o Justice for inmates is a personal right and also essential condition of their socialization and personal reformation  Implies both respect for the person and property of others and fairness in treatment  The arbitrariness traditionally associated with prison life must be replaced by clear rules, fair disciplinary procedures and the providing of reasons for all decisions affecting inmates Why Say Sorry When I Didn't Do It?: The Dilemma of the Wrongfully Convicted. Richard Weisman  Remorse is expected and appreciated by others, including the victim; the law imposes more lenient sentences on remorseful offenders, such as those who please guilty in court  A dilemma arises for persons who are wrongfully convicted and who the enter the correctional system: they are expected to express remorse, yet they remain adamant in their claims of innocence – treated more harshly by correctional authorities  Richard Weisman, York University states showing no remorse and making any statement (such as an apology) leads the judge to give the offender a harsher sentence Importance of Remorse in Criminal Justice  People who show remorse are viewed as deserving of compassion, and as entitled to mitigation in the form of a more lenient punishment  Those who do not show remorse (prior to being sentenced) are viewed more harshly and denied the benefits of mitigation  Because expressions of remorse are linked to mitigation, it is difficult to decide whether offenders say they are sorry because they mean it or because they want to obtain a more lenient sentence  Long before their vindication, the wrongly convicted are designated as persons who lack remorse, and they are separated from those who are characterized as having remorse – perceived as not acknowledging responsibility for their crime and not having any feelings of sorrow or empathy for their victim(s)  The most widely publicized instances in which remorse makes a difference have involved the life-or-death decisions of jurors in capital trials in the united states  The offenders remorse is one of the most important determinants of whether a jury will decide in favour of death rather than a life sentence in capital trials  The social preoccupation with remorse is also illustrated in the public response to offenders who commit offences that shock the sensibilities of their communities  How people feel about their wrongful acts is as important to the courts and to the public as why they did it or that they did it Why Be More Lenient Toward People Whom Express Remorse?  The expressions of remorse tell us whether those who have violated the communities norms feel the same way about their misdeeds as would those who are law-abiding – social psychologists have demonstrated that groups respond with empathy and compassion if they believe that a wrongdoer is sorry for his or her misconduct; more punitive if perceive wrongdoer feels indifferent to the harm they have caused  Judges denounce offenders who fail to show remorse while showing mercy to those who do – reflect and affirm communities shared values  The widespread belief that offenders who feel remorse are less likely to offend again  Judges as well as members of the public tend to view remorse as revealing ones true character: if at the deepest level of feeling, offenders condemn their own actions, then, it is possible that the emotional pain they experience may help deter them from further misconduct  Many correctional authorities regard remorse as the first step toward rehabilitation  These justifications for leniency lose their force if the expression of remorse is strategic or insincere rather than genuine – judges and juries are also interested in whether what is shown corresponds to what is felt  Most expressions of remorse leave room for doubt as to whether appearance corresponds to reality  This potential gap between appearance and reality can also work the other direction; a claim not to feel remorse can be invalidated by what are perceived as underlying feelings of guilt or shame The Problem of Remorse for the Wrongly Convicted  Wrongful convictions often involve a multiplicity of errors and occasional wrong doings that may implicate different levels of the criminal justice
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