The correctional system is a governmental system tasked with ensuring the proper interpretation and application of the law in the cases of violators of the law. The correctional system ensures proper handling of convicts or violators of the law. This system involves different government agencies. Law enforcement agencies, the court system, and parole boards are just some of these agencies in the correctional system. Thus, the system involves various types of activities based on the distinct objectives of these agencies. In general, the correctional system involves the executive and judicial branches of government.
The intended purpose of the correctional system is two-pronged: to reduce crime rates and to apply justice in consideration of victims. These purposes are actually based on the expected benefits for society. The correctional system helps reduce crime rates and ensures that victims and their families’ demands are addressed.
Correctional System Purpose: Crime Rate Reduction
The correctional system helps minimize crime rates in two ways: by preventing violators from making further violations, and by discouraging other people from committing violations. The correctional system works in preventing violators from committing further violations by limiting their activities, such as through incarceration or imprisonment. By putting violators behind bars, the correctional system can prevent these people from doing harm to society again. The physical restrictions on incarcerated individuals are an effective way of protecting the public.
In discouraging people from violating the law, the correctional system provides a deterrent in the form of a concrete example of what happens to people who violate the law. For instance, murderers are sent to prison. This punishment discourages other people from committing the same or similar criminal acts. Thus, the correctional system deters people from violating the law. The deterrence is stronger when the punishment of violators is publicized. The publicity of criminal cases can, in some way, benefit society by deterring people from violating the law.
Correctional System Purpose: Justice for Victims
The correctional system provides victims the assurance that their cases are properly heard and not neglected by the government. Victims can be individual persons, groups of persons or organizations, animals, and others. By applying justice in the form of punishment, the correctional system gives victims peace and closure.
Is the correctional system serving its purpose?
The correctional system has grown with a big population of inmates. This condition is due to the continuing increase in the number of violators, and the changes in laws that increase the scope and application of imprisonment. Changes in laws over time can lead to changes in the likelihood that a violator is sent to prison.
In spite of this condition, the correctional system is serving its intended purpose, mainly because it prevents convicted criminals from freely roaming around, thereby reducing the probability of these criminals harming more people. The correctional system is serving its purpose also because it stands as a deterrent factor to discourage people from committing crimes.
- Clear, T., Reisig, M., & Cole, G. (2012). American Corrections. Cengage Learning.
- Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2014). The American system of criminal justice. Cengage Learning.
- National Institute of Corrections (2010). Enhancing Prison Classification Systems [Opens in New Window].
- O’connor, R. (2014). The United States Prison System: A Comparative Analysis [Opens in New Window]. University of South Florida.
- The Howard League for Penal Reform (2010). History of the Prison System [Opens in New Window].