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Through a number of studies, many researchers have carried out series of research program aimed at exploring the life of prisoners and prison staff in light of phenomenon such as riots or rebellion in the prisons, abuse of prisoners in prison as well as assault of prison guards while on duty. This paper looks at some of the scholastic works that have attempted to shed light on some of the issues manifested in the prison environment with the aim of revealing the nature of interrelationship that exist in the prison setup. By looking at the data used for study, a number of conclusions are affirmed as evidenced from the individual research finding in each study of interest. Further one, the significance of each study is exemplified with regard to the prisoners as well as the staff working in prison such as those looking over death row prisoners, a mark of research contribution to the society.
Crowding, Social Control, and Prison Violence
This is an article written by Ekland in 1986 and dwells on the issue violence in the prisons systems. The article illuminates on the causes of violence and its association to the prevalence of cognitive confusion as well as tension due to overcrowding of inmates in the prisons. The article also examines the notion that violence in prisons serve as a control mechanism ( Ekland, 1986). In a nutshell, the article looks at the case of a Texas prison system in light of inmate-inmate assaults with weapons, homicide, and inmate-staff assaults that occur from time to time.
The article was written after analysis of data from the Texas prison system through the period of 1979 to 1984. The trends of violence are limited starting to this period during which the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) was experiencing dramatic changes with regard to the reduction of overcrowding of prisoners. In response to end violence, the TDC built new units to house inmates. The period of Between 1981 and 1983 was characterized with the passing of Legislatures that called for a comprehensive corrections package that emphasized on the community based alternatives to incarceration such as use of restitution centers The research conducted by Ekland was therefore necessary to investigate the correlation of prison density and the effect of legislation to the to the rate of violence in the Texas Department of Corrections ( Ekland, 1986).
From the findings of the research, it was apparent that the level of overcrowding was reduced however, the rate of violence within the prison rose considerable. For instance, the cases of homicide in 1984 placed the rate at a higher level compared to the other years. Ekland (1986) concluded that there was no strong correlation between prison violence and density. The study did however fail to investigate the way in which data was collected and reported on violence within the prison. This study has influenced the creation of sound policies in prisons.
Prison Riots as Micro revolutions: an Extension of State-Centered Theories of Revolution
This is an article written by Jack A. Goldstone and Bert Useem in 1999 and is centered on Prison riots which have been discovered to have numerous common features with revolutions such as administrative crises, divisions, elite guard isolation as well as widespread popular sense of injustice by prisoners and the airing of grievances concerning the administration actions put in place (Goldstone & Useeem, 1999). The article reveals the scholastic attempt to explain the social dynamics in prison through the use of instability theories.
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The article by Goldstone and Usteem (1999) reveals that prisons have for long exhibited a monarchial system and that riots within prisons are done with the intent of fighting against power by the inmates. Additionally, the article points out that wardens or prisons guard who "Crack down" on inmates rights do experience rebellion from the prisoners (p. 987). The authors of the article confirm that through the informal interaction and communication of the inmates, grievances and beliefs can rise to levels that can cause rebellion even when no organizational framework exist ( Goldstone & Usteem, 1999). This study focused on data from 13 riots that took place in prisons in the United States to find out the causes of riots.
From the research a number of riots were found to be motivated by changes that came from above especially from the federal courts that called for due hearing of prisoners who are found to have broken the prisons rules. This factors led to riots in institutions were this ruling was put into place as in the case of State Prison in Southern Michigan. In areas such as New Mexico and Lucasville, prison riots occurred due to negative correction measures put into place such as the elimination of inmates program. This study was thus of great benefit in the creation of policies concerning how prisons administration conduct their routine work while handling inmates.
Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? An Analysis of Prisoners on Death Row in the United States
Argys and Mocan (2004) explore the possibilities that death row prisoners face in prison. The likely outcomes that a prisoner may face include overturned sentence, death by other causes, commutation, conviction and or execution. This article also looks at the variables that may influence the manner in which the political process comes into conclusion on certain death row cases. The authors of this article reveal that the rates of executions has gone down in the last decades but accelerated when there was increased use of executions. Nonetheless, decrease in execution during the 1976 resulted from the declaration of some laws that enforced mandatory death penalty as unconstitutional.
The outcomes of the study used data from Capital Punishment from the United States. From the data, it was found out prisoners facing the death row increased in number in for about six times between 1977 and 1997. At the same time, the increase in death row prisoners corresponded to the general rise in prison population. The research also focused on other individual characteristic such as race, gender and education with respect to the likely outcomes facing death row inmates. On race, about 57 percent were whites while 42 percent being blacks with the other races taking the remaining percentage. Death in prison was found to be influenced by marital and age status with females being more likely to have their sentences commuted. This study is significant as it sheds light as to why minorities may have a high representation in prisons as compared to the majorities. The influences of governors on those who live or die come into light through the study (Argys and Mocan, 2004).
The Unconstitutionality of Prison Life
Hirschkop and Millemann in 1969 wrote a an article that addresses the failure of penal
Institutions in the handling of antisocial behavior experienced in the society through the use of effective and humanist fashion. This article provides a recount on the experiences of Jones, an inmate on death row. Taking a look at Jones experiences in life reveals the numerous antisocial practices such as sexual molestation even in the face of prison guards who are likely to ignore it. Prisons guards are also depicted as brutal with one spraying tear gas in Jones eyes after making a compliant (Hirschkop and Millemann, 1969).
The case studies used in the research by Hirschkop and Millemann (1969) manifest a recurring pattern of brutality and solitary confinement with guards harassing inmates. This study was significant in raising awareness on the need of using modern penal code benchmarks as a way of ensuring that instances of prisons abuse are reduced as well as facilitating fairness within the prison system. The study also motivated the supervision of guards with aim of ensuring that prisoners are treated with care and in a reasonable manner.
Interpersonal Violence and Social Order in Prisons
The authors of this article explore the relationship between prison violence and the social order that exist in prison systems. Violence in prisons is regarded as a factor that brings a decline of social order in the prison. The study also focuses in the prevalence of staff-prisoner assaults in prisons which has been regarded as friction points between prison regime and prisoners. The study was undertaken with the aim of understanding the interpersonal violence within the prison setting.
The researched centered on unjustified utilization of threats as well as actual force in prisons. The study revealed that white and black inmates were equally likely to commit acts of violence in the prisons and that prisons guards were more likely to take action against the blacks. This study has helped in the understanding of the nature of prisoners violence.