Essay on Rehabilitation of Prisoners

Published: 2021/12/17
Number of words: 2321


The primary aim of the research paper is to find out the roles of correctional facilities in rehabilitating offenders. The research article also finds out the causes of crimes, how U.S. prisons work with the judiciary to reduce crimes, and the effectiveness of prisons in the U.S. In addition, the research explains recidivism rates and reasons for recidivism in the U.S.

Key Words

Recidivism, rehabilitation, parole, incarceration, and probation

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Concerning the increased numbers of offenders around the globe, and particularly in the United States, the correctional facilities have improved to accommodate the growing numbers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 2018, the incarceration rate of African Americans in U.S. local jails accounted for 34% of incarcerated black males population, giving the highest percentage rate of any ethnicity in prisons. However, (BJS) also shows that the incarcerated white males accounted for 29% of the total male prison population. On the other hand, the statistic showed that incarcerated white females comprised 47% of the prison population, while that black female accounted for 18% of the female population (Fay, 2021). In this regard, the BJS indicates that black males give a higher percentage than the whites’ of the total male prison population in the U.S. On the other hand, the statistics also proved that white females have a higher share percentage than black females confined in prisons (Fay, 2021). To be confined in jails, they must have committed crimes contrary to what the administrative state requires. The theoretical approaches that explain the causes of crimes are biological, psychological, sociological, economic, developmental life-course, and geographical theories. Biological theories explain the physical body aspect, such as brain structures, inherited genes, and the roles of hormones in influencing behavior (Sheppard, Lawshe, & McDevitt, 2021). Under the psychological theory, it focuses on human cognition and how it relates to criminal behavior. On the other hand, sociological theories focus on the influence of the organization of the society, while economic theory explains how the provision of incentives influences offending. Developmental life-course and geographical theories focus on human developmental stages that influence the individual propensity for criminal behavior. The latter focuses on how the physical environment encourages or discourages criminal behavior (Sheppard, Lawshe, & McDevitt, 2021). Although the United States leads the world in its incarceration, crime rates have continued to remain higher hence imposing significant challenges in the state. Therefore, the disciplinary department’s main aim is to ensure that the community is safe by integrating the offenders back to the community. Rehabilitation facilities allow offenders to be re-trained to fit back in society, enhancing the reduced chances of reoffending. Therefore, it is the work of the correctional facilities to employ different forms of rehabilitation programs such as education, psychological counseling, and corporal punishments where necessary (Beck, 2009). To control the crime rates, the department of correctional facilities works together with justice agencies to provide reports useful in achieving full rehabilitation of criminals. The correctional facilities are classified depending on the nature of the offending committed. For example, the state correctional department is controlled by the administration government and is responsible for correcting common criminal offenses in the society that include all forms of violence. On the other hand, the national bureau controls the federal correctional department and focuses on the crimes done against the government, boundaries, and those against the governmental officials.

Thus, the article presents functions of the correctional facilities, the difference in functioning between the departments controlled by the state government and the federal department held by the federal bureau, and finally, check if both of the facilities are in condition or if one is better than the other.

Roles of Correctional Departments in Rehabilitation of Prisoners

State and federal correctional departments have the same objectives. For instance, they aim at incarcerating and protecting the welfare of the community. However, the two institutions employ different methods to arrive at their aim, discussed later in this paper (Beck, 2009). The word “correctional facility/services are probably to replace the word prisons or penology. This is because both institutions target corrections rather than penalties or punishments for the offenders. The term correctional system may seem broad since the department oversees a wide range of programs that influence changes and rehabilitates the offenders. Such programs include incarceration, educational, counseling, and therapeutic psychological services (Beck, 2009). Some inmates are released on conditions; hence, the correctional facilities aim to ensure community supervision. Programs under community supervising include parole, probation, and recidivism.

The Incarceration Programs

Incarceration is a process of confining the persons purported to have perpetrated forms of crimes in society. Inmates are the persons booked in prisons, jails, or other correctional facilities (Norman & Ricciardelli, 2021). The number of inmates in the U.S. correctional facilities is increasing terribly in the state correctional facilities. This shows an increased rate of crime hence increasing the incarceration rates. Prisons are the confinement area for the people suspected of committing crimes but have not yet been proved guilty (Beck, 2009). The courts release most of the persons confined in these prisons. On the other hand, prisons are used to incarcerate these persons confirmed guilty by the criminal justice. The incarceration process in these institutions targets punishing and reforming the criminals. The role of the correctional facilities in these institutions is to ensure that educational programs to rehabilitate inmates are implemented maximumly (Beck, 2009). According to the seriousness of the crime committed, the prisons are divided into high, medium, and minimum prisons. In addition, the correctional department identifies the inmates with the capacity to harm others during the incarceration process. Thus, enabling the institutions to set aside solitary confinement places for the inmates who become violent to the correctional officers and the other inmates.

The Community Supervision Programs

After the incarceration process, the inmates are released under some conditions whereby the released inmate is closely monitored. In this situation, the inmates are given freedom, but the correctional facilities closely supervise them. Supervision is required since there are potentials where the released inmates do the same crimes since they are freely interacting with the other members of society. The programs offered by the correctional department under community supervision include parole, probation, and recidivism.

Parole enables the court to release the inmates under some conditions such as restricted freedom and supervision. The inmate under parole must fulfill all the requirements by the court to enjoy their space (Norman & Ricciardelli, 2021. The correctional department employs parole officers to supervise the inmates in the community. Qualified employed personnel ensures inmates don’t engage in any criminal activities by controlling where the parolee lives and with whom they interact (Lockett, 2020). It also involves subjecting the parolee to various drug and electronic tests and monitoring if they had a history of abusing drugs and probably contributed to their delinquency. The parole officers report to the criminal justice system if the parolee completes the conditions on the release. If any attempts to violate the supervision are reported, the parolee is taken back to the correctional facility (Lockett, 2020). According to the data collected from BJS in 2019, it shows that the total number of adults on parole decreased by an estimated 41,300 offenders from the year 2018-2019 (Fay, 2021). The other function of the rehabilitation department is to prevent recidivism. Recidivism is a process by which former inmates engage in crime or break the law against property such as robbery or theft. This is because most of them are challenged in society due to their criminal activity history. They are discriminated against in employment hence are influenced to engage in maladaptive activities. However, the rehabilitation department employs paroles and probation officers to ensure the former inmates are incorporated into society financially and psychologically. On the other hand, where the inmates are not fully incarcerated, the correctional departments employ probation. In some cases, a court may order the offenders to serve their sentence in jails and others outside the prison under probation measures (Okonofua, Saadatian, Ocamp, Ruiz, & Oxholm, 2021). The correctional departments employ probational officers to rehabilitate the criminals outside the prisons. The roles of the probation officers are to help the inmates under probation on how to solve psychological issues and other emotional-related problems. Findings based on Federal Justice Statistics 2019 outlines that the probation population increased in 22 states and declined in 27 states, the Districts of Colombia, and the United States federal systems.

How do the United States and the Correctional Departments Operate?

The state correctional facilities in the U.S. have inadequate rehabilitation programs for the inmates. Correctional facilities are also poorly managed since the state largely depends on the tax generated to offer the incarceration programs. The tax generated is not enough to fund the correctional facilities because inmates are higher than the public prisons. However, with the prevailing problems caused by increased inmates, the U.S. government has continued struggling to implement programs that will yield to the entire rehabilitation process. Correctional agencies have been raised to counter the increased number of offenders. Their role is connecting the released inmates with supervisor officers who protect the offenders from harassment in society (Pellow, 2021). Agencies have realized that victims of the crime need special services such as emotional, psychological counseling, and financial care. Therefore, the agency engages the victims to offer emotional support, financial help, provide relevant information about the offenders to the victim. Such information may include the release date scheduled by the court. The notification for the release of the crime victims is an essential service to the victims who may start the safety precaution measures after the report. If the offenders released under parole are not fully rehabilitated and decide to engage in crime again, society is kept ready by the correctional department and takes precautions. The U.S. correctional departments also ensure protection to the witnesses, testifies, and victims from any harm, for example, harassment or intimidation.

Although reforms are being implemented in the state prisons to ensure efficient rehabilitation, the overcrowding and increased mental health care in the jails have increased the rate of recidivism in the U.S. The increased rate of recidivism gives a clear implication that correctional facilities could not rehabilitate inmates efficiently (Beck, 2009). Overcrowding in the prisons makes it hard for the correctional facilities to improve educational programs, therapeutic psychological programs, and adequate social amenities. The increased number of inmates diagnosed with psychosocial disorders makes it challenging to offer therapeutic programs fully. As a result, most of the inmates serve their sentences and are released unrehabilitated. Most of the crimes committed in the country are perpetrated by former prisoners (Beck, 2009). Most of the state correctional facilities in the U.S. have failed in their mission of ensuring safety in the community. This is because inmates released still endangers society in terms of peaceful existence.

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On the other hand, federal correctional facilities confine the persons who commit the federal laws. Federal crimes include white-collar and nonviolent offenses and are controlled by the federal government (O’Carroll, 2017). Since the federal government funds federal correctional facilities, they provide better services to the inmates. Their programs are pretty improved as compared to the state prisons. Due to a significant share of the budget, these facilities can ensure inmates are incarcerated thoroughly and efficiently following the quality rehabilitation programs implemented. In this case, federal crimes committed are fewer per year because the number of inmates incarcerated in federal facilities is lower than those in state prisons. Unlike most state prisons in the U.S., the federal inmates are taken through reentry preparation programs, which prepare for their release. Such programs include education on the expected daily activities in the community, employment, banking details, and job search techniques.

As observed, rehabilitation departments aim at achieving community supervision and the implementation of incarceration programs. Therefore, the role of correctional facilities is to hire qualified staff who will work in the performance of rehabilitation programs in society—the professionals employed to ensure maximum supervision of the inmates released to reintegrate back into the community. Depending on the court orders, inmates can either be released on parole or probation (Okonofua, Saadatian, Ocamp, Ruiz, & Oxholm, 2021). Incarceration ensures that the inmates are confined to serve their sentence according to the crime committed. The quality programs subjected to the inmates in attaining full rehabilitation make a difference between the states and federal correction departments. Although correctional facilities tirelessly work to implement correctional programs, rehabilitation has not been fully achieved because inmates have increased at high rates. As the number of inmates increases, the number of recidivists has also increased significantly.


Beck, J. (2009). Role of the Correctional Association of New York in a New Paradigm of Prison Monitoring. Pace L. Rev., 30, 1572.

Fay, R. E. (2021). Westat, Inc., this report was prepared using federal funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Kojola, E., & Pellow, D. N. (2021). New directions in environmental justice studies: examining the state and violence. Environmental Politics30(1-2), 100-118.

Lockett, A. J. (2020). The Lived Experience of African American Juvenile Parole and Probation Officers in the Pacific Northwest (Doctoral dissertation, Concordia University (Oregon)).

Norman, M., & Ricciardelli, R. (2021). Operational and organizational stressors in community correctional work: Insights from probation and parole officers in Ontario, Canada. Probation Journal, 0264550520984253.

O’Carroll, F. (2017). Inherently governmental: A legal argument for ending private federal prisons and detention centers. Emory LJ, 67, 293.

Okonofua, J. A., Saadatian, K., Ocampo, J., Ruiz, M., & Oxholm, P. D. (2021). A scalable empathic supervision intervention to mitigate recidivism from probation and parole. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences118(14).

Sheppard, K. G., Lawshe, N. L., & McDevitt, J. (2021). Hate crimes in a cross-cultural context. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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