The correctional facilities exist to ensure that people who are convicts of crimes receive their punishment there. The society gives them a chance to change their way of behaviour while staying there and hope that they learn their lesson. Long ago, the prisoners were believed to stay in prison deprived of basic human rights and nobody paid attention to their predicaments. However, the time has changed and prisoners should always enjoy a majority of all the rights enjoyed by the people out of prisons. The only rights they cannot exercise are those that the judge took away from them on the day of their judgement. Governments and other authorities that people have charged with the responsibility of enforcing human rights must have concrete policies to address the plight of inmates. In fact, some scholars argue that the treatment received by the prisoners in a given society is the true measure of the society’s level of civility.
The following paper analyzes some of the policies put in place by the United States correctional facilities to ensure that employees working in the facilities do not mistreat their inmates. The paper also compares the policies of various jurisdictions giving views on how the policies can be improved to serve the employees better. It also shows the investigative methods used once the supervisor feels that a given employee has violated the provisions of the policy.
Wyoming State Penitentiaries Department Policy on Sexual Offences
The Wyoming Department of Corrections provides a comprehensive policy which clearly illustrates how the employees should relate to their inmates in the facilities. One of the major problems that need explanation is sex offences. In the prison context, the sexual offence is classified as any inappropriate touching or sexual activity with an inmate reported by an inmate or any other witness. The state prohibits any sexual relationships between the employees and the individuals incarcerated in any of its facilities. The Department thoroughly examines all the applicants when hiring its employees to ensure they are not sexual offenders. Any person who may have ever faced charges for a sex offence may not be hired to work in any correctional facilities by the Department.
All the workers go through a training meeting on their first day of employment where the trainers coach them on the sexual offence policy. The employees receive training on how to avoid temptations. Prisoners are vulnerable, and employees might take advantage of the prisoners sexually. The prisoners in return may expect favours from the employees. The policy explains that as the activities sometimes happen between two willing parties and are therefore bilateral, the need to train the employees becomes even more important. The training constitutes the most important part of addressing the sex offences. The Department is focused more on prevention rather than on investigations and prosecution. During the training, the employees are taken on the characteristics of an inmate who may be trying to have sexual activity with an employee in order to receive favours from him/her. Employees are also made aware of what they stand to lose if they engage in the offence.
The Department’s policy also outlines the ways to protect their employees from sex offenders. Known sex offenders have their section, and the supervisors explain to the employees how to deal with them. In male facilities, these offenders are not served by any representatives of the female gender. They are provided by their own infirmary where only male doctors and nurses work. The Department does all this to protect the employees while making them aware of the dire consequences if they happen to become perpetrators.
Sexual offences usually depend a lot on the reporting of the victims for the investigation and possible prosecution to take place. The facility administrator is given the responsibility to ensure that he oversees the comprehensive investigation of any sexual offence received from an inmate. The other inmates are also encouraged to report cases where they witness any sexual offence involving an employee. Inmates who report sexual offences or any other offence taking place in the confines of the facility receives a positive review that comes useful in case they are to receive parole. The review acts as an incentive to make the inmates cooperate with the authorities.
Employees are also encouraged to report any illegal activities such as sexual offences and see this as a good citizen responsibility. The prison systems also make use of the extensive coverage of security cameras placed in strategic areas within the prisons. In case a sexual offence takes place within the facility and is captured by these cameras, further investigations start immediately. Once the administrator finds sufficient reason for the investigation, he/she sends the particular employee under investigation on leave in order to prevent him/her from interfering with the investigations. The correctional facility undertakes initial investigation and is required to deliver the case to state police after finding sufficient evidence. The district attorney seals the fate of the employee under investigation.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Policy on Provision of Human Dignity to Inmates
The Department is charged with the duty of managing the state’s penitentiaries. Its policy directed at a saving of human dignity addresses the issue of humane treatment of prisoners. The policy demands that the prison manager treats the prisoners with human dignity that they deserve. The policy gives all prisoners the right to receive medical treatment at any time they get sick. The employees are required to receive complaints of poor health from the prisoners and to guide them on how they can receive medical help. Employees that interact with the prisoners on a day to day basis are also required to observe any behaviour that may portray an inmate as being unwell. The observation is important in case the prisoner is injured by another prisoner or even employee as such cases may see a victim receive threats against seeking medication.
Once in the prison’s medical facility, a qualified medical practitioner is required to address his/her issue. The practitioner should then give him/her the necessary medications to help heal the condition. If the prison’s medical facility cannot handle the inmate’s condition, the medical practitioner is required to request the person in charge of the prison to refer the prisoner to a better-equipped hospital. The policy explains the reason it ties the human dignity policy to the employee misconduct regulation. In the explanation, the policy states that the issue of medical intervention requires the cooperation of various employees in the prison. Each employee department has a clear role that they need to play. If any employee fails to do his/her duty in the chain, then he/she is guilty of being engaged in employee misconduct.
Prisons within Ohio depend on prison administrators which provide a prisoner with the necessary things once the state government sends them to the prison. The necessities help the prisoners preserve their dignity and cleanliness while they serve their time. It is the responsibility of the employees to ensure that the prisoners have access to human basic amenities. Other responsibilities on the hands of the employees include toiletries, opening water taps, and reporting non-operational sewerage system among other related activities. The responsibility just as in the case of medications is divided in the hierarchy of prison employees. They vary from the junior warden to the correctional facility administrator. The warden reports the blocked sewage lines and ensures that each cell is in a condition that would give a human being the sense of decency. The responsibility increases as one goes to the administrator who reports the things that their prison needs to the state government.
Depriving a prisoner of his/her dignity is a crime, and the responsible employees are guilty of employees’ misconduct. The policy states that each employee will be held responsible for his/her failing. The state government sends its inspectors on a regular basis. They inspect all the areas within the facility to ensure that the prison provides the prisoners with all the necessary things. The inspection ranges from the infirmary to the cells and even to the yards, and if there is proof of deprivation of dignity, investigations start.
Idaho Department of Correction Policy on Prisoner Torture by an Employee
The Department’s policy addresses the matter of any type of abuse to the inmate from any member of staff working in the facility. The policy explains that employees of any prison have the responsibility of overseeing the ruling of the judge. Therefore, they can only punish a prisoner if the judge recommends it or if the prisoner has violated the set rules governing the correctional facility. These rules include the cases when the prisoners physically capable of moving to fail to disperse from a scene of chaos if requested to do so by a warden. Another rule is prisoner refusing to go to his/her cell in case there is a request for a lockdown, among other rules. If a prisoner has not violated any of the rules, no employees are allowed to beat or cause any physical harm to him/her. The activity of unwarranted causing physical harm is the one that the policy refers to as cruelty towards a prisoner.
Idaho’s human dignity policy just like Wyoming’s policy on sexual offences requires the victim to come forward for the investigations to be able to start. Once the victim comes forward, senior employees have the responsibility to recommend further investigations. The use of severance cameras is also useful in the process of capturing culprits. The other employees are made to understand the importance of ensuring that they treat prisoners fairly. They are also to guarantee that they report any cases of torture to the prison management. Given their ability to liberally be in touch with the outside world, they can effortlessly report cases of torture to other law enforcement establishments if they are not pleased with the job of prison management. The policy reminds them that they are entirely in their privileges to do so. In the case of torture, a lot of duty rests on the shoulders of the top supervision of the reformatory. The policy informs the manager that they would be responsible if evidence proved that they had information about torture happening within the prison that they run or is they did not take any measures to see that the culprits face the full force of the law.
Comparing and Contrasting the Policies against National Policy Model
Wyoming’s policy on sexual offences in prisons borrows heavily on the national policy on sexual offences as described in Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. In the nation’s case any people who witness the offence, may it occur at home, work and/or in the neighbourhood should report the same to the authority. Any person who is a victim of a sexual offence is also advised to report the case to the police. The national government just as a prison has the responsibility to conduct investigations and take necessary legal actions against the perpetrator. However, the correctional facility and the national government’s policy differ on to who the victim or the witness should report.
The government requires the report to be made to the police directly; however, due to the nature of prisons, the policy recommends the complainant makes complaints to the prison administrator. Another contrast is in who makes the first investigations. The national policy model requires the police to investigate. However, the prisons’ policy requires the prison’s management to do preliminary investigations.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Policy on prisoner dignity has a lot of similarities with the national policy on human dignity. The national policy just as the prison’s policy requires each American to have access to basic needs. The contrast is who provides them with these needs. The government has not fully implemented the national policy as there are still homeless people in the country and no one seems to be held responsible. Ohio’s policy requires the prison administrator to follow it to the latter.
The final policy on torture also borrows from the national model policy that covers issues of assort. It makes it a criminal offence for anyone in a position of power to torture anybody in his/her watch. The policy is even more elaborate when handling the issues of law enforcers. The national policy just as the Idaho Department of Correction Policy demands that the uniformed officers should be the custodians of the law. The department cannot allow them to break the same law that they purport to protect. The contrast exists on what constitutes torture. In the national policy addressing general citizens, beating a person for not entering their house in time would constitute torture. However, that is not so in the case of the policy in prison and is understandable given the nature of prisoners and the discipline demanded from them.
Ranking of Policies
It would be very complicated to rank the policies as each touches upon the basic rights that each prisoner is entitled to enjoy. This paper ranks them on the ease of implementation. The human dignity policy is easier to implement as the majority of the employees see it as their job. There is also no one who could be against its implementing. It would, therefore, be ranked first. The second would be the policy of torture. It would be easier to implement as the inmates are likely to report the cases of torture easily compared to sexual offences. The third is sexual offences. The sexual offences are rare and would not be easy to uncover or observe them taking place. There are a lot of stigmas associated with sexual offences on the side of the victim. Even the most powerful people have had problems reporting that they are victims of a sexual offence.
Making the Policies More Effective
All the policies need one key thing to be even more effective. They all seem to place a lot of power on the prison management to handle all the issues. Therefore, they lack the necessary tool to ensure that there are checks and balances. While appreciating the difficult nature of implementing democracy in a prison, the policy should do more to make the prison management more accountable.
In conclusion, as shown in the paper, policies in such places as correctional facilities are very important. They ensure that the employees stay grounded and treat the prisoners as humanely as possible. For those employees that may choose to ignore these policies, there are clearly formulated consequences. The policies of the various state departments that run prison rhymes with the national policy models. However, given the nature of prisons, there will always be some differences between the national and state penitentiary policy. Moreover, the departments can make the policies better by implementing additional measures directed at controlling and monitoring prison management.