What is the purpose of prisons and how can we improve them

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Our understanding of prisons and their purpose is to help criminals reform and eventually be safe to coincide with society. But for this to work we must know how to run prisons effectively and safely for both prisoners and the staff. We must ensure that prisons are run ethically and safely to ensure the mental health of the staff but also the prisoners. Zimbardo's prison experiment shows us what could happen when ordinary people are given authority over others and the detrimental consequences it can have on the victims. The study showed that after only hours after the study started guards were beginning to harass the prisoners. If prisoners suffer severe abuse and torture they will lose complete trust in the justice system. However, there is an urgent need for change in how we manage our prisons. The purpose of a prison is to provide those who have been charged with a place to reside in whilst they are serving their charges. However, if they are treated poorly in said prisons the likelihood that they will reoffend is extremely high as they will not learn to trust the justice system but rather resent it for not treating them fairly.

Prisons are meant to keep prisoners safe both mentally and physically. Mental health is a huge problem for many in prisons and many are in prisons due to psychological reasons. Research shows that there is a high number of prisoners who have a mental illness, and many do not have it treated. So, by providing them with a professional who they can speak to they can improve their mental health. Moreover, prisoners should be doing productive activities such as reading and in certain prisons some can complete their school qualifications if they have not gotten them yet. This creates a productive outlet for people in prison which can help them once they finish their sentence. The entire point of a prison is to prepare people to be in society again and by restricting the activities people are doing in prison they will struggle to reintegrate back into society. The Uk government provided a statistic on the likelihood of reoffending in adults aged 35-39 is 28.8%

In conclusion we need to reevaluate how we manage our prisons, look to other nations, and see how they manage their prisons and how they provide support for both prisoners and staff.

Comments (24)

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  • I think you should make the prison better like making the bed’s comfier food nicer so you can make people to be in a better place than there previous life so when they come out of jail they had a nice life in jail so they want to stay good to have a better life so just making it a bit better can make people better and be in a better place

    1. Actually I agree with you in improving in they food that they give prisoners but you said that we can make people to be in a better place than there previous life so when they come out of jail they had a nice life in jail , I disagree with you because a prison is a place where to punish those that breaks the laws of the land, so a prison is not suppose to be that comfortable because it where the teach a lesson to those that violent the rules and make sure that when they come out they will become a better citizens to the country, yes they should improve on the food so that they will not have osar and fall ill and die, so they should come together to improve on that aspect but you see on the aspect of making the prison a better place for me I disagree because if they eventually tell people around them that they enjoyed in the prison, those people around him will be eager to commit and go to prison, but when he or she comes out of prison and people see that he has learnt him or her lesson, they will no be eager to commit and go to prison to suffer what another person that have gone to prison have suffer. So am saying that they prison should be a little comfortable for the prisoner than making it a lot comfortable for them.

      1. I agree with you but still I know they did something bad but you should try make everyone a better person I think until they learn their lesson they should have it tougher and the they should have it nicer

    2. Hi candid_attitude;
      I think your comment is quite logical. But, I think that apart from being a beautiful place, there should also be provision for inmates to learn new things in the prison. Because after living a good life in prison, when they get out of prison, they want to live that good life again. But if they can't work then they can't earn money and later they can't have a good life. As a result they will again engage in that dishonest work just to earn money and have a good life. This will do nothing but waste their time out of jail. Rather, government money will be spent on their food and accommodation. Hope you understand my comment. What is your opinion about this? Please answer my question quickly.

      1. i agree with you because there should be different types of jails like depending on how bad it was like if they went in for not paying taxes they shouldnt have to have as bad of a time as the people that did way worse so that is my opinion

    3. I have mixed feelings about this response because, I believe that the comfort of the prisoners should be based on their behavior, I say this because if you are well behaved, you should be able to earn at least maybe get a better bed or lunch or bed.

    4. I'm not sure about your opinion candid_attitude because prison are not meant to be comfortable they are meant to be where prisoners are meant to change .Although it is supposed to be a place were prisoners learn their lessons and can afford basic comfort but not to be so comfortable.

    5. Hi, I see the point you're trying to make, and in theory this would work; however, there are some things I think you might've overlooked. While yes, a nicer experience in jail may make prisoners want a nicer life, this could backfire. If the prisoners like a nice life in jail, they might do another crime to enter jail again in order to experience the luxury of a better life. However, I think that better food would be beneficial though. There should be a balance between a nice life in jail and punishment so that prisoners will learn to live better.

  • I agree with making sure prisons are safe and fair for everyone involved, from the inmates to the staff cuz It's like making sure the ship sails smoothly, you know? But when it comes to the idea that prisons are just a place for folks to hang out while they wait out their sentences, I'm not totally agreeing with that because I think they should be more like pit stops on the road to getting back into society, helping people fix up their mental health and learn new skills so they can hop back into life outside of bars when they're done.

    Thank you!

    1. I agree with all your points! I think that making sure prisoners are ready to get back into society is what jails are meant for. If a prisoner is suffering in jail, that would discourage them from having a good life once their. But if a prisoner was treated to help their mental health and be encouraged to go back and do good in the world, I think the prison did its job. Prisoners should be able to go to jail, and then continue life as a better person.

  • I think the main purpose of prisons is for rehabilitation, safety and change of physical or mental actions. Prisons should endeavor to do their jobs well in order for the purposes to occur. We can improve prisons by making sure the government contributes to prisons.

    1. I agree with you! I think that prisons should be a place where these "criminals" go to be reformed. Many people think that the criminals should be punished for their actions in prison, but I think depending on the severity of the crime, they should be punished.

  • The purpose of prisons is to reform prisoners so that they can be released with a new fresh personality. We can make a prison better by helping the prisoners with their mental health and the person they caused harm form they can have a chat with them and tell the reasons they committed the harm they caused.

  • I think that the main purposeof prisons is to protect the society from the criminals and keep communities safe. It's like a punishment for breaking the law. Treating the prisoners with respect and fairly things should be taken into account. Also, what will they do after release they will deal with rejection.

  • I really like how you mentioned how prisoners may feel distrustful against the justice system if they are treated badly while being contained. It is not an issue talked about enough, in my opinion, and deserves more recognition.

    1. I agree with engaging_emotion because prison is to make criminals better citizens in there country, or society, in my opinion I think the purpose of prisons is to make criminals become better people in their communities and I think the way you can improve them is by making sure they have good food, and the population of criminals should not be many in a room. For example: in my country I saw a picture 30 prisoners in a room I think we should treat them like the humans that they are.

  • The purpose of prisons is to protect the community and serve justice for the victims. Then they should improve to the prisons so rehabilitation so they can be better people when they go back to society. How they can improve prisons is they could make an effort and offer sources to support them with rehabilitation and being better people when they leave prison.

  • The purpose of prisons is for people who broke the law and have done bad things.We really need prisons because if there was no such thing as prisons then where would the bad people go. Also we can improve prisons by making them more protective and if they do not improve then bad things will start happening like people breaking out of prison. We can also make them more protective by making security guards stand out of the cell so no one breaks out of the cell. We can also make the bars stronger so that no one can try and do anything. We can also make them more protective

  • the purpose of a prison is to give justice and to serve punishment to those who are the victims of the criminals crime

  • prisons should be more safe so they don't escape and if they do the public will be at risk

  • to improve prisons I think they should be checked once a week and if it is not fit for purpose then the prison should be closed

    1. I agree with you because if a prison is checked weekly by people organized to do that, then I think that they actually have a chance of tuning all prisons into healthy and hygienic prisons and this will be very good because the prisons will not really want to escape because the place is clean, so it will be better for all countries that want to go this way.
      Generally, I say that a prison should be checked weekly, so that there will be peace in the land and county.
      THANK YOU.

  • Hi everybody,
    I think the purpose of prisons is to give those who violate the law a second chance to rethink their actions and know the consequence for their although however some people in prison are falsely accused. Now that doesn't mean there aren't humans; they are there because they committed an offense, and all humans make mistakes, No one is perfect, though everyone is unique. Being a prisoner doesnt make anyone less of a human or give anyone the right to treat anyone badly. Being a prisoner just gives one the chance to experience the consequences of his/her action. We can improve in many ways starting with stopping all forms of abuse against them. They are humans and feel pain. Giving them a comfortable or attainable stay. For instance, giving them good food, allowing them to shower twice daily, providing good beds, educating the prisoners, and allowing them to have fun. Taking them outside the prison cells to have a change of environment can really go a long way in making prisons human friendly.

  • I think that one of the main functions of a prison system is to 1, teach the prisoners important life lesson like the punishment that awaits if the law is not obeyed and that for every action there is a equal reaction.
    2, the prison system should teach the p4isoners hospitality skills so as when there sentence is over they can apply for a job.

  • The purpose of prison is to reform those who engaged in criminal activities. How prison could be maid better is one to educate the prisoners on the reasons why they shouldn't engage in those activities, and also make them believe that everything is alright and everything is going to be better. Show some love to each and everyone of them.
    Also preparation of good foods and sporting activities and make sure everyone is safe, make sure the government contributes to the prisons.

    1. Thank you for that wonderful comment, I also what to add that prisoners should also be engaged in some life aquisation and skills that will help them to survive when eventually they are been set free from prison, this will play a major role in there life as they will be seen as reformed citizens that can now contribute positively to the society no longer as criminals and also what that might have prompted some into the evil act is due to lack of opportunities, so when they get to acquire this skills they will have to concentrate on their jobs no longer engage themselves into evil acts.

  • Prisons are places used to limit the lives of some individuals who may harm society.
    I think prisons are important because prisons protect societies from criminals and lawbreakers.
    To improve prisons governments should transform them into productive teaching centers so, that each criminal can be a good person when he gets out of prison.

  • I think we should decrease the time spent in the prison also we can add some entertainments to the prisons and we should allow the phones but with turning of the wifi and the signal ,thanks for reading

  • I think the systems can make the prisons better by treating everyone equally, keeping the cells clean and making sure the prison is safe, not only to make sure prisoners don't escape, but to also make sure that no one gets hurt. The cells should be kept clean and sanitary because it is necessary for the prisoners' health. Lastly, equality can sometimes be a big issue in prisons. Sometimes, prisons treat a specific person better than the other, even though they're both prisoners. I don't think anyone should have to suffer and prejudice in prison or anywhere else. This also goes along with keeping the prisoners safe.

    1. I agree with you that prisons should treat everyone equally, keep the cells clean, and ensure safety for everyone inside. It's crucial (of great importance) to maintain the health of prisoners by keeping their cells clean and sanitary (hygienic and clean). Also, it's necessary to prevent any escape attempts and ensure that no one gets hurt.

      However, I think that prisons should also have programs that help prisoners learn new skills and educate themselves. These programs can help to reduce the chances of recidivism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend) and also provide a sense of purpose to the prisoners. Also, prisons should offer mental health support to the prisoners as being imprisoned can cause psychological distress and mental health issues. By providing these types programs, prisons can help prisoners to reintegrate (restore to a position as a part fitting easily into a larger whole) back into society after serving their sentences.

      Thank, you, and what do you think?

  • Prisons nowadays misunderstand the fact that prisons are correctional centers and not petting centers nor day-care centers, and that's the dame reason why Feto was able to escape from his prison cell!
    Prisons need also to understand that the inmates are to receive serious torture while they're there so that they could turn their backs and start making the good choice. Imagine an inmate comes to a prison where he is being pet every day!, He's gonna be like Being a criminal is so much fun!, and if he is to released, He's obviously gonna be worse and he'll cause more damage to the community and he'll not be scared to come back to the prison!
    So I'll advice prisons to introduce torture into the system to make prisoners change their minds before they're released from the prison or even escape like Feto.

  • we can improve them by making them less comfterball for the prisoners and more of a punishment,also they can be more safe for the people who are not in prison.

  • They are very different problems with the prisons because if Jose is keep threatening ad escaping from prison that means his lawyer needs to stop standing up for him because he needs to go to a smaller prison if he keeps escaping from prison and if he doesn't know how to escape from the smaller prison that could help the problem.

  • The purpose of prisons are to put bad people who have bad intentions,bad choices or did something really bad. and another purpose of prisons are for people to look back at their mistakes and what their mistakes have gotten them prison is also a place for people to learn that they need to make better choices. here are 5, ways to make prison better.
    1.better food such as mac and cheese etc,
    2. privacy. they are still humans
    3. give them things to do if they are actually well behaved
    4.If you have a longer sentence you need bad punishments unless your well behaved.
    5.Make the prisons secure.

    1. I agree because you should improve the prison, we can't not afford the prison to be yucky and not comfortable.. Now we know why most people escape from prisons..

  • Honestly, prisons should be more secure in some parts of the world. For example, in Ecuador, a highly dangerous prisoner has escaped and this isn't his first time. He has also been seen with comforts such as a phone. He was being held MAXIMUM security wing. If prisons were to improve I would enjoy seeing security being top notch. Prisons are to keep people on the outside safe but also the prisoners.

  • In my opinion, i think that prisons are made to keep everyone in a community safel. Prisoners should know from their mistakes and try to get better as a human. One way to keep people more safe ,in and out prisons, is teaching prisoners what they have done wrong and ways they can rebuild their life when they are let out. By this way, prisoners can be encouraged to change and to keep a community more safe when they know there is a way to switch their lives about.

  • I agree with you (serious_lute) that the primary purpose of prisons is to help criminals reform and eventually reintegrate into society. However, I would argue that the focus should be more on rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, I agree with you that prisoners should be treated better in prisons. For example, when you cited evidence from the Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo, the experiment demonstrated the detrimental (bad, hurtful) effects of power on those under authority. This experiment underscores the importance of ethical treatment of prisoners to prevent abuse and foster trust in the justice system.

    I also agree with you that prisons should be run effectively and safely for both prisoners and staff. The focus should also be on the prisoners' mental health. Many prisoners suffer from mental illnesses, which often go untreated in the prison system. Providing them with access to mental health professionals could significantly improve their mental well-being and, in turn, their chances of successful reintegration (the action or process of integrating someone back into society) into society after their release.

    You also say that prisons should provide productive activities for prisoners. I completely agree with this point. Engaging prisoners in productive activities such as reading programs and educational opportunities not only provides them with a meaningful outlet but also equips them with skills and knowledge that can be beneficial upon their release.

    The statistic you provided by the UK government, showing a reoffending (to commit a further offense) rate of 28.8% for adults aged 35-39, underscores the importance of effective prison management. By providing prisoners with the necessary support and opportunities for personal growth and development, we can significantly improve the effectiveness of prisons in achieving their purpose.

    In conclusion, while your standpoint provides a thoughtful analysis of the purpose of prisons and potential areas for improvement, I believe that the focus should be more on rehabilitation, mental health support, and provision of productive activities. By doing so, we can not only improve the conditions within prisons but also enhance the prospects of successful reintegration for prisoners upon their release.

    THank you!