Prisoner Brutality In Prisons

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The existence of prisoner brutality within correctional institutions is not only a reflection of the larger society as well as a byproduct of the prison subculture, but is also the cause of vast consequences and resulting great implications on inmates, officers, communities, the justice system, and society as a whole, making its increasing yet well-hidden prevalence an essential issue to be uncovered and addressed by the United States. Abusive behavior of inmates and correctional staff has been an essential aspect of prison culture since the founding of the American penal system. Housing a number of violent and non-violent convicted criminals in close confinements provides a logical explanation as to why prisons are subject to an environment…show more content…
The implementation of determinate sentencing laws in the 1970s triggered the emergence of a correctional system focused on reintegration rather than previous rehabilitative goals (Sullivan, 126). The harsher, more conservative societal view on crime saw the imprisonment of criminals as a proper form of punishment, but as a form of punishment alone. Consequentially, the population of the United States prisons doubled from 1971 to 1980; then once again from 1981 to 1995, resulting in the development of one of the greatest and ever-growing correctional issues facing modern-day American society – the overcrowding of prisons. A shortage of resources, such as educational and vocational programs, leaves many prisoners idle while serving their sentences. Without such activities being available to inmates, their daily routine returns into a monogamous state resulting in boredom. Loomis, a former inmate at Alcatraz Prison, describes the effect of such a lifestyle on inmate behavior: “Life gets so monotonous you feel like bucking the rules to break the monotony,” (Oliver, 66). In addition to idleness repetition, overcrowding also increased the difficulty of imposing discipline, resulting in greater availability of drugs, flourishing gangs, and an increased threat in brutality between prisoners (The Oxford History of the Prison, 237). One of the most fundamental resources of correctional institutions, the correctional officers, are also being vastly outnumbered. The new focus of corrections and society as being “tough on crime” affects the lives in which inmates, officers, and the community must now live by. Donald Specter, director of the Prison Law Office in California, claims that this “’culture’ of our prisons virtually dictates the level of violence that you will have in

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