Recidivism is the act of repeating an unacceptable deed or offence even after being punished or treated for it. In cases of those who have been charged before in a court of law, they are rearrested by the law and charged accordingly and might be given double or heavier punishment. There are many factors that encourage recidivism, which range from prison administration and facilities to handling the prisoners themselves.
The first step is to ensure maximum security in the prison, because that will not only prevent escapes by the prisoners but also protect the public against such people. The system should ensure that there is proper perimeter fencing, with extra measures like erecting live electric network all round the facility (Hood, Zedner & Ashworth, 2003). The escape by offenders after staying in prison for a long time means they do not accept the punishment given or they are not willing to pay for what they did. This then implies that they do not think they did anything bad and so they could do it again given the slightest freedom Therefore, the prison management should keep prisoners in at all times and endure that they serve their time as ordered by the court.
The prison administration must keep daily count of every prisoner by conducting check-ups through regular crosschecking of their name records. This is will make it easier to regulate the movements in the prison, and the management will be able to control the needs of every prisoner. It is virtually impossible to deal with individual prisoners, but the much a prison tries to the easier, it is to control. The name records helps to ensure that every inmate is in his or her cell at the required time, and alerts security in good time in case of a prison break. A higher level of security should be employed for the offenders of a more serious crime. They are considered as hardcore criminals, and therefore pose more danger to the society. In fact, they should be isolated and kept in a different category, because they definitely need more attention than the others do, and they should do more work as they have proved to be tough.
The prison institute could also organize meetings that offer the prisoners a chance to express their ideas and views on how to make any changes, those that are possible. They are allowed to elect their own representative who would pass over their complaints, and of course, this encourages good conduct amongst them and promotes the qualities of leadership. This will help monitor the prisoners because of the channel through their speaker and to show good examples to the rest, thus creating a sense of unity amongst them. The prison stuff should come together with the court to reward the prisoners with the record of good conduct, by reducing their sentences, or even freeing those with a few months to do their time. On that note, some inmates rediscover themselves while in prison, for example someone who had never touched a saw, but because he went to a prison that has a workshop, he discovers he has a talent in carpentry. In another case, a woman did not have much to do in jail and found herself singing everyday to perfection. In examples like these, the prisoners will go straight and start their business, and never get time to remember their old habit that put them to prison (McConville, 1975).
The prison organization has to ensure that prisoners get all the basic needs, which include water, food, warm clothing, good sleeping conditions and enough exercises for those who need. This will ensure that they are comfortable and satisfied; hence, there will be no diversion of attention to the outside world and no reason to think of evading. If prisoners develop a grudge with the prison system, it is more likely to reverse their reformed mind and life, and once out free they will seek vengeance and the chase will be on again. Therefore, the institution should guarantee everything basic is available and sufficient. Correction departments should come in and intervene where the court seems to pass judgments ineffectively. For example, criminals with serious crimes get fewer years than the petty offenders. There should also be enough number of cells and space in the cells to avoid congestion. Sharing of cells should be discouraged at all costs because as we know distance between the prisoners helps avoid any collaboration.
There are those prisoners who were caught unawares, maybe in schools or in some training, and ended up in jail. Education in the prison would also be a good gesture as it will be a continuous learning environment for those who wish. It will keep them busy and distracted from other forms of idling and wasting time planning on escapes. Such prisoners, once free after serving their term, will be propelled to acquire the tools and materials and continue learning or working from where they left while in jail, instead of getting out of prison with a blank and an easily manipulated mind. Proper health facilities and drug treatment should be provided to the inmates (Hood et al., 2003).
Prison warders should be the most watchful of all in the police department, because their main job is to constantly observe the movements of the inmates and make sure nothing goes wrong. Unlike the other branches of police who maintain peace and make arrests after something has happened, they are required to keep watch of all the corners of the prison wall. The government is supposed to deploy more officers in prisons and other correctional facilities to enhance reasonable workload in shifts that will help avoid poor results by straining the few that are there. The officers also have to have proper clothing, both warm clothes for the nights, and waterproof coats for the rain.
Prison officers should not just be picked at random as many people think it is done, there has to be a criteria for selecting those that fit. There have been cases of penitentiary officers complaining of underpayment, a matter that should seriously be addressed. They do a good and tough job, and so they should be shown some appreciation and encouraged by considering their demands. Increasing their salaries will only mean more effort in their work. They should also be given proper equipment and weapons for effective coverage of the whole prison block, given they deal with the most dangerous people in the country.
The waders should be warned on how to handle different situations especially between the prisoners, for example, they should not rough up inmates who are found fighting, instead refer them to the counseling department. The officers should never disrupt the organization of prisoners, or disturb them unnecessarily as it will spur disorganization when that is the last thing encouraged in a reformatory. This approach also helps in anger management, as it avoids the temperamental confrontation with prisoners under anger management. They should also be trained on how to get them to talk openly about the problems they face in the food that should be easy because they are two different kinds people who meet daily at the station (McConville, 1975).
Female inmates should not be kept together with the males because that will only encourage more offences as the males will always look at them as their subjects and should be given equal opportunities as male, and they should not be left behind. This is also because women need more attention and by separating them, their delicate cases will be dealt with individually and carefully. Women are as well easier to reform than men are, so allowing them to stay together will only invite trouble. The law courts should ensure they judge fairly and justly according to the magnitude of the offence. Criminals found with very serious offences are supposed to be locked up and do time for long until the danger is contained and the community is declared immune to him. If they are on the lose, and before they are brought before a judge and sentenced, the will continually cause trouble and harass innocent people since they can never get contented.
Prisoners should always be kept busy because idle minds build up crazy and evil ideas. This is achieved by providing them with materials the need in a workshop, the various types of games should be introduced and a many others, so that the only time the inmates have to relax and think is when they are in their beds. They should be given manual work and projects to do and promised to benefit from them, for example, plant vegetable in the prison farm and sell, and then they keep the money for the future. Access to modern technology, computers that is, is also important. It exposes inmates to the new and moving world so by the time they get out they can catch up with the community. Leaving them stranded and without hope leads to desperation, and later recidivism, because the will try to seek a shorter way to getting what they want (Hood et al., 2003). A law should be passed that any ex-convict who is willing to start his or her life gets a loan set aside by the government and start their own businesses, and repay later when they stabilize. This will encourage positive encounter with the outside world, and a good beginning of a reformed life.
In general, providing prisoners with a conducive environment to stay in makes them develop a positive attitude towards life. With the different surrounding, poor food, less sleep, and lack freedom, inmates can restructure completely and become very different people from what they used to be. With that, we can be able to see changes we never imagined possible before, a new future in the lives of prisoners.
Hood, R. G, Zedner, L, & Ashworth, A. The criminological foundations of penal policy: essays in honor of Roger Hood Clarendon studies in criminology. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press, 2003
McConville, S. The Use of imprisonment: essays in the changing state of English penal policy Routledge direct editions Direct Editions Series. New York, NY: Routledge, 1975