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Prison System for a Democratic Society


This report is designed to transform the corrections department to form a system favorable for democracy, seek to address the needs of different groups of offenders and their constraining areas especially women who are often not favored by the Current Prison system. The report should further put into place the vision and policies to be applied within the corrections system. (Yessine & Bonta, J 2006).

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Need for preparedness

There is a need for preparedness in responding to the increasing numbers of offenders’ majority who are female, holding into account that the available penal institutions are made to suit the penal needs of male offenders. The resources available are also far much stretched beyond the needs they can meet. These shortages are in infrastructure, personnel and needs for special groups like female prisoners. The available infrastructure may be too much worn-out therefore the need for replacement or construction of a new one arises. These shortages result in overcrowding in the penal institutions especially within the cells and bed space may not be enough for the available prisoners. (James & Dragan, 1996).

The current central administrative structure does not favor the improvement of levels of accountability; security needs of the institution and the personal and special group requirement. This can be done through the devolution of power where the lower levels manage their own affairs. Also, an upward communication system can be applied to ensure that the needs of every individual and unit within the system are addressed. The addition of the overstretched resources like bed capacity, repair of the deteriorating prison equipment, personnel shortage, and lack of personnel morale and motivation can also be achieved better with grass-root management mode than through reliance on finance and decisions from a multilayer bureaucratic management. (Yessine & Bonta,J, 2006).

The need for legislaton

Legislation should be passed to avoid extension of remand time. This will in turn help in reducing the number of those held in punitive institutions in pre-detention. The shortage of resources to cater for the daily running of the institution, delays in passing draft penal codes into laws will also be dealt with effectively. The Low recruitment of penal staff that leads to a shortage of personnel, implementation of the U.N and European penal management standards to improve the standards in these institutions, simplifying investigation processes are also issues that should be addressed. (James & Dragan, 1996).

For the sentenced offenders there should be a setting of minimum sentences for minor offenses employ reduction of sentence length and using more of out of prison penalties for minor crimes. The space needs for prisoners and the provision of adequate sanitation in cells should be addressed. The authorities should put into place productive activities for prisoners to engage in and the management powers should be devolved so as to make the monitoring of these institutions better. The introduction of productive activities would also make funds for better management of the penal institutions. The policies should provide for alternative societal programs to reduce the number of imprisonments. (Michael, 2007).

Need for decentralization

There is also the need to apply decentralization to solve the problem of complexity of these institutions by putting up a system that enables inmate monitoring and service delivery to cater to the personal needs of the employees. This will improve institutional discipline, classification, sentencing, and organizational functioning programs. It would also make resource and personnel organizations and further improve the relationships within these institutions. This will simplify things by delegating the minor duties like probation, parole, fining, community service, and work release to the lower staff. These levels of administration should include the central, regional, and organizational levels of the institution. (James & Dragan, 1996).

There is also a need to view the institution as a complex of working units and not an automatic structure. This is meant to modify, enhance or substitute the outdated structural designs used in operation where necessary. There is further a need to improve the different communication levels to enable the identification of problems in different parts of the system. This will further improve the leadership processes and increase the creativity and motivation of workers. Having a participatory decision-making process where the different departments are involved will create more interest in work. The levels of interaction among staff members can also be used to improve the goal-setting process to encourage more interest of workers towards achieving the set goals. The exploitative dictatorial chain of command should be replaced with more participatory models so as to enhance the management process. (Michael, 2007).

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There is a need to set up a supportive administration that allows for the involvement of the different groups in decision making and setting of organizational goals. This will help to avoid the cumbersome multilayered bureaucratic leadership that deters productivity. There is also the need to establish management models that employ objectives, quality circles and job increment. This will in turn bring about quality improvement, better service provision, and improve the innovativeness and adaptability of personnel. (Yessine & Bonta, J, 2006).

Other managerial models to be applied will be the employment of multi-disciplinary staff like counselors and psychologists to take care of the different correctional demands. Workers should be encouraged to engage in more levels of work to encourage creativity and initiative among themselves. Efforts leading to the identification of special needs of new prisoners should be practiced so as to know those who may need attention like medical care. The act of classification should be done carefully so as to be able to avoid exploitation on the basis of sex, age and harassment of inmates by cellmates. Educational and spiritual programs for inmate empowerment and rehabilitation should also be introduced. (Michael, 2007).

In dealing with the specific female inmates’ problems, it will be important to note that the number of women offenders is on the rise and that the crimes they commit are major of nonviolent properties and drug-related nature. The fact that the female gender requires fairer treatment is not catered for in the penal institutions currently. The major design of the correctional system to meet the security needs of male offenders can pose a threat to the staff and other inmates. Women on the other hand are vulnerable to staff misconduct and should be secured from this and their health needs are addressed. (Yessine & Bonta,J2006).

Further, it should be noted that female offenders often have a history of health and mental problems, substance abuse, past criminal records and the majority are poorly educated therefore unemployed or underemployed. They may also have never been married, most are black and with a past history of abuse. This shows that female crime is more society based either from the adverse social environment or neglect. (Michael, 2007).

From imprisonment, female offenders will face problems of trauma recovery, will lack access to educational and vocational training, and have difficulty of reentry and integration into the community. They will often lack access to housing due to the requirement placed by the policies not to have criminal records. At times they fail to be reunified with their families. The other problem is the ban from receiving financial or foodstuff assistance for the upkeep of their children. (James & Dragan, 1996).

It is evident that the present situation within the penal institutions is not favorable to the needs and welfare of women and therefore some action of applying better policies that can address these deficiencies in policy and practice is required. The policies employed should be gender-sensitive that provide a safe respectful and dignified environment, should provide for relational programs with family and the community, address the trauma problem, mental problems, and substance abuse through culturally integrated services administration. They should also provide women with opportunities to advance their socio-economic status and mobilize the community to employ methods of reentry and integration of women into mainstream society. (Michael, 2007).


Additionally, the policy-making process authorities should form gender-sensitive policies that can help enhance better supervision and protection of female offenders, cater for fair treatment of offenders and address the needs of classification. The formed policies should further be able to cater for and accommodate women’s needs towards family relations, address their physical and mental health needs, and give the required cultural response to treatment of women in ensuring children welfare and care. (Yessine & Bonta,J2006).

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List of reference

  1. Michael, J .(2007). Big prison big dream: crime and the failure of Americans panel system,Rutgers university press.180-257.ISBN 978-0-8135-4186-0
  2. Yessine,A.K & Bonta,J.(2006). Tracking high-risk, violent offenders: an examination of the National Flagging System, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  3. James ,H & Dragan, S.(1996). CORRECTIONS IN A NEW LIGHT: DEVELOPING A PRISONSYSTEMFORADEMOCRATICSOCIETY,CollegeofPoliceandSecurityStudies,Slovenia

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