1. Summarize the purposes of confinement in Europe before it became
a major way of punishing criminals.
2. Describe how offenders were punished before the large-scale use of
3. Explain why confinement began to be used as a major way of
punishing offenders in Europe.
4. Describe the recent trends in the use of incarceration in the United
5. List some of the characteristics of the incarcerated population in the
6. Describe how incarceration facilities are structured, organized, and
administered by the government in the United States.
7. Name some of the common types of correctional facilities in the
8. Identify some of the procedures that institutions employ to maintain
security and order.
9. List the services and programs that are commonly available to
This chapter presents a historical overview of institutional corrections. It takes as
its philosophical position that people who fail to remember the past are destined
to repeat its mistakes. It is impossible to fully understand the present state of
affairs without knowledge of the past.
Of course, any study of American prisons must begin with a look at the European
background. In Europe, large-scale imprisonment was not really invented yet.
Other forms of punishment were used instead of incarceration. Banishment, a
punishment originating in ancient times, required offenders to leave the
community and live elsewhere. Transportation was a punishment in which
offenders were transported from their home nation to one of that nation’s
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colonies to work. The workhouses were the European forerunners of the modern
U.S. prison. Here offenders were sent to learn discipline and regular work habits.
The penitentiary movement actually began in the United States. The two systems
that competed with each other were the Pennsylvania and the Auburn system.
The Pennsylvania system kept inmates in solitary cells so that they could study
religious writings, reflect on their misdeeds, and perform handcraft work. The
Auburn system in New York allowed inmates to work and eat together in silence
during the day, but they were placed in solitary cells in the evening. Eventually, t
the Auburn system was adopted throughout the United States.
In the 1870’s a reformatory movement was started in Cincinnati at the national
prison association. It emphasized academic and vocational training in addition to
work. Prisons for women began to make their appearance with the first woman’s
prison being opened in Indiana in 1873.
For most of the past 65 years, the incarceration rate in the U.S. was fairly steady.
It has been since 1973 that there has been continuing and sharp increase in the
amount of prisoners incarcerated. The adult prison population currently stands at
over 1,440,665. This is the most people locked up anywhere on the planet.
The characteristics of the inmate prison population shows that 93.4% are male
and only 6.6% are female. While African Americans occupy only 12% of the
population, they make up 45.4% of the prison population, while whites occupy
35.1% and Hispanics 17% of the prison population. Most prisoners have never
been married or are currently divorced. The chapter looks at many other
characteristics of prisoners such as age, education, employment, income, and
The chapter then discusses the different types of prisons in America. They range
from supermax security facilities to maximum security facilities, medium security
facilities and minimum security facilities. The chapter talks about the difference
between prisons and jails.
The chapter ends with a discussion of institutional security, services, and
programs. Included are inmate rehabilitation programs, education programs, and
I. Historical Overview of Institutional Corrections
People who fail to remember the past are destined to repeat its
mistakes. It is impossible to fully understand the present state of
affairs without knowledge of the past.
A. European Background
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Viewed historically, imprisonment is a relatively recent
sentence for lawbreaking.
B. Forerunners of Modern Incarceration
1. Banishment: A punishment, originating in ancient times,
that required offenders to leave the community and live
elsewhere, commonly in the wilderness.
2. Transportation: A punishment in which offenders were
transported from their home nation to one of that nation’s
colonies to work.
3. Workhouses: European forerunners of the modern U.S.
prison, where offenders were sent to learn discipline and
regular work habits.
4. Other important terms:
a. Penology The study of prison management and the
treatment of offenders
B. Panopticon: A prison design consisting of a round
building with tiers of cells lining the inner circumference
and facing a central inspection tower.
C. Developments in the United States
1. The Penitentiary Movement
a. Pennsylvania system: An early system of U.S.
penology in which inmates were kept in solitary cells so
that they could study religious writings, reflect on their
misdeeds, and perform handicraft work.
b. Auburn system: An early system of penology,
origination at Auburn Penitentiary in New York, in which
inmates worked and ate together in silence during the
day and were placed in solitary cells for the evening.
2. The Reformatory Movement
a. Started in Cincinnati at the National Prison
Association in 1870
3. Institution for Women
4. Twentieth Century Prisons
5. Privatization and Shock Incarceration
6. Cycles in History
II. The Incarceration Boom
A. Recent Trends
1. Cost Estimates
2. The Crowding Issue
a. Federal Prisoners, 2002, 163,528
b. State Prisoners, 2002, 1,440,665
Lecture Tip: Refer the students to Figure 10.1, p. 361. Ask
them if “in the good old days” did we put more people in
prison than we do today? Point out to them that this is the
most retributive period in the history of our country. We put
more people in prison with longer sentences today than we
ever have. IM-10 | 3
Lecture Tip: Ask the students what countries have the
highest incarceration rates. After they guess various
countries, refer them to Figure 10.2, p. 362. Show them that
the U.S. has the highest incarceration rates in the world. Ask
them why it is that popular opinion polls show that the people
in the U.S. believe that our sentences are too lenient and
“everyone gets off.”
B. Prison Inmate Characteristics
Male 93.4% Female 6.6%
Black 45.4, white 35.1, Hispanic 17.0, other 2.5
4. Marital Status:
Never Married, 57.1
5. Other: Education, Employment, Income, Homeless
Lecture Tip: Refer the students to Figure 10.3, p. 365. Review
all of the pie charts showing the specific characteristics of
III. Incarceration Facilities
A. Organization and Administration by Government
B. Classification and other special facilities
C. Men’s Prison
1. Maximum Security Facilities
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2. ―Supermax‖ Facilities
3. Medium –Security Facilities
4. Minimum Security Facilities
5. Custody Level vs. Security Level
D. Women’s Prisons and Co-correctional Facilities
E. Jails and Lockups
1. Jail Functions
2. Jail Populations
3. Jail Architecture and Management Philosophies
a. First-generation Jails
b. Second-generation Jails
c. Third-generation, or new-generation, or direct-
IV. Institutional Security, Services, and Progress
A. Security and Inmate Discipline
1. Protective Custody: The segregation of inmates for their
2. Administrative Segregation: The keeping of inmates in
secure isolation so that they cannot harm others.
3. Conjugal Visits: An arrangement whereby inmates are
permitted to visit in private with their spouses or significant
others to maintain their personal relationship.
4. Snitch System: A system in which staff learn from inmate
informants about the presence of contraband, the potential
for disruptions, and other threats to security.
B. Services and Programs
1. Inmates with special needs
2. Inmate Rehabilitation Programs
3. Education and Vocational Training
4. Counseling and Therapy
Banishment: A punishment, originating in ancient times, that required
offenders to leave the community and live elsewhere, commonly in the
wilderness. p. 351.
Transportation: A punishment in which offenders were transported from
their home nation to one of that nation’s colonies to work. p. 351.
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Workhouses: European forerunners of the modern U. S. prison, where
offenders were sent to learn discipline and regular work habits. p. 352.
Penology: The study of prison management and the treatment of
offenders. p. 353.
Panopticon: A prison design consisting of a round building with tiers of cells
lining their inner circumference and facing a central inspection tower. p.
Pennsylvania system: An early system of U. S. penology in which
inmates were kept in solitary cells so that they could study religious writings,
reflect on their misdeeds, and perform handicraft work. p. 354.
Auburn system: An early system of penology, originating at Auburn
Penitentiary in New York, under which inmates worked and ate together in
silence during the day and were placed in solitary cells for the evening. p.
Medical model: A theory of institutional corrections, popular during the
1940s and 1950s, in which crime was seen as symptomatic of personal
illness in need of treatment. p. 356.
Privatization: The involvement of the private sector in the construction
and the operation of confinement facilities. p. 357.
Shock incarceration: The placement of offenders in facilities patterned
after military boot camps. p. 358.
Incarceration rate: A figure derived by dividing the number of people
incarcerated by the population of the area and multiplying the result by
100,000; used to compare incarceration levels of units with different
population sizes. p. 361.
Classification facility: A facility to which newly sentenced offenders are
takes so that their security risks and needs can be assessed and they can
be assigned to a permanent institution. p. 368.
Security level: A designation applied to a facility to describe the
measures taken, both inside and outside, to preserve security and custody.
Custody level: The classification assigned to an inmate to indicate the
degree of precaution that needs to be taken when working with that inmate.
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Co-correctional facilities: Usually small, minimum-security
institutions that house both men and women with the goal of normalizing the
prison environment by integrating the daytime activities of the sexes. p. 374.
Lockup: A very short-term holding facility that is frequently located in or
very near an urban police agency so that suspects can be held pending
further inquiry. p. 374.
Jail: A jail is a facility, usually operated at the local level that holds convicted
offenders and unconvicted persons for relatively short periods. p. 374.
Protective custody: The segregation of inmates for their own safety. p. 383.
Administrative segregation: The keeping of inmates in secure isolation
so that they cannot harm others. p. 383.
Conjugal visits: An arrangement whereby inmates are permitted to visit
in private with their spouses or significant others to maintain their personal
relationship. p. 384.
Snitch system: A snitch system is a system in which staff learn from
inmate informants about the presence of contraband, the potential for
disruptions, and other threats to security. p. 384.
Milieu therapy: A variant of group therapy that encompasses the total
living environment so that the environment continually encourages positive
behavioral change. p. 389.
Crisis intervention: A counselor’s efforts to address some crisis in an
inmate’s life and to calm the inmate. p. 389.
Less-eligibility principle: The position that prisoners should receive no
service or program superior to the services and programs available to free
citizen without charge. p. 390.
Criminal Justice Websites
http://www.bop.gov/ This is the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, which
offers a closer look at the federal prison system. The student can explore the
mission and vision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Additionally, the
student can locate inmates or search for a job in the federal prison system.
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http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/correct.htm This is the link within the Bureau of
Justice Statistics website where the student can study the current and past
trends in corrections. It breaks down the statistics for prisons and jails.
Additionally, it offers insight into the total population under correctional
supervision, which also includes the people on probation and the inmates
who are on parole.
http://www.corrections.com/aja/index.shtml This is the home page of the
American Jail Association (AJA). This site provides information about the
AJA, including publications, resolutions, awards and scholarships, upcoming
conferences, jail manager certification, training schedules, the certified jail
manager program, and vendors. In addition, like the Federal Bureau of
Prisons website, it also offers a link to exciting job offerings.
http://www.corrections.com/index.aspx The Corrections Connection is home
to a number of correctional organizations on the Web, and includes links to
correctional associations, correctional healthcare sites, juvenile corrections,
legislation relevant to the area, online correctional libraries, prison
privatization information, religious support for prisoners, substance abuse
programs, educational programs for inmates, gang issues, unions, victims'
issues, and much more. In addition, like the Federal Bureau of Prisons and
the American Jail Association, it provides the student with a site where he or
she can explore job opportunities.
ta This website offers information on Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois.
This prison is designed according to Bentham’s Panopticon plan. This page
will offer insight into this particular prison. It offers statistics on what the
average annual cost is to house inmates as well as what the average age of
the inmates is.
This website is provided by the International Centre for Prison Studies. It
offers insight into prison population rates from all over the world.
Approximately 210 countries are included in these statistics.
http://www.cjsonline.org/virtual/prisons.html This website offers a virtual tour
of a prison in the United Kingdom. It is not unlike the prison system in the
United States. When you arrive on this web page, clink on launch and you
will be taken to the virtual tour. First it will show you how to use the page and
subsequently you are on your own. It will allow you to explore the process of
entering the prison as an inmate to the day you are released.
http://www.nicic.org/ This is the homepage of the National Institute of
Corrections. This site offers many interesting articles on prisons and jails. It
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is a great resource for the student who is preparing a term paper, or who is
just wanting more insight into a certain topic.
Go to the Bureau of Justice Statistics web page that deals with corrections
statistics at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/correct.htm Examine these pages
closely. After close examination, answer the following questions:
1. What is the current trend in the incarceration rate? Explain why this is the
2. How many people were under correctional supervision in 2002? What
percentage of those were on probation? What percentage of those were in
prison or jail?
3. Click on the link to the jails. Examine the statistics for 1993 and 2003.
What percentage of the inmates were female in these respective years? Is
there a difference between these two years? If so, what explanations can
you offer for this difference?
4. Look at the incarceration rate by race and ethnicity? Who has the highest
incarceration rate? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
5. Click on the link to the prisons. Look at the chart on this page. This chart
distinguishes between four types of crimes. What crimes are these?
6. Examine the drug and property crimes from question 5 above. Compare
the statistics of these crimes. Did you notice anything interesting in the
Read the article on Elmira Reformatory at
this article carefully and summarize it. It would be helpful to create a timeline
1. Who was Zebulon Reed Brockway?
2. How did Elmira compare to Sing Sing?
3. How were the inmates classified?
4. At what classification level did they enter Elmira?
5. The goal of the Elmira reformatory was reform. How was this achieved?
6. What type of inmates were typically sent to Elmira? What type of inmates
are now housed at Elmira? Explain this trend.
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Jeremy Bentham is accredited with many great contributions to criminal
justice and sociology. He designed the panoptican prison design discussed
in the chapter. Go to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/ and read about
Jeremy Bentham. After reading about Jeremy Bentham and the panoptican
design, answer the following questions:
1. What connection did Bentham have with the University of London?
2. How did Bentham develop an interest in the law?
3. When did Bentham die?
4. What is the Auto-Icon?
5. What Irish prison has a panoptican design?
6. What other countries have panoptican design prisons?
Visit the home page for Alaska Correctional Industries at
http://www.alaskaci.com/. Read the information at the bottom of the first
page, then ―Current Industries.‖ After reading this, answer the following
1. What is the purpose of correctional industries?
2. Do they serve any rehabilitative function? Why or why not?
3. Describe two of the industries listed at this site.
4. Is prison labor a constructive and constitutional use of prisoners’ time?
Why or why not?
Read the history of the Alabama Department of Corrections at
http://www.doc.state.al.us/history.htm Answer the following questions:
1. How did Alabama’s earliest citizens feel about having a prison system?
2. How were most punishments carried out before the prison system
3. Describe the first prison and prisoner.
4. Who was Julia Tutwiler?
5. What was the Yellow Mama?
6. How large are the current inmate population and the prison staff?
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Answers to In-Chapter Questions
Photo Caption: Stocks and Pillory p. 352
Is a greater emphasis on the shame of punishment needed today? If so, how
should it be accomplished?
Answer: Students may agree that shame should become a stronger part of
today’s correctional system, but may not agree on how it could be done
constitutionally, or how the concept of shame can work with modern
hardened criminals. Possibilities for accomplishing this include an increase
in public punishments.
Photo Caption: Elmira Reformatory p. 355
What caused the change in penal philosophy?
Answer: Many people were unhappy with the penitentiary system because
its emphasis on solitary confinement led to mental illness. In addition, the
reformatory system allowed for a greater use of prison labor, which allowed
prisons to become considerably more profitable than before.
Critical Thinking p. 359
Do you think that any of the forerunners to modern corrections (such as
banishment, etc.) could be used today? Why or why not?
Answer: Students’ answers will vary. Punishments like banishment or
transportation would cause a problem in today’s highly populated world, and
the likely question would be, ―Banishment to where?‖ Some students may
advocate a return to shaming punishments that make a public example of
Photo Caption: The Big House p. 356
What are some problems with the big-house prison design?
Answer: Students’ answers will vary; they may say that the big-house prison
design did not allow staff to watch all inmates at all times.
Critical Thinking p. 359
Do you think that shock incarceration has any merit? Why or why not?
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Answer: Many people will feel that it serves the short-term political purpose
of appeasing the public, but does not do much to reduce recidivism. If
anything, shock incarceration can give inmates the feeling that after such
incarceration, they will be prepared for anything.
Criminal Justice Online p. 362
Why do you think incarceration rates vary so greatly among different
Answer: Answers vary. Different nations incarcerate for different reasons,
crime levels vary between nations, and nations have different levels of
reliance on incarceration.
Critical Thinking p. 367
What do the characteristics of prison inmates say about American society as
Answer: They could be interpreted as saying that the United States has a
large amount of violent and drug offenders, and that state courts incarcerate
a large amount of black men for various offenses.
Criminal Justice Online p. 367
What does this Web site tell you about the state of corrections in the U.S.?
Answer: Like many other sources, this site paints a rather bleak picture
because of the overcrowding issue. You can ask students what can be done
to solve this and other prison problems.
Photo Caption: First Generation Jails p. 378
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in this type of jail?
Answer: The supervision of inmates is difficult because guards cannot see
into all the cells from one location. There is little direct contact between the
guards and the inmates.
Photo Caption: Second Generation Jails p. 379
What advantages do inmates gain from this interaction?
Answer: Inmates gain the advantage of being able to interact more freely
and also approach staff whenever it is necessary or desired. Students
should be able to think of other reasons.
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Photo Caption: Third Generation Jails: p. 380
Answer: Inmate rooms are arranged around a common area or dayroom
which allows for normal interaction between inmates. The officers are in the
dayroom and therefore have the opportunity to interact with the inmates on a
daily basis. This allows the guard the opportunity to collect needed
information about what is going on in the jail. This design allows for direct
supervision of the inmates.
Critical Thinking p. 382
What, if any, impact does a jail’s architectural design have on inmates?
Answer: Preliminary analyses of new-generation jails shows that these
facilities may provide a less stressful environment for inmates and may also
provide better supervision.
Photo Caption: Weapons p. 383
Where do inmates get the materials for these weapons?
Answer: They can come from a variety of sources, such as eating utensils,
writing utensils, and toothbrushes. You can point out to students that prisons
use solutions such as:
• Handle-less toothbrushes that inmates fit on the end of their fingers
• Requiring inmates to return all eating utensils after every meal
• Requiring inmates who work in prison kitchens to return all utensils to
a ―shadow-board‖ after use; this shadow-board, which contains
silhouettes of all of the utensils (such as knives) that are hung from it,
will easily show which utensils are missing
Photo Caption: Family Time p. 384
What are other advantages and disadvantages of family visitations?
Answer: Advantages include emotional and social support for inmates, as
well as a connection to the free world. Disadvantages include family
members who attempt to smuggle drugs, weapons, or other contraband
materials to inmates; in addition, negative family relations can cause inmate
morale to drop considerably.
Critical Thinking p. 390
Do you think inmate rehabilitation programs can truly make a difference?
Why or why not?
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Answer: Answers will vary depending on students’ opinions about
rehabilitation, the personality and motivation of the offender, and the
offender’s criminal record.
Answers to Review Questions p. 392
1. What did Cesare Beccaria, the Enlightenment thinker, mean when
he said that a punishment should fit the crime?
Answer: He meant this in two senses:
A -The severity of punishment should parallel the severity of the harm
resulting from the crime.
B -The punishment should be severe enough to outweigh the pleasure
obtained from the crime (such as the material gain from committing a
Beccaria felt that punishment should be not only severe, but also swift and
2. What reforms in penal institutions did John Howard advocate in his
book The State of the Prisons in England and Wales (1777)?
Answer: This book was based on Howard’s visit to penal institutions
throughout Europe, and on Howard’s shock at the appalling conditions he
found therein. Howard advocated the following:
A -Penal environments should be made safe, humane, and orderly.
B -Incarceration should not only punish inmates, but also instill discipline and
C -Prisons should provide an orderly institutional routine of religious
teaching, hard work, and solitary confinement to promote introspection and
You can point out that the term penitentiary became popular because of its
use by Howard. A penitentiary is a penal institution that houses penitents, or
people who are repenting of actions that they regret.
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3. What is generally considered the first state prison in the United
States, and of what did the daily routine of inmates in this prison
Answer: The first state prison in the United States was actually called a
jail—the Walnut Street Jail of Philadelphia, which was a holding facility
converted into a prison.
Inmates daily routine consisted of:
A -Laboring in solitary cells, doing handicraft work
B -Receiving large doses of religious teaching
C -Reflecting on their misdeeds
4. How did the Pennsylvania system of confinement differ from the
Auburn system of confinement, and which system became the model
followed by other states?
Answer: The Pennsylvania system, as noted above, focused on solitary
confinement in which inmates performed handicraft work, studied religious
writings, and reflected on their misdeeds. The Auburn system (also called
the New York system, the silent system, and the congregate system)
focused on inmates working and eating together, then returning to solitary
cells in the evening.
The Auburn system prevailed for three reasons:
A -The Pennsylvania system of solitary confinement created harmful
psychological effects, such as insanity.
B -The Auburn system allowed for factory production in prison labor, which
was far more cost-effective than individual handicrafts were.
C -Because inmates in the Auburn system spent most of their time outside of
their cells, their cells could be smaller with more inmates housed in less
You can ask students what they believe are the merits of each system.
Should either system be used today? Should elements of either system be
used? Why or why not?
5. What were the main features of the reformatory?
Answer: The features of the reformatory were as follows:
• Reformatories were designed for younger, less hardened offenders
between 16 and 30 years of age.
• They were based on a military model of regimentation, emphasizing
academic and vocational training in addition to work.
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• They used a classification system in which inmates were rated according
to their progress toward reformation.
• Sentences were for indeterminate periods, in which inmates served
sentences within given ranges (such as between two and eight years). They
could be released early or given parole for good behavior.
You can mention to students that this last characteristic is similar to today’s
parole system and to the indeterminate sentences used in juvenile
6. According to John Irwin, what three types of penal institutions have
dominated different parts of the twentieth century?
Answer: The three types of institutions, and their approximate heydays, are
• The ―big house‖ (1900–1930): A walled prison with large cellblocks with
three or more tiers, which housed an average of 2,500 men. These prisons
were old penitentiaries and reformatories that were converted and expanded
to accommodate larger inmate populations. Big houses were inmate
warehouses (you can point out to students that the concept of warehousing
inmates is not new) focusing on custody and repression.
• Correctional institutions (1940–1960): A smaller and more modern-looking
facility than the big house. These institutions supplemented, but did not
replace, big houses. They emerged as part of the medical model, which held
that crime was similar to personal illness in that it required treatment. The
emphasis, therefore, was on treatment and the subtle coercion that inmates
who did not respond to treatment would not receive a speedy parole.
• Contemporary violent prison (1960–present): This type of prison
developed by default when rehabilitation lost popularity. Because older
methods of restraining inmates became illegal during the 1960s, the result
was a power vacuum that was filled with inmate gang violence and
7. What is an incarceration rate, and why is it used?
Answer: An incarceration rate is found by dividing the number of people
incarcerated by the total population, then multiplying the result by 100,000.
This will show how many people per 100,000 in a given state, country, or
any other given area are incarcerated. These rates are used to show overall
adult incarceration rates.
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8. How does the incarceration rate of the United States compare with
the incarceration rates of other countries?
Answer: Refer students to Figure 10.2 on page 362 for a list of rates for 25
different nations, including the United States. This shows that the United
States has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.
Author James Lynch points out that the United States has higher
incarceration rates because it has higher crime rates; if crime rates were
leveled among other countries, the United States would be shown to use
imprisonment less in comparison with the existing rates of crime. In contrast,
Nils Christie and others state that crime rates are relatively stable and even
declining in some cases; therefore, the recent incarceration boom is not
justified by crime rates.
9. How do the authors of this textbook explain the prison
overcrowding crisis in the United States?
Answer: The authors state that prison overcrowding has become especially
troublesome over the past two decades, and can be explained as follows:
• Americans have become increasingly reliant on corrections to control
crime, although this system has never worked very well.
• Because of the disproportionate amount of money spent on imprisoning
more and more people, less money is earmarked for crime prevention and
community corrections programs that might reduce reliance on
• This creates a double-bind: crowding creates a need for effective
alternatives, but these alternatives cannot be afforded because of money
spent on institutional corrections.
• Ineffectiveness in community corrections and crime prevention (which
could be at least partially caused by inadequate funding) makes the problem
You can ask students how they feel this problem might be resolved. For
instance, should states be forbidden from building new prisons and forced to
focus more on crime prevention?
10. What are some major differences between the federal prison
populations and state prison populations?
Answer: Federal prison populations make up only ten percent of the
American prison population. In 1997, more than 60 percent of federal
inmates were serving time for drug offenses. More than 57 percent of federal
prisoners are white or Hispanic, and only about 38 percent were black.
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Federal inmates tend to be somewhat older and better-educated than state
State prison populations make up the other 90 percent of the American
prison population. In 2001, 49 percent of state prisoners were serving
sentences for violent offenses, about 20 percent for property offenses, about
21 percent for drug offenses, and the remainder for public order offenses.
Most state prisoners are male and black. Refer students to Figure 10.3 on
page 366 for a more detailed breakdown.
11. What is the official mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons?
Answer: The mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is ―to protect
society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prison and
community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure,
and that provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist
offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.‖
As of 1999, the BOP operated 98 institutions, with 21 more in various stages
of construction. Refer students to Figure 10-7 on page 369 for more
information on their current institutions.
12. What are the purposes of inmate classification?
Answer: Inmate classification serves many purposes. In most states,
inmates are initially sent to a classification facility, sometimes referred to as
an assessment, reception, or diagnostic center. At this facility and
throughout the inmate’s sentence, classification is used for the following:
• Assessing an offender’s security risk
• Determining which program services the offender needs, such as
counseling or education
• Deciding at which institution an offender will begin his or term
• Assessing which problems the offender must address while in prison, such
as substance dependency
• Assessing other factors, such as the nature of the offense and the
offender’s record, propensity toward violence and escape, and vulnerability
to victimization by other inmates.
• Routinely monitoring and reclassifying inmates for purpose of transfer,
programming, and release decisions.
• Providing special services for inmates with health or mental disorders.
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13. What are prison security and custody levels, and how do they
Answer: A security level is the way by which men’s prisons are often
distinguished, and an institution’s security level is determined by two related
A -The degree of external or perimeter security surrounding the prison
B -The measures taken to preserve security within the institution
The simplest security levels are maximum, medium, and minimum. As of
1999, different security levels are distributed among 1,419 correctional
facilities as follows:
• Maximum security (including super-maximum): 7.5 percent
• ―High/close‖ (between maximum and medium): 4.8 percent
• Medium security: 24.7 percent
• Minimum security: 18.2 percent
• Community/low security: 17.5 percent
• Multilevel security: 20.8 percent
• Intake facilities: 6.6 percent
Jurisdictions vary in the security levels that they use.
14. What are the purposes of a jail?
Answer: A jail is a facility run by a city or county government. Most jails are
small, about half hold less than 50 people, and serve a ―catch-all‖ function.
The purposes of jails are to hold:
• Unconvicted defendants who are awaiting arraignment or trial for short
periods of time.
• Juvenile offenders (sometimes), although this practice has been severely
criticized because juveniles are more vulnerable to influence and
victimization by adult criminals).
• Convicted offenders who are serving short sentences that are usually less
than a year.
• Convicted offenders who are awaiting transfer to prison.
• Offenders who have violated probation or parole.
• Vagrants, drunks, homeless people, and the mentally ill.
In addition to these populations, which were mentioned in the textbooks, jails
can also hold overflow inmates from state prisons, federal prisons, and from
jail systems of other cities. For example, the Union County Jail (Elizabeth
[near Newark], NJ) houses New Jersey state prisoners, federal prisoners,
and overflow from the New York City jail system.
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15. Why do jails represent one of the most problematic aspects of
There are many reasons for this, including:
• Lack of services and programs for inmates
• Inadequate staffing
• Unsanitary and hazardous living conditions
• The limited and unstable nature of local taxes to fund and staff jails
• A general lack of public support for jail reform
• Rapid rates of inmate turnover
• High diversity of inmate needs and risks
• Erratic and corrupt administration
You can ask students why jails receive so little attention from the general
public, and how jail reform can improve the quality of American jails.
16. What are some objectives of inmate rehabilitation programs?
Answer: Some objectives related to helping inmates better themselves are:
• Self-improvement, such as those offered by religious groups, Alcoholics
Anonymous, and the Jaycees
• Work programs; some institutions require work while others make it
voluntary. Inmates work in areas such as food service, maintenance,
laundry, and clerical and industrial work.
• Education programs, such as GED, ESL, and confidence-building courses.
In addition, many institutions offer college courses.
• Vocational training in many of the same industries offered through the
work programs. Inmates learn how to manufacture furniture, make sausage,
landscape gardens—a wide variety that changes from institution to
• Counseling and therapy, such as for substance abuse or anger
management. Inmates understand that failure to show progress will prevent
an early release.
In addition, all of these programs help inmates manage time by giving them
ways to occupy themselves, help the institution achieve control over
inmates, and are used by staff as leverage in punishment, rewards, and
17. What is the less-eligibility principle, as applied to corrections?
Answer: The less-eligibility principle holds that prisoners should receive no
service or program (such as a free college education) that is superior to the
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services and programs offered to free citizens without charge. This creates a
dilemma because many traditional inmate jobs will not pave the way for
satisfying careers in the real world, but many citizens resent prisoners
receiving free technical or professional training.
Answers to Critical Thinking Exercises
1. The two main issues here are inmate rights and the less-eligibility rule.
Some students will refer to the less-eligibility rule stating that these inmates
are lucky to be receiving expensive treatment for free. Some students will
believe that the authorities may be manipulating inmates and using them
unfairly as guinea pigs.
2. Some students will point out that sometimes ex-offenders simply lie about
their past in order to get employment. Others will state that ex-offenders
should not have to reveal their status after a certain period of law-abiding
behavior, like seven years; however, that will not help ex-offenders get jobs
before that time elapses.
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