Classification System in California's Prisons

Essay by KRYSTINAUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2002

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Our ideas about the purpose of prisons and the methods of dealing with prisoners have changed during the past fifty years. The increasing number of repeat offenders in our prisons strongly suggests that the policy of putting criminals into prison in order to get revenge against them for the crimes they have committed, is an economic waste and a serious danger to society. Allowing the release of bitter defendants into society, individuals who are turned out of prison unwilling and unable to earn an honest living, is an unfortunate reality. It has become quite evident that the protection of society rather than revenge against the criminal should be the guide in the treatment of prisoners. Prison administrators have commenced to realize that 97 per cent of those who go to prison are released into society sooner or later, and that it is the job of an institution to try to send them out physically, mentally, and morally better than they were when they entered.

Research and study in the fields of medicine, psychology, the social sciences, education, and other subjects dealing with human beings has added to our understanding of people and changed many of our older ideas about the reasons for these individual's behavior. It was only natural, therefore, that specialists in these different fields of study should be called into the prison system to add their knowledge and skills to the practical experience and knowledge of those already in charge of penal institutions. This fundamental change in our ideas about the purpose of imprisonment and the introduction of specialists into prison the system has had an immediate effect. It has made the individual prisoner the important element in prison management.

Mass treatment may provide sufficient punishment, but experience has demonstrated that it is an...