he ability of a nation to contain crime depends on the functional nature of its criminal justice system. In a more globalized world, with perhaps many cases of crime being perpetrated every day, it is the responsibility of the criminal justice system to apprehend the culprits, initiate offence procedures to deter the re-emergency of such cases. However, with the criminal systems using different approaches in effecting a country’s justice systems, the systems may at times be unfavorable in certain situations where the mode of punishment affects the system in itself.
In situations where crime rates are higher in elderly people for instance, it becomes very difficult for state agencies to implement measures that can sustain the culprits behind bars or within correctional facilities deemed crucial within the justice system. Some of the needs and challenges posed by such inmates to an incarceration facility include healthcare provision, moral support, victimization and segregation in terms of age (Schmalleger & Smykia, 2005).
An aging inmate population is sensitive to life changing elements such as aging. This is as a result of the tear and wear they face, as they age up and try to catch up with life in a new environment. In this, an aging inmate population needs much more healthcare attention as most of their bodies are undergoing tear and wear. In this instance, such aging inmates would therefore require more attention in terms of provision of healthcare where their medical issues would be promptly addressed. This would help incarceration facilities to maintain offenders in correctional facilities.
Given the lonely nature of incarceration facilities, the aged may need some moral support given the likelihood of isolation within the facility. This is because the majority would tend to group together based on age aspects, with much younger inmates staying together hence leading to lack of moral support from fellow inmates.
Victimization by stronger inmates and gangs:
Victimization is an issue facing many inmates in various correctional and incarceration facilities. This is due to the age differences where the older generation is victimized by a younger generation within such establishments. Victimization occurs in populous environments where resources seem scarce, a characteristic of most incarceration facilities. This would be a great challenge to both inmates and the administrators overseeing an incarceration facility. The victimization issue would also result to chaos, instability within a correctional incarceration facility.
Unity being an important element results to cohesion within any establishment. In this, segregation would result to discontentment within the correctional facility which would pose a real challenge in terms of managing inmates. In most cases, administrations of incarceration facilities have intelligence gathering techniques among inmates, where such may be interfered with in cases where people are separated.
Such challenges may affect the relationship between inmates themselves and inmates to the existing administration of an incarceration facility. This poses even much challenge considering how the facility would be dysfunctional, due to separate teams not in harmony.
Security Threat Group (STG)
In criminal justice, a security threat group refers to an insider gang within an incarceration facility that poses security threat to both the establishment and inmate safety (Champion, 2005).
This is usually as a result of some punitive measures that do not discriminate on basis of age, but rather the ability to enforce criminal laws irrespective of age aspects. In some circumstances where a criminal justice system implements life without parole, which basically refers to a process of incarceration where offenders remain in prison for long duration while waiting for a criminal proceeding to be terminated (Ogletree & Sarat, 2012). It becomes much harder to contain the increase in population in these facilities since certain criminal procedures take long within the courts. For instance, life without parole increases the number of inmates in federal or correctional facilities as a result of incarceration, where offenders may not receive justice un ending criminal charges. This results to many aged inmates behind these facilities with hope of release and termination of criminal charges in future. However, when such hope isn’t forthcoming, there are certain needs, issues and challenges that administrators of these correctional facilities face.
One of the needs is to maintain habitable and comfortable environments that can support the lives of these populations. This is because the aged are usually faced with deteriorating health, where they become sickling either due to psychological issues such as stress, which at the same time seem difficult to provide at these establishments. The aged in nature will need proper healthcare attention and times in lonely environments or even in psychiatric facilities which lack in correctional facilities. In this respect, they tend to become stressful to administrators of the facilities due to their on and off sick conditions, while at the same time stressing the available support resources.
However, where such gangs establish themselves in prison facilities, it becomes dangerous and therefore measures have to be in place to reduce the influence of such groups in incarceration facilities. Some of the measures that would be put in place include implementing institutional rules, renunciation of such acts, classification of potential threats and leadership.
Institutional rules can be enforced to reduce the influence of such gangs within incarceration facilities. This can be implemented by laying out rules aimed at reducing their influence by initiating tougher measures and actions on inmates found to have been recruited into such gangs within the facilities.
Suppression of such acts:
Suppression is where the organization can use intelligence gathering techniques to suppress the emergence of such groups. In this form, administrators can suppress their associations between the already initiated gangs from others. This can be done by housing them in Special Housing Units (SHU), as a correctional model approach (Carlson, 2001). However, counseling can also be used to reduce the threats of such groups, where an incarceration facility may employ a counseling psychologist to counsel inmates with potential risks of being recruited into such gangs (Varghese, 2015).
Classification of threats:
Classification is a threat reducing measure where the administration uses classification mechanisms to separate inmates with certain traits from others. In normal circumstances, the gang would identify itself with tattoos and other body features, as a show of allegiance and belonging. In such observation, inmates with such features would be classified as potential culprits to such groups, where a classification mechanism would be initiated to separate such culprits from others.
This entails studying patterns within an incarceration establishment and forming a department to check their influence on other inmates (Penrod et al, 2014). In this, officers acting as investigators and undercover official would help address their threat by establishing the chain of command within the gangs hence reduce influence, especially where no proper channel of communication is maintained.
Champion, D. J. (2005). The American dictionary of criminal justice: Key terms and major court cases. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Pub.
Carlson, P. M. (2001). Prison Interventions: Evolving Strategies to Control Security Threat Groups. Corrections Management Quarterly, 5(1), 10.
In Ogletree, C. J. & In Sarat, A. (2012). Life without parole: America’s new death penalty? New York: New York University Press.
Penrod, J., Loeb, S. J. & Smith, C. A. (2014). Administrators’ Perspectives on Changing Practice in End-of-Life Care in a State Prison System. Public Health Nursing, 31(2), 99-108. doi:10.1111/phn.12069
Schmalleger, F., & Smykla, J. O. (2005). Corrections in the 21st century. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Varghese, F. P., Magaletta, P. R., Fitzgerald, E. L. & McLearen, A. M. (2015). Counseling psychologists and correctional settings: Opportunities between profession and setting. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 28(2), 200-214. doi:10.1080/09515070.2015.1016479