1. Chapter 84 states, “In Texas, substance abuse program capacity can only serve 5% of the potential population in need (Lynch & Sabol, 2001).” I find this statement to be shocking. Only 5% of prisoners with drug and alcohol addictions can participate in programs to help break the addiction. Prisons should be used to punish and rehabilitate individuals who have committed crimes. To ensure they’re rehabilitated, prison systems should identify underlying issues like substance abuse and treat them so they do not reoffend. Crime rates could go down drastically and the prison systems wouldn’t be filled with drug offenders. Another topic I found to be interesting is 75% of incarcerated women are mothers to young children. Many children have to go through some point of their life without their mother. Depending on the child’s age, the absence of their mother can be detrimental to their development. Children of criminals can have a harder impact if their mother is incarcerated because most women are the primary caretaker. Children from criminal mothers could be at a higher risk for imprisonment.
2. Between 1990 and 2005, the only countries in the world to execute someone who was under the age of 18 when the crime was committed were the United States of America, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. I think this says a lot about how behind our criminal justice system was. At one point the United States, a “first world” country, was giving the same punishment to juveniles as “third world” countries. The United States ultimately executed 22 people in a span of 30 years. I do not believe that any human who commits a crime as an adolescent should be sentenced to death. With proper rehabilitation and counseling, those individuals could grow into law abiding citizens. “In 1995, a total of 326 people were sentenced to death—the highest number since 1977;” In the following years, the amount of death sentences steadily decreased. In 2010 there were 114 death sentences awarded and in 2015, only 49 criminals received capital punishment. I believe there are many reasons why the death penalty isn’t practiced as it once was. As science and technology advance, regular people aren’t limited to accessible resources. Inmates have the capability to appeal cases and use new scientific evidence to their advantage. Also, I believe that life in prison without the possibility of parole is viewed as a worse punishment than ending a criminal’s life. There is prolonged thinking and suffering for an individual being kept in a prison cell for the remainder of their life.
3. Offender Classification is a structure used to identify the risks and treatments of prisoners. Classifications are assessments made during the entire processing into a correctional facility. From incarceration, sentencing, release, to their parole or post release supervision guidelines. Prisoners with a higher risk will be placed in a correctional facility that ranges from minimum security to maximum security. The Level of Service Inventory-Revised is an instrument used to assess inmates on 54 areas to determine their risk of criminal behavior. To determine mental status of an offender, the Psychopathy Checklist- Revised is used. The inmate is evaluated on interpersonal relations as well as their social deviance. For criminals with mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders determines the mental state of offenders. I think offender classification is as reliable as it can be. I think human error and interpretation can cause a test to sway one way or another. For a more trustworthy result, an inmate should be interviewed more than once. If an inmate answers the questions differently each time they are assessed, it may be difficult to identify their risks and treatment needs.
Executions in the United States. (2016). http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions-united-states
Offender Classification and Assessment. http://www.jblearning.com/samples/0763741140/Correctional_Counseling_Chapter_2.pdf