Across Canada, prisons are “double-bunking,” and this could make the facilities much more dangerous, according to the ombudsman for federal prisoners (Owen, 2011). Numerous problems are being experienced in the prison systems. The problems have been faced by the inmates who go through the system. The prison system was put in place by the federal government to correct reform and rehabilitate federal law offenders to improve the living environment for the people. This has not been the case for a couple of years that have elapsed. Significant numbers of Law offenders who have undergone the correction programs have experienced a thousand and one problems in the hands of correctional officers. Cases of mental health decline have also been heard in the system due to ill-treatment and suffering endured by the inmates.
In a bid to reverse the situation in the correction facilities for the better a path has to be followed. In this quest a number of steps have to be taken. The first priority in wiping out to a large extent the problems faced should be unearthing the root causes of the suffering being experienced. The federal prison system should be given a patient like approach in a bid to heal and reform it (Haney, 2003, 134). The diagnosis of the hitches in the system will give a direction which should be taken in deracinating the glitches. After the diagnosis, a possible solution should be created. The solution however should be viable in terms of legality and social acceptance. The solution would be bringing a number of reforms and restructuring the penitentiary system. Means of funding the proposal should also be identified to ensure the plan goes through without any hitches. The above-outlined measures have been expounded expansively below.
Several methodologies should be blended and applied to bring a lasting solution to the convicts who undergo the suffering. The custodial system should be used to reform the convicts and to ensure the safety of the society at large (Meyer and Amp, 2005, 124). Pains of imprisonment should not exceed instilling discipline into the convicts. No form of punishment should inflict physical injury or cause impairment to the mental health of the culprits. The first step should be identifying the root causes of the inequalities.
Causes of the hitches experienced in the prison system in Canada
Numerous issues of concern have stemmed up in the prison systems in Canada. These include a continuous stridentdecline in the confinement conditions in the penitentiary institutions of Canada. Issues of diminishing mental health among the prisoners have continuously been a nightmare for the system that is supposed to transform (Haney, 2003, 155). In custody deaths have also been experienced across the system at an alarming rate. Self-harm incidences as well as attempted suicide cases have augmented at an upsetting degree. Cases of women of an aboriginal descent confinement have also risen at a disheartening degree. The lawful and human rights of the inmates have continuously been sullied by the officers responsible for their welfare. Each of the misgivings has not occurred naturally, but as a result of faults and loopholes in the whole system.
Penitentiary institutions have been taking a wrong approach to tackle the mental health issues. They have been dealing with the issue as a security threat rather than a health concern. Padded federal cell have been constructed to confine mentally ill inmates to restrict them from committing damage. Lethal measures like use of pepper spray and restrictive facilities have been put in place to restrain the inmates with mental health concerns. Treatment challenges and problems caused by the in increasing prevalence of the seriously and persistently mentally ill in prisons are here to stay (Anasseril, 2007). Increasing cases of solitary confinement and unfair treatment of women have been overheard. The solitary confinement of convicts totally deprives them human contact. It is employed as a form of protective custody and also to implement a suicide watch. Each of this inequalities that has been experienced in the jail system should be dealt with discretely to ensure the approach used it is solved competently.
Mental health of every individual despite their status is of great importance. It is the right of every individual to have access to medical care despite their situation. Correctional institutions have become de facto state hospitals, and there are more seriously and persistently mentally ill in prisons than in all state hospitals in Canada (Anasseril, 2007). Prisons authorities have continuously dealt with mental health issues as a security threat to these institutions rather than health issues.
Most convicts who undergo solitary confinement have a tendency to suffer from psychotic illnesses. Owing to the lack of widespread utilization of diversion programs such as mental health and drug courts at the front end of the criminal justice process, more people with these morbidities are entering prisons than ever before (Anasseril, 2007). Other minor causes include anxiety disorders, distress associated with abuse in prisons, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other development disorders. Approximately a whole seventy percent of the convict’s abuse comorbid and other forms of substances while in the penitentiary institutions. Some prison officers are responsible for the uncouth deeds of drug peddling in the prisons.
This situation is reversible if a number of stringent measures are taken. All convicts who are confined in the prisons should be offered counseling services by the authorities. Planned pre and post counseling sessions should be introduced in the penitentiary institutions to ensure that the mental health of the convicts is well taken care of. Rehabilitation services should also be offered to the convicts who were confined due to drug abuse. Mental health concerns should never be dealt with as a threat to the security in the prisons. Prisoners with such disorders should not be isolated as this would only subject them to further torture and hence resulting in the deterioration of the already worse situation. Lethal measures to calm victims of self-harm in prisons such as the use of pepper sprays should be completely shun.
Victims of mental disorders should be handled with care as well as their sick counterparts. More psychiatric hospitals should be constructed within the perimeter of the penitentiary institutions. More psychiatrists should be deployed to the hospitals so as to provide specialized treatment to the victims of mental disorders in the jails. This would enable provision of comprehensive mental health and psychiatric programs to deal with the increasing cases of psychiatric disorders. Ethical issues when dealing with the confined convicts should be greatly adhered to. They should be treated with all due care and integrity but not as criminals. The greatest concern about people who are suffering from mental illnesses making their way into prisons across Canada (Owen, 2011). Their right to health care should be prioritized.
Prison officers should also undergo an active training on handling special cases in the prisons. They should also be supplied with the right equipment to deal with such cases. They should be trained on the rightful approaches to handle different cases in the prisons. The federal prisons should also deploy a few quality assurance officers who are highly trained to ensure that all inequalities are eliminated in the prisons. “Apparently, social values around respect toward offenders have not been encouraged within CSC to the same extent as values of respect toward the organization and co-workers – leaving this aspect to each individual’s discretion (Campbell, 2013). Prisoners should also be involved in social and sporting activities. They should also be involved in other constructive activities that will divert their mind from acts of violence and destruction in the prisons.
Everyone in the Canadian nation is entitled to their rights. Prisoner by the virtue of their human nature are also entitled to the same. A special human rights commission for prisons should be established to bring a solution once and for all in the prisons department. A civic education should also be carried out to educate the civilian population as well as the convicts themselves on their rights. The officers of this special commission should also help to fight cases of rights abuse in the prison by identifying officers violating them and forwarding them to the higher authorities. The extent of this problem is not really known but officials are sure that there is a connection between overcrowded correctional centers and the increasing number of violent incidents (Owen, 2011). Harsh disciplinary actions should be taken against the violators of human rights against the prisoners. War on drug abuse in prisons should wage to eliminate this degrading act in prison. Regular screening of the inmates should be carried out to curb this debauched practice.
Arbitrary and unlawful killings should also be eliminated from the penitentiary institutions by prosecution of the inhuman officers who subject the prisoners to deliberate environments that result in death, physical or mental injury while in the prison. Constitutional amendments should also be done to lift any torture, cruelty, inhuman practice, degrading treatment or punishments (Meyer and Amp, 2005, 123). Prisons should undergo face-lifting in order to meet international standards. Prisons should also be scrutinized frequently by independent international and local human rights observers. Matters of prisons should never be intertwined with political matters as it may have grave consequences. The head of state pardon should also be put in place to avoid overcrowding in jails.
Proposed funding of the plan
The plan stipulated above requires funds to effect. However, funding the same plan is not as tedious as it seems. Every year, the federal government sets aside an amount for running the prison department country wide. A small proportion of the money that lays in the countries monetary reserves should be spent on this imperative matter. A restructure in the way money is spent in the prison department should also be put in place. Plentiful funds that are channeled to the system are not put to the intended purpose (Anasseril, 2007). Some of the funds are misappropriated by senior authorities and are put to unpremeditated uses. A scrutiny by certified public auditors should be regularly carried out to ensure that the funds are put to the premeditated course.
How to make the recommendation acceptable
This recommendation or rather plan has to be presented to the civilian population and has to be made understandable to enable them accept it without any resentments. This can only be done by carrying out civilian education all over the nation trying to let sink, the importance of reformed penitentiary institutions to the masses of people across Canada. A friendly approach should be used in this quest. Human rights groups should also be involved in the education so as to fully emphasize on the issue to the nationals. Restoration of sanity in the prison system should be made a national wide campaign prior to the implementation of the plan (Haney, 2003, 127). The matter should not be politicized but should be done in the most formal way possible to avoid any political criticism.
The plan will definitely receive criticism from non-reform groups in the country. The politicians who have been using the prison systems to settle scores against their rivals will be against the move as it will bring to a halt their unscrupulous deeds. There is also an anticipated resistance from the custodians of the prisons including the officers deployed to run the affairs in the same system. Some officers in the prison benefit illegally from the funds that are channeled to the prisons. Most officers currently, in the prisons enjoy unlimited freedom while dealing with the prisoners (Owen, 2011). This in turn makes them to be ruthless and inhumane while dealing with them. A yarn of limitation of this freedom definitely is not a thing to be taken hand down. The corrupt and the callous officers are bound to step up a resistance against the transformation.
Support for the proposed plan
The reform process plan in the prison department is also bound to receive an overwhelming support which is absolutely guaranteed to overshadow critiques. The support will be mainly from the civilian population whose relatives have undergone the hell-like penitentiary system. Victims of physical as well as mental torture in the hands of the prison officers will be for the plane to regulate the system. The local and international human rights groups would also offer overwhelming support for the implementation of the same. The international community led by the United Nations would also support such reforms in the penitentiary system.
If only this plan was implemented, the prisons would be a better place and would serve its purpose better. The experience would be rejuvenating and up to the world standards. It would be an avenue of reform and rehabilitation rather than of torture and abuse.
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