After being introduced by APPA President Drew Malloy as "a living testament to the fact that a good guy can finish first and have an impact on the [community corrections] profession," Goethals talked to attendees about some trends he has noticed in community corrections, involving things, people and ideas.
This paper provides a review of the relevant literature to identify current trends, innovations and the future of corrections in the United States and in foreign countries.
To this end, a personal perspective and thoughts on the future of corrections in the United States is followed by an overview of the major problems in the current system. A series of recommended specific actions to resolve these major problems is followed by an assessment of some of the future trends and innovations in privatization, parole and probation, community corrections, dealing with increasing numbers of juvenile and female offenders as well as coping with overcrowded jails and prisons.
Finally, an analysis of innovations being used in foreign countries is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion. On the one hand, the future of the corrections industry in the United States is very bright indeed and all signs indicate this will continue to be a growth industry well into the 21st century.
On the other hand, the fact that the corrections industry is a growth industry is a very troubling sign that all is not well in America and there is no consensus on how best to reverse these ugly trends.
After the prison population in the United States topped two million, Hunt observed, "Not only was this exponential increase in incarceration unusual, but research quickly revealed it to reflect the pernicious questions of race, class, and political disenfranchisement that have animated North American history" p.
One obvious solution to reversing the current trend to incarceration is to simply make the criminal acts for which the majority of nonviolent offenders are being imprisoned legal.
In other words, since many criminal offenders are being imprisoned for drug-related charges, it would be a straightforward matter to legalize drug use and trafficking, thereby eliminating the crime altogether together with the concomitant need for incarceration.
Clearly, this is a matter of social choice and America has made its choices: In fact, some observers suggest that because there has never been a human society that did not use drugs, it is folly to try to criminalize this behavior and even worse to punish those who do use drugs.
More than half the population is there for drug-related crimes" p. This view can be taken to the extreme by imaging what would happen if millions of Americans suddenly became criminals subject to imprisonment because they drank coffee which contains caffeinesmoke or chewed tobacco which contains nicotineor owned firearms which can kill.
Therefore, the argument goes, by making drugs legal, the United States would free up the resources being devoted to prosecuting and incarcerating millions of Americans for drug-related activities that could be better used elsewhere. This approach is commonly known as the harm reduction model.
According to Macmaster"Based on a public health model of social problems, harm reduction seeks to eliminate the negative consequences of phenomena for the members of a society without necessarily eliminating the phenomena" p.
Inflexible sentencing regimens such as the "Three Strikes" also contribute to the existing prison overcrowding problem, and longer sentences mean that private prison providers can look forward to many years of continued growth in the "Land of the Free.
A Modern Corollary of Slavery," Smith reports that: Prisons have become the primary economic development project in many communities, providing economic growth and stability to economically marginal communities.
Private prison concerns such as Wackenhut and Corrections Corporation of America are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and build prisons not just in this country, but around the world. Prisoners are seen as a commodity that these corporate entities house as a service to states.
In many states, the most powerful labor unions are police and correctional employee unions.
Certainly, most people would agree that it would not be reasonable to legalize many existing criminal behaviors just to avoid having to incarcerate people, but it is also reasonable to suggest that the existing inflexible sentencing approaches are causing more problems than they are solving.
It is also reasonable to conclude that because the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country today, America must be doing something better in terms of identifying criminal elements in its society or other countries have adopted more progressive approaches to dealing with the same types of problems, and these issues are discussed further below.
Perhaps the most serious major problem facing the current correctional system in the United States is overcrowding. In fact, it is reasonable to assert that overcrowding is the basis for many of the other serious problems being experienced by the correctional system today. For example, Katz emphasizes, "While politicians, academics and media analysts debate the significance of that fact, there are very real signs that the burgeoning national prison population is becoming an increasing problem for federal and state detention facilities.Corrections Trend Evaluation Bebe Washington CJA/ February 15, UOP Corrections Trend Evaluation In this paper the objectives that will be addressed are .
State Expenditures on Corrections in Billions, Source: National Association of State Budget Officers (). State Expenditure Report Series. Washington, DC: National Association of State Budget Officers. Population Under Control of the U.S.
Corrections System, and Sources: Kaeble, D. and Cowhig, M. (). Fresno Republican News Archive. Saturday July 4, Corrections Trends for the 21st Century A Future Behind the Walls and Wire.
by Peter M. Carlson. 4 National Conference of State Legislatures Trends in Sentencing and Corrections: State Legislation Lawmakers in a growing number of states have addressed the drug-crime connection with. The future of corrections will be affected by everything from the national economy and current public opinion to drug-related crime and the aging of prison populations.
The trends that will continue to impact corrections are intermediate sentencing alternatives, restorative justice, more pragmatic treatment, regionalization of jails, and direct. View this term paper on Corrections Current Trends Innovations and.
To date there has been a great deal of reluctance to adopt a harm reduction approach in the.