chapter  6
30 Pages

Prisons and Other Correctional Facilities

Just as jails are the last resort for a community that has no other alternatives to deal with its social problems, prisons represent the last resort for a criminal justice system that has exhausted all other alternatives. Although a first-time offender may be sent to prison for a serious offense, the majority of prison inmates have had previous experience with the criminal justice system. Some had been afforded a “second chance” through probation; others had served prior time. But, whatever their previous experience, it was obviously unsuccessful in changing long-term behavior-leaving the prison to attempt to accomplish what other sanctions failed to achieve. In most cases, however, it is equally unable to do so. About the only thing that prisons are able to achieve with consistent success is suppressing further involvement in street crime during the period of incarceration. Whether the offender becomes better or worse as a result of the experience is no longer the primary issue.