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  • 1. Running Header: Inmate Custody & Control<br />Current Methods of Inmate Custody & Control<br />Elizabeth Hall<br />Kaplan University<br />CJ130-02 Introduction to Corrections<br />Amy Ng<br />10.08.2010<br />Current Methods of Inmate Custody & Control<br />Introduction<br />The most important job in a modern prison facility is making sure that both inmates and staff are safe. According to Bartollas (2002), violence in the correctional system comes in an assortment of means, manners, and methods, such as inmate on inmate violence, riots, major disturbances, staff brutality against inmates, assault of staff by offender, and self-inflicted brutality. This violence, separated into just two categories, is either, interpersonal or collective violence. Interpersonal violence, defined as regular everyday social order violent occurrences, does not usually bring a change in the standard social order, collective violence usually does. Order and control in a prison environment do not mean the same thing.<br /> Social control is essential to maintain order in a correctional facility and positive inmate disciplinary procedures are imperative (Carlson & Garrett 2008). Because of legislature changes, correctional guards are no longer asked to voice their opinions to the parole board, and as a result, prisoner respect of guards has declined, as there is no incentive to be on their best behavior. Also before the rulings in Ruiz v. Estelle case, some inmates were put to work in the prison as building tenders and this helped keep control and order along with giving inmates more reasons to behave. Because of the speed that inmate violence can get out of control currently the Department of Corrections (DOC) tries to provide more humane conditions, more efficient administrations, better screening and classifications of inmates, and securer institutions like super max facilities for the problematic offenders to keep order and control. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />Violence in the Correctional System<br /> The violent tendencies of offenders are one of the causes of prison violence today. These tendencies are unswervingly associated with four issues; youth, lower class outlooks, fear of being humiliated, and their own individual violent histories. Social unrest issues also play a part in this situation. Racial tensions in the 1990’s found that there was at least one leader of each race in the groups. They began segregating themselves in the exercise yards, dining, and other areas of the facilities. Violence may erupt over the simple act of changing a station on the television. (Bartollas, 2002)<br /> Eventually this brought us to our current situation, which is that we have organized prison gangs in forty states and in the Federal Bureau of Prisons that operate in the correctional system, and on the streets. In the correctional systems, they are a governing force everyday in the life of offenders. Some of these gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Cripps, and the Bloods are highly organized. Gang members usually have codes of language and the leaders have a strong hold on what happens both in the facility and on the streets as well. They use their influence to incite riots, take hostages, and general disturbances as directing their members to refuse to work or exit their cells. . Pressure to join these gangs is high in a correctional facilities because those inmates not affiliated with a gang are fair game for robbery, harassment, rape, and death, because gang negotiations between leaders denotes that they will not bother each other’s members in that fashion. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />Along with the organized gang activity, naturally the drug trade follows as a violence-inciting problem. According to Bartollas (2002), prisoner drug abuse in 1996 was an alarming 42.6 % of offenders used illegal narcotics everyday for 30 days before committing their crimes, and 35.3% were actually high when perpetrating the crime that they are incarcerated for at the time. Drugs in the system in the 1970’s were a big power tool for inmate social control. No one wanted to upset the flow of drugs to the prison. In 1975, new administration brought tough changes in ideas on contraband, drugs, and on the number of searches performed for these items. <br />Currently, although drug use in the correctional system remains a problem today, because of the changes in tolerance, power gradually became more and more dependent on violence. As this increased, and the ratio of mutual respect between inmates and guards decreased this violence grew in to bigger problems such as inmate staff assaults and staff assaults on inmates. Tensions are high due to structural factors as well, overcrowding leads more inmates per cell, more attacks in indefensible spaces within the walls, frustration about living conditions, no privacy, and less job and program space available per inmate. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />Keeping Control-Current Inmate Deterrents<br />Some issues inciting violence in the correctional systems are outside of officials and staff, like overcrowding facilities, the idleness of prisoners due to lack of jobs, and funding for facilities and programs. The public are generally unsympathetic, and these days the rapidly growing numbers of offenders are more violent and aggressive. Because of the social issues and power valuation, most of these inmates cannot get past the notion that the only way to solve anything is through violence.According to Carlson and Garrett (2008), the ways to keep order and control in a correctional institution are to monitor staff corruption closely, put hiring programs into effect that maintain good background, reference, and psychological checks during the hiring process, reinforce fiscal control, and to promote “true and ethical training”. These measures are for keeping the staff honest. Quality staff provides more effective line staff to diffuse the eruptions of violence. Also, having a racial mix of staff, helps to diffuse violence cause by all white staff guarding a racially mixed population of inmates.<br />Besides ensuring quality staff, another way to keep inmate violence down in corrections is making facilities more humane by dealing with the overcrowding, mental health, and sanitary issues, and providing adequate services to inmates. (Bartollas, 2008)<br />Correctional Ombudsman are there for inmates to investigate complaints and serve as a go between to relieve some of the tension and prevent violence. Most victimization in these facilities happens in indefensible space where there is no guard control or view. Institutions can make minor changes in structure to provide more contact and view of prisoners by staff such as opening up covered spaces. Better screening of inmates to determine vulnerability or violent tendencies is also used to deter violence in an institution. Through a classification system, the weak inmates can be separated from the more violent prone inmates, they range from minimum security classifications to maximum and super maximum, and the worst offenders are separated from everyone through super max isolation. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />Controlling gang violence can be accomplished through four methods, lockup, and punitive segregation, transferring inmates to other institutions, and denying them recognition. Lockup or segregation is the first step, however, keeping inmates locked in their cells is not a permanent fix, eventually, and they must be let out. It can however immediately diffuse current violent situations. Institutional transfers can diffuse problems in an institution, but transferring the inmate, only results in spreading the problem out to other institutions, as gangs operate out of forty state correctional facilities and in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The most efficient option they are using today is simply denying the gangs recognition. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />Conclusion<br />In the correctional facilities we use today, inmate and staff safety is a top priority. Inmate violence can get out of control so quickly, that currently the Department of Corrections (DOC) tries to provide more humane conditions, more efficient administrations, better screening and classifications of inmates, and securer institutions like super max facilities for the problematic offenders to keep order and control. The use of these means is a start to solving these correctional problems, but if we are going to fix these problems permanently, there is still a lot of work left to do on policies, punishments, and inmate programs. (Bartollas, 2002)<br />References:<br />Bartollas, C. (2002). Invitation to Corrections. Boston. Allyn and Bacon. <br />Carlson, P.M. & Garrett, J.S. (2008). Prison and Jail Administration: Practice and Theory. Sudbury. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Pp 270-332<br /> <br />