The internal stakeholders and external stakeholders involved with violence in prisons have a significant impact on the welfare of prison mates and the ability of the United States judicial system to correctly rehabilitate prisoners and provide a safe and fostering environment for personal improvement and development. However there is currently and has been, extensive violence in prisons as a direct result of a number of external and internal influences. Stakeholders have a significant influence on the safety and welfare of prison mates and the ability of these prisons to safely look after and rehabilitate all prison mates.
The internal stakeholders involved with violence and aggression in prisons include the prison mates, prison gangs, prison guards and correctional officers, victims of aggressive and violent prison crimes and psychiatric doctors attached to prisons. The external stakeholders involved with violence and aggression in prisons include the families of victims of violence, law- makers, respective state leaders and politicians and health professionals.
These internal and external stakeholders have both positively and negatively influenced the occurrence of violence and its resolution in prisons across the United States. The key difference between these stakeholders are their respective intentions and abilities to impact two different outcomes of the prison system: the welfare of prison mates, and the ability of prison systems in the United States to provide the necessary rehabilitation to those prisons who require it or deserve it based on their respective crimes. It is illegal to allow prison mates to be subjected to adverse conditions or crimes within the prison system that debilitate their physical and emotional state. The prison system is designed to provide a suitable environment for rehabilitation otherwise their purpose in society is not justified. Currently, increasing rates of violence as a result of internal and external stakeholders are effectively defeating the purpose of providing effective rehabilitation systems for people who have committed crimes.
With respect to internal stakeholders, other prison mates have negatively impacted violence in prisons. The establishment of gangs and networking in prisons has divided inmates based on their socio-economic status and ethnicity. This establishes tension between rival gangs, rising tensions between two or more different groups of prison mates and ultimately, violence when prison mates separate themselves from others based on these characteristics. In addition, prison mates may attack or take vengeance out over another prison irrespective of the actions or behaviors of the particular individual. The idea of housing criminals together in one institution will always inspire violence. Many of these criminals have a number of disorders that trigger the occurrence of violent behaviors toward one another.
Other internal stakeholders such as prison guards and therapists also do not positively influence prison systems and are often powerless to stop victimless crime amongst criminals. In many maximum-security prisons in the United States, prison guards must don protective equipment in order to physically interact with criminals. In contrast, there are particular situations where the action of prison guards can save the lives of criminals who have been subjected to violence. Furthermore, therapists can provide assistance to criminals who are suffering from emotional or mental disorders. However restrictions within the prison system fail to prevent violence and often do not provide medical assistance to criminals suffering from physical and emotional disorders.
External stakeholders have a positive and negative influence on prison systems in the United States. Key Lawmakers are currently attempting to alter legislation to allow greater interaction between prison mates and health professionals. It has been recognized that with sufficient medical care and psychologist assistance, many of the criminals housed in America’s prisons can be provided with adequate means of rehabilitation and a positive direction forward that does not consider violence or the use of force against other individuals. The families of victims and prison mates in general have a positive influence and have the potential to alleviate the majority of violence in America’s prisons. Families provide additional, external support that would not normally be provided by professionals or correctional officers. There are a number of criminals who have families and rely on their support for mental stability. It is very rare for prison mates to become violent as a result of their meetings or association with family members such as children.
In my solution to the problem, stakeholders are the most important part of addressing key issues concerning violence and victimization in America’s prisons. Stakeholders within the prison system can be provided with the necessary education to respect the welfare of others and to understand that any further violent acts within prisons may have severe consequences for all concerned regardless of their role within the prison system overall. With regards to external stakeholders, families and lawmakers can advocate for better prison conditions and the allocation of greater funding to improve the ability of prisons to rehabilitate criminals and provide the necessary means for personal development and crime or violence prevention.
Individuals such as lawmakers can be motivated to buy into stakeholder based solutions to prison violence by being provided with the necessary evidence and material supporting better prison measures. The use of statistics that effectively devalue the prison system and provide highly accurate quantitative data could persuade senators and governors alike to reconsider allocated budgets for prison systems and to consider their overall influence on society and its ability to stop and prevent crime. Ultimately, society as a whole, needs to understand that prisons prevent crime and provide an avenue in which prisoners can be effectively transformed and rehabilitated.
- Carlson P.M. (2013) Prison and Jail Administration: Practice and Theory. New Jersey: McGraw & Hill.
- Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons, 2000-2012- Statistical Table (2013) Retrieved from: www.bjs.gov
- Sexual Victimization Reported By Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009-2011 (2014) Retrieved from: http://www.bjs.gov
- The Culture of Prison Sexual Violence (2013) Retrieved from: https://www.ncjrs.gov/