The media has put a lot of emphasis on the criminal systems in the United States. There are different views regarding the performance of correctional facilities in delivering their basic purpose of correcting the behavior of criminals. In America jails are viewed as correctional facilities that serve the purpose of correcting the jailed criminals. The courts have the mandate of sentencing an accused criminal if proved guilty to a jail term depending on the crime committed. As much as there is a need to isolate the criminals from other members of the society, jails are viewed to be correctional facilities. At the end of a jail term, one is expected to go back to the society as a reformed individual. With this form of correction, the American society expects to create a crime free society. While others view jailing as a form of punishment, authorities have insisted that it offers the best correctional facility for criminals. A criminal who does not reform even after a jail term period is over would have failed in terms of accomplishing the goal of the jail term.
Media critics however have a different opinion. The media put into perspective different factors in analyzing the effects that correctional facilities have on the economy. In the New York Times article dated August 23rd, 2013, the media has put more focus on the financial input used in running the jails. The New York City spends approximately $168,000 to feed and maintain an inmate each year. According to the article, this is quite a significant amount that should be reviewed. The New York City has been named as the top city in terms of inmate expenditure. The cost has been shared among the taxpayer, and each taxpayer pays $ 31,286. The figure according to the media is quite shocking bearing in mind that this cost is spent in prisons with jailed criminals spending it, the cost has been attributed to the high number of staff employees to work in the jails and correctional facilities (Santora, 2013).
The article has given a positive solution that can be used to solve this enormous expenditure. With the alternative of reducing the amount of times prisoners spent in jail being implemented, it is expected that the expenditure might reduce. This is just one of the many solutions that are available to solve the problem of high jail expenditure in New York City. The article is therefore giving a biased approach by putting much of the attention on the expenditure and ignoring other alternatives. A comparison should also have been given on the character of people who came out of the jails after their jail term was over. Focusing on the financial aspect of it does not give an in-depth analysis of the issue; jails are just like any other home where habit and character are corrected. The author does not also consider the effects that the prisoner to warden and other workers ratio has on the overall result delivery of the correctional process. Unless a prison is well equipped to offer correctional lessons, it does not serve its purpose in the society. A comparison has been made on the different genders and races that are in the prisons. Stating that 57% of the prisoners are blacks creates a racial bias on the criminal law system. In a country with mixed races, this kind of information creates division with the blacks have a negative attitude towards the criminal system of the country. It also sounds as if the article tries to show that blacks are the highest prison consumers in terms of expenditure (Bell, 2002).
The media should have first appreciated the role that prisons and jails have played in terms of crime reduction. As correctional facilities, they offer people a second chance in life. A murderer is the society should be the greatest concern rather than the expenditure spent on maintains the prisons. The correctional facilities equip reformed criminals with skills that they did not have before. Instead of criticizing the expenditure, the article should have focused on how the expenditure is utilized in reforming jailed criminals. More employees are required to work in the prisons to assists the prisoners to reform; most of these employees are professionals such as psychiatrists who need to be paid well. Failure to pay these employees well will result to minimal reforms in the prisons. They are the only people who appreciate the fact that criminals can reform. Money should not be a hindrance to produce half reformed people from the prisons. There are other areas of the economy in New York City that spend more than the prisons spend and yet they do not deliver results (Normore, 2011
The reforming and correctional process can be used to equip prisoners with income generating skills. Prisoners can engage in activities such as carpentry, music production and even writing and sell their products. Some of the revenue generated can be used in running the prison services and this will reduce the amount the taxpayer pays. Another solution would be to provide other correctional facilities rather than relying only on prisons. Community services can be used as a form of correctional approach.
Santora, M. (2013). City’s Annual Cost Per Inmate Is $168,000, Study Finds. The New York Times, August 23, 2013.
Bell, W. R. (2002). Practical criminal investigations in correctional facilities. Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press.
Normore, A. H. (2011). Leadership in education, corrections and law enforcement a commitment to ethics, equity and excellence. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald.
Roberts, A. R., & Springer, D. W. (2007). Social work in juvenile and criminal justice settings (3rd ed.). Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas.