THis essay is about American Prison Reform, the many changes, as well as both sides of the issue- DOes it need to be reformed? It also concludes and solves the issue.

Essay by katyeedydHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

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"Once an individual has been convicted of a criminal offence the government has the right to administer a sanction." (Criminal Justice, p. 209) While this may be anything from a fine to incarceration, in the past century imprisonment has been the favored option. During the 1960's and 70's when there was little emphasis on the prison system and incarceration, crime rates soared. Yet by the mid-1970's when the prison population increased along with the number of sentences given, crime rates dropped dramatically. These statistics show that there is a clear connection between a rise in imprisonment and a decrease in crime, yet people still a question whether prisons are effective. Except the debate should not be if prisons are effective, more accurately how can prisons be made more effective. Whereas the American Prison System has changed dramatically since the early 20th century, the system is still in dire need of reform.

A few of the major changes that have taken place since the early 1900's are professionalization of prisons, the classification of inmates, halfway houses, inmate programs (such as education and the notorious weight lifting), and strict rules and judicial supervision. The first of which, and perhaps the most altering was professionalization. Throughout the 20th century the prison system became more formal, and advanced into a specialized field of study and practice. There were four key factors for this change. Organizations like the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) helped create standards and provided expert authority. Also many prison employees were chosen due to their qualifications, versus political favor. The other two factors were the development as criminal justice and corrections as a field of study, and more meticulous training for all correctional employees. Thus the correctional facilities became more significant and effective as forms...