The American Corrections System.

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The American Correction System

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What is the American Correction System in the first place? The Criminal Justice System in the US is represented by three independent agencies-law enforcement, sentencing and Corrections. The min responsibilities of Corrections are as follows

1) Ensure the safety of civilians from criminals

2) See to it that the offender is punished in whatever form it may be

3) Prepare the convict for rehabilitation once the release takes place.

However, why is correction necessary? “They committed the crime, so why the grumbling now?” says the average American. However, what the average American does not know is that

(Sourced from the Bureau of Justice Statistics).

the US only houses 5% of the world’s population but also is the home of 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. Therefore, at any one time our prisons are always overcrowded ten to twenty percent. Now let us look at the economic cost. Michael Jacobson, director of the non-partisan Vera Institute of Justice, and who ran the prisons and corrections of New York City in the 1990’s puts the figure at $31,307 in 2010, on an average (CBS, 2012). That is what the taxpayer is paying to be free from crime.

So considering no parole, the probation rises steeply, which is not desirable. Nevertheless, what choice do the judges have? Alarid et al defines as ‘sentencing by the judge as fit to live in the community for a fixed period under observation’ (2011). Probation is conditional that is though the judge believes that the felon poses no harm to the society, if he/she is found to break the hundred and one rules, and then this may lead to a revocation of the probation. The third option is residential correction centers, which these days have gained popularity than before. The residential correction centers are nothing other than smaller prisons/jails. The theory is that instead of a jail, let the prisoner be in a jail, which is very different from a prison. The prisoner will learn the error of his ways as he is in contact with the normal people. What is forgotten however is that the stigma of a prison is associated with it combined by the fear of revocation and being sent to an actual prison.

There is however another possibility which is rarely taken or considered together with the above three. This can be made applicable to the person who has been found guilty of non-violent crime such as pickpockets, minor burglaries etc. Many people are of the opinion that these people should be asked to render free services to the society in imaginative manners.

This is just one option ,which has been mentioned. As we know the ground rules, we can think of other types of innovative punishments of minor felons in such ways that have the same results. If this is done, all the people concerned from the warden, prisoner, probation officer’s, etc. benefit. Let us try out and see the feasibility of these solutions. Maybe, every one of us can benefit from such an action plan, in the long run.


· Alarid.A, Cromwell P and DalCarmen R.V.(2008);
Community Based Corrections;
Thomson Higher Education, CA (Belmont), USA

· “The cost of a nation in Incarceration”, 2012/4/22;



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