This paper responds to a directive by the newly elected governor to discontinue all the educational and vocational programs for the inmates serving their term in the prison. It examines the possible tougher inmate programs which could be implemented in place of the correctional and rehabilitation programs in place.
It also examines the offices and institutions which can provide support to provision of educational and vocational programs as a way of empowering and improving the skills of prisoners. Finally, it reviews the success of these programs and policies.
Response to the governor
In my response to the governor, I will request for more time to allow the prison management to review its educational and vocational programs in consultation with the experts, the state prisons department, and other relevant authorities.
The prison needs to fulfill all the purposes of incarceration, which are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation as well as rehabilitation. By eliminating the educational and vocational training programs in the institution, the prison will be violating the prisoners’ rights provided for in the Literacy, Educational and Rehabilitation Act (H. R. 4752).
This would also mean that the purpose of the prison will be partially achieved, even though tightening security and implementing tougher inmate programs would highly contribute towards retribution, incapacitation as well as deterrence. The vocational programs in this institution were implemented in line with the recommendations of the American Jail Association.
In my opinion, these programs need not be discontinued; instead more, tougher security programs should be implemented to complement the already existing programs which seek to achieve the purpose of prisons. Educational and vocational programs do not cost the state much considering that the programs enable former prisoners gain employment or obtain alternative source of income.
The time offenders spend in the prison worsens their financial position, and therefore the possible way of reducing their likelihood of committing another crime while looking for alternative means of survival is through providing education and vocational training (Fritsch & Gerber, 1993). This means that re-entry is reduced significantly.
Besides, these programs are cheaper to manage since the prison assigns other prisoners with technical competence and higher levels of education to provide educational, vocational, and other developmental programs as they gain credit in their sentences. The length of stay for these incarcerated trainers is reduced and the rate of recidivism is also reduced.
In turn, this increases public safety and improves the economy of the state. Besides, these programs enhance post release integration of former prisoners who leave this institution to rejoin their community. According to Peak (2009) prisoners have always encountered adjustment problems as they rejoin their community.
As the director of the prison, I’m charged with the responsibility of the prison’s management and providing information to the governor and the department of corrections. This means that before taking any action as regards to the directive of the governor, I can always negotiate the terms of policy proposals with all the stakeholders including the governor to ensure that the new policies and programs are enacted in the best interest of the public and the state.
As a means of trade-offs with the governor’s position and as a way of complementing the correctional programs in the institutions, I would; increase the inmates involvement in prison industries to reduce their idleness and supply companies with readily available labor; engage inmates in community service projects; implement body cavity searches of prisoners after every contact visit as well as searches of inmates’ cells by guards whenever they are out of the cells; and implement GPS monitoring of inmates’ activities.
Finally, the prison will also ensure that inmates who are deemed to pose security risks to the public if released complete their full sentence, and are released on parole after the end of their sentence.
This will also apply to inmates serving sentences of drug related offenses. Under the same rule, non-violent offenders will be required to serve 85% of their jail terms before being released on parole, while violent offenders will be required to serve more than 90% of their jail terms before being released on parole (Colorado Indymedia, 2010).
The inmates will work within a 100-mile radius of the prison as they do manual work and skilled labour in areas such as park maintenance, building and construction, forestry work, clean-up, painting and roofing and other in government projects, and projects of private organizations.
This would ensure that inmates work hard to cover for their upkeep in the prison. The assignments will be assessed on a case by case basis. This means that the inmates in the prison will be fully engaged in on-the-job-training or work (Oregon Department of Corrections, 2010).
Seeking internal and external support
In order to provide adequate response to the governor’s directive, it is important to get the views from different departments and offices within the organization, and the department of corrections as well as other correction agencies.
I will have to consult with the legal advisers (the legal division), the correctional program division, the internal affairs division, the office of public affairs, wardens and deputy wardens, the correctional security department and the education department.
I will seek external support from the state’s department of corrections, the administration division, and the department of prison industries as well as other government and non-governmental agencies which provide correctional services, and facilitate successful reintegration of offenders.
Consultations with these offices and organizations will enable me evaluate the support for the current policies and programs. As a result, I will be able to determine whether to discontinue the programs or implement other correctional programs to complement them.
Demonstrating the success of the policies
Response to the governor will require accurate information of the situation and the programs in place. I will therefore provide statistical data showing the success of the educational and vocational programs that have been implemented in this prison. This means that I have to initiate research to examine the success of the programs on the former offenders who acquired employment related skills from this institution.
The research will also examine whether the programs have enabled the former offenders to stay out of trouble or not, and the degree at which it has reduced re-entry of first time offenders (Mentor, 2003). The response will also include the opinions of inmates collected through interviews and public via the prison’s website.
I will also present the level of satisfaction and opinions of the staff who are either directly or indirectly responsible for implementing the correctional programs in place. In addition, I will also present the perceived benefits; tested and theorized to defend the continuation of the programs.
Political interference could sometimes affect policy implementation, however, it is important to consult with the interested political office, and present your side explaining the real situation and the reasons for implementing such programs. Changes to policies and programs in the prison should involve all stakeholders.
Demonstrating the success of the programs could help change the views of the interfering political office and stakeholders. This would enable proper adjustment of policies and programs of the prison.
Colorado Indymedia. (2010). DOC rule change means longer sentences for prisoners. Retrieved July 21, 2011, from http://colorado.indymedia.org/node/2467
Fritsch, E. & Gerber, J. (1993). Prison Education and Offender Behavior: A Review of the Scientific Literature. Huntsville, TX: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
Mentor, K. (2003). GED programs in prison. Retrieved July 21, 2011, from http://kenmentor.com/papers/ged.htm
Oregon Department of Corrections. (2010). Inmate work crew information. Retrieved July 21, 2011, from
Peak, K. J. (2009) Justice administration: Police, courts and corrections management, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.