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Protect inmates and staff
Prisons are social institutions meant to rehabilitate convicted felons in to conforming to prescribed social values and beliefs. Prisons therefore house individuals the society deems to be dangerous to the good of the society as well as to themselves. Prison on the other hand also house are individuals whose chosen career is working within the prison system in an effort to make inmates better individuals who conform to prescribed social values (Palmer, 2010). This paper seeks to discuss how both the prisoners and staff can be guaranteed of their safety while being held or working in these correctional institutions.
The core objective of the prison as an institution is to ensure a secure and safe environment is maintained towards ensuring inmate behavior is effectively managed. In the past, this has been executed through physical barriers to ensure protection of both inmates and staff. This has however failed to produce desired results (Hutchinson, Keller & Reid, 2009). It is important to point out that the cost of running prisons rests on the shoulders of taxpayers who are productive members of society. The fact that using physical barriers has not presented the desired results means the society stands to lose resources as well as the objective of having such institutions in place.
Effective behavior management strategies have been highlighted as the best approach towards protecting inmates (Hutchinson, Keller & Reid, 2009). To realize this end, jail practitioners have to assess all potential risks inmates face as well as the different needs different inmates expect to be met as members of the inmate population. This entails employing a plan which aligns itself with six critical elements (Hutchinson, Keller & Reid, 2009). These include, assessing needs and risks facing each individual during the different phases of incarceration. Secondly, inmates should be carefully accorded appropriate housing. Thirdly, ensure their basic needs are met. Fourthly, offering the definition and expectation required with regard to inmate behavior. Fifthly, ensure qualified 24 hour supervision. Lastly, ensuring they are occupied, busy and focused by assigning them duties towards performing productive activities (Hutchinson, Keller & Reid, 2009).
Protecting prison staff
Prison facilities are tasked with ensuring that the prison staffs are well protected given the fact that they work in often dangerous occupational environments (Crewe, Liebling & Hulley, 2011). In the past, physical barriers have been the best means with which to ensure staffs are well protected from dangerous inmates. They are also accorded protective gear and immobilization equipment as well as training on how to subdue violent inmates. This has proven effective though as technological advances and innovations increase, it is important to employ them in the prison system in an effort to appraise prison staff safety (Crewe, Liebling & Hulley, 2011).
There are some prison staffs such as doctors and nurses who are usually defenseless in situations where they encounter inmate violent behavior. Employing technology such as phone jamming equipment, closed circuit television cameras, remote medical equipment and packaged meals technology can help enhance prison staff safety (Crewe, Liebling & Hulley, 2011). It has been argued that this would serve to reduce productive interactions among inmates and the prison staff. However, this may be a necessary evil as this may lead to low staff morale, high staff turnover and low recruitment rates thus adversely affect the entire prison system.
The prison system is tasked with ensuring that inmates live in humane conditions and staff work in safe and conducive environments. The prison system thus has to ensure that the rights of prisoners are protected and further more reach the desired objective of reforming inmates into productive members of the society. Prison staffs work towards this objective. It is therefore imperative that in the dispensation of their duties, staffs are accorded proper safety. This paper has proposed interventions towards achieving these ends.
Crewe, B., Liebling, A. & Hulley, S. (2011). Staff culture, use of authority and prisoner quality of life in public and private sector prisons. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 44(1), 94-115.
Hutchinson, V., Keller, K. & Reid, T. (2009) .Inmate Behavior Management: The Key to a Safe and Secure Jail. Resource Guide for Jail Administrator. Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.nicic.gov/Library/023882.pdf
Palmer, J. W. (2010). Constitutional Rights of Prisoners. London, UK: Routledge.