The prison system in the United States has undergone a lot of changes. The prisons are used to hold those who are sentenced to more than one year while the jails are for people sentenced to less than one year. The United State has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.
In the past, prisoners were subjected to hard labor without pay. This has improved significantly due to the efforts of human rights and labor organizations. Prisoners are given training in prisons and they are now paid for the work they do. This has enabled them to save for the future and be able to make a life for themselves after they are released.
Prisoners used to be kept in solitude. This has changed since it is not good for the physical, mental, spiritual and mental welfare of the prisoners. Prisoners are now engaged more so that they can reform. The aim of the prisons systems has changed from a retributive one to a reformative one. There is not as much vindictive suffering that is inflicted on the prisoners. The prison system is now subject to the constitution, domestic laws and international human rights principles. This has enabled prisoners to have sanitary improvements in the prisons and freedom of association, expression and religion.
These changes have been occasioned by the efforts by many lobby groups. Some of these lobbyists include religious leaders, human rights activists and other organisations that have primarily been formed to fight for the welfare of prisoners. As much as many changes have been implemented there are other changes that should still be made. This includes better medical care provided for prisoners and the improvement of the mental health care in prison. This is very critical because confinement can affect the psychological state of a person. Many changes have been made in the United States prison system and such should only be encouraged and continued.
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Ildiko, S., & Arnaut, G. (2010). Suicide in Prison: A Qualitative Study. The Prison Journal, 80(3), 288-312.
Schmalleger, F. (2013). Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction. New York: Pearson Education.