Looking at the news and seeing children being charged with crimes at such a young age to me is devastating ! For example, an 11 year old boy who murdered an 8 year old girl because she didn’t let him see her puppies; as a result, he is now being charged with first degree murder. Or the children from Crown Heights who set a school bus on fire; as a result, an 11 year old boy is being charged with a hate crime. Both cases have me wondering what is going on? what was they thinking during these moments? Do I think they should be disciplined – yes, however, sentencing someone at such a young age would not help them – in my opinion. At the age of 11 children aren’t thinking of the consequences their actions can have or the effects their actions have on others. I believe both of these cases need to look deeper into the individuals involved in the cases because children do not wake up and decide to commit a crime. I believe before they are sent to a Juvenile Facility, the youth should be evaluated carefully to know what caused them to commit the act. Altogether I think as a community and as human service professionals (along with other professionals through related field work) must find services to provide interventions and programs for the youth who are experiencing behavioral, emotional, substance abuse, adjustment problems or even just a space to be themselves – providing services such as counseling, diagnosis, anger management … etc. can benefit all teens with supportive positive reinforcements. Children are the future of tomorrow and if they are not seeing positive role models, if they are not able to speak to someone about their feelings/ thoughts or if they are not able to channel their energy into something positive then we are loosing them to the system.
Joshua Zollicoffer, preferred name Passion Star was an inmate in the complex New Boston, Tex. Star challenged the authorities to end prison rape because he a victim of sexual harassment, abuse and assault. Prison rape affects other gay and transgendered prisoners as well. According to the article Push to End Prison Rapes Loses Earlier Momentum by Deborah Sontag, “Some 8,000 institutions are supposed to be audited for sexual safety by August 2016, but only 335 audits had been completed by March, according to a Justice Department document obtained from the office of Senator John Cornyn of Texas; the department declined to provide numbers.” Sexual abuse is not accepted in prison/jail, however, it still occurs; considering the ongoing victimizations, prison/jails need better structured opportunities to report sexual assault should be implemented; in addition, those who report such trauma should be closely monitored. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) provides information, resources, recommendation and funding to protect individuals from prison rape. I support this act because sexual abuse can cause psychological effects – especially if they are being victimized repeatedly. Just like Star, vulnerable men/women/youth are continuously victimized by other prisoners and/or corrections staff. Protecting inmates is still a challenge facilities face; for this reason, screening for risk and victimization and abusiveness, medical and mental health screening can enhance safety about housing and protection for inmates. Correctional Officers and mental health professionals need to work together in order to address the complex problem and reduce the number of individuals victim to this trauma. Facilities need to take multiple things into consideration, such as where, when and under what conditions did the sexual abuse occur in order to begin to make a difference and better the facility. When individuals come forward and speak on being a victim, their identification and report should be limited to a few professionals and staff members. All in all, I strongly believe inmates should be protected not segregated when such a traumatic event occurs.
Rikers Island – the most important jail in NYC – has caught the attention of the media throughout these previous years due to the lack of neglect and excessive force from staff to the prison population. The number of mentally ill inmates has grown over the years to more than 40 percent; considering the growth of the mentally ill, staff members are not trained to deal with the population. For example, in the article Rikers Island, a script from 60 minutes by the producers Deirdre Cohen and Sarah Koch, was aired last month, April 17, 2016, an inmate Bradley Ballard went into cardiac arrest after spending days without his life supporting medication for diabetes. In addition, Ballard was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. Staff members walked by his cell on the daily basis but failed to help Ballard; considering the neglect, no one was charged against the charges.
“New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s report found 77% of the injuries involved mentally ill inmates and their injuries were severe enough to need medical treatment outside of the jails medical office.” Bradley Ballard is one example of the many incidents that occured on Rikers Island; all in all, the system needs to change because its inhuman to watch someone die without trying to help – especially those who are mentally ill. As a human service student I think inmates have made bad decisions but they do not need to die due to the negligence or excessive force from staff members. On the other hand, I believe Rikers Island need to hire more correctional officers and mental health professionals because they seem to be understaffed and individuals with mental illnesses need to receive treatments for their needs. in addition, correctional officers needed additional and proper training in order to better the tactics used for dealing with the variety of inmates in Rikers Island.
I believe forensic psychologist are a crucial part linking the legal process and psychology; in order to provide professional expertise according to the legal process. Forensic psychologist interact with inmates with mental illness (from adjustment problems to bipolar disorder). Forensic Psychologist are able to work in the fields of clinical psychology, counseling psychology …etc. Clinical forensic psychologist assess the individuals and provide relevant information of assessments and treatments for the individual for legal matters.
Moreover, forensic psychologist use assessment tools to study the mind and forces of the individuals in order to determine what made them commit the criminal act. Although it may take days, weeks or months to find a solution to the crime, I believe this practice is important in order to know how to process the individual in question – if s/he is mentally aware to stand trial or if s/he is unable to understand the proceedings during the trial. I believe having forensic psychologist evaluate individuals before being incarcerated can increase the treatment individuals with mental illnesses receive and whether or not they go to prison/jail.
Upon returning to the community some ex-offenders are presented with significant hurdles – whether it’s facing social stigma or structural barriers, such as, housing and employment. Additionally, many of the individuals have limited skill sets or are under-skilled to help themselves get back on their feet. Many ex-offenders return to communities of poverty with a high level of recidivism. When an inmate is released, they must adapt to new changes that occurred while they were behind bars. For example, Rudy Holder served 12 years in prison before he returned to East Harlem – a neighborhood where temptations and problems always tested ex-offenders. “In Holder’s East Harlem neighborhood, 1 in 20 men has been convicted of a felony, the Justice Mapping Center reported.” Due to Holder returning to his community where he has a friend(s) on parole violates Holder’s parole restrictions. A prisoner’s reentry into society has multiple challenges ex-offenders face, making it difficult to become successful after their release. Reentering into society for many ex-offenders is like entering a dark room with obstacles in the way of their path – they can’t see them until they bump into them.
This article relates to the criminal justice class because it shows how much programs are needed for individuals incarcerated and programs they are able to access upon their release. Creating programs to help the population will benefit them because many need guidance in to staying on the correct path – without a stable home, supportive positive social group and a job (some examples), it will be difficult to not fall back into criminality.
Out of Debtors’ Prison, With Law as the Key
I think this is great. When people end time is prison they many times find themselves in debt. This new policy will make it so that people can leave prison with a fresh start instead of worrying that they are in mass amounts of debt.
In February, a dizzyingly wide coalition encompassing the conservative Koch Industries and the liberal Center for American Progress announced an effort to try to overhaul the system. Several Republican presidential contenders as well as numerous other politicians on both sides of the aisle have spoken of the need for reform. Now Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender, has joined the chorus, calling on the country to “end the era of mass incarceration.”
The United States Justice Department is now reviewing inmate abuse at Attica Correctional Facility, the upstate New York prison that employed three officers who pleaded guilty in March to state charges stemming from the beating of a 29-year-old inmate, according to the local district attorney and lawyers for the officers.
This article is about the Supreme Court don’t know if they want to grant the same sex couples the right to get married.