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The Prison System and County Jails of California in Crisis - Research Paper Example

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The Prison System and County Jails of California in Crisis

Due to the overcrowding, some of the prisoners have to bulk in the recreation rooms, hallways, gyms, and laundry areas, making the facilities to remain in a near-constant lockdown. Consequently, this raises the crime rates and tension within the facilities. According to an expert in the corrections department, the combination of idle and overcrowded inmates propagates an unsafe situation. In addition, the facilities face lawsuits concerning the provision of mental and medical health to the inmates, posing a possible population cap threat. The current prison and correction system is wanting. This paper seeks to analyze the system, examining the inmate gangs in the California prisons and jails and their political, social, and financial implications on the state. The paper also analyzes the recidivism rate and program in the state, and the three strikes and AB109 laws and their impacts. Lastly, the paper focuses on the parole and probation programs, and their functionality in the state. Inmate Gangs in the Prison and Jail System of California There are various definitions of prison gangs depending on the situation and criteria of classification. For the purposes of this paper, prison gangs refer to organizations that operate within the confines of prison system as criminally oriented entities that self-perpetuate, consisting of selected inmate groups with an organized and established chain of command and governed by a code of conduct. Such prison gangs have their own established goals in conducting gang activities through controlling the prison environment by directing violence and intimidation towards the non-members. In the corrections community, prison gangs are called Security Threats Groups. The issue of prison gangs is complex, as the current prison system adopts a sub-categorization system for these gangs where the most threatening and active gangs become the Security Threat Groups (STG), while system subjects the less serious gangs to a different low-level scrutiny (Gaes et al. 363). There are no existing standards, thus every state employs a different approach in labeling, identifying, and tracking prison gangs, utilizing the meaningful data they have to manage this challenging area. Despite the difference in definition, it is easy to understand the need to limit the inmate gang activity by the administrators of the corrections system. A prison facility cannot function properly without maintaining an effective control over the inmates. In essence, gangs are unauthorized inmate associations, thus they tend to compete for sources of authority within the facilities. Gang members, especially those with ranks, criticism, and praise, approval by peers, conflicts, rackets, and endless intrigues are the most significant reality in the prison facilities. Subordinates who shift their allegiance to pro-social goals and professional staff agitate the gang leaders. Therefore, there is some form of power shift from the administration to these gangs, thus the management of these facilities loses the power to achieve correctional and safety goals (Ruddell et al). In this regard therefore, prison gangs pursue their own goals as their power and superiority grows, making them credible sources of incentive and authority. This attracts other inmates to join them as well. There has been a clear link between prison gangs and the increased ...Show more
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Summary

The Prison System and County Jails of California in Crisis The California prison system and county jails are a mess. The system suffers from inadequate health care and severe overcrowding, as well as deadly violence, lethal injection procedure, and a revolving-door parole system, all deemed as constitutional flaws by experts…
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