UK and US Prison Comparison System
Prisons have been seen to be in the frontline of the correction of bad behavior shown by citizens of a particular place (Joyce, 2017). Wrongdoers and criminals are taken after that, being sentenced in a court of law during trial. The people who go to prison serve different sentences, with some ranging from a few days to some sentences lasting the entire lifetime of a person (Joyce, 2017). Other times, prisoners who are about to be executed are placed in the cells for some time before their execution day arrives. Prisons are mainly supposed to serve four purposes. The fist function is retribution for crimes committed against society. The second function is incapacitation, which removes criminals from society and takes them to a place where they cannot harm people. The third function of prisons is deterrence, which prevents people from committing other crimes in the future. The last and most crucial function of prisons is rehabilitating criminals to change their wrong ways and become better and essential people in society (Joyce, 2017). Over the years, different countries, states, and territories have developed their prison systems, all different and unique. In this paper, I will be comparing the prison system of the United States of America and that of the United Kingdom.
In most prisons and correctional facilities worldwide, the living conditions of people in those places are very bad. In the US, most prisons were dirty, bug-infested, and unsafe for prisons due to the fights and gangs formed in prisons, and lacked places for prisoners to work out and get fresh air. This usually led to mental illness, with mentally ill patients forming around 6 to 14% of the incarcerated population (Bosworth, 2018). This is due to the minimal support from politicians and the government. In the UK, on the other hand, most prisons have habitable conditions. Women and maximum-security prisons have decent conditions for inmates. Overcrowding is minimal and only occurs when a cell is meant to hold one person holds two instead. However, the cleanliness and organization of the prison remain to be the same. Unhygienic conditions are also seen in some local prisons, with prisoners have to eat in unsanitary conditions (Staines, 2016). However, UK prisons have better living conditions than in US prisons.
In the US, the incarceration rate of prisoners stands at 698 people per 100,000. This is a very high figure, and as of 2007, the US had over 24 % of all the prisoners in the world (Travisono & American Correctional Association, 2018). This means that about a quarter of all the incarcerated people in the world are in US prisons. 53% of the people who are incarcerated in the US prisons are convicted for non-violent crimes. The country has also been seen to have most of its citizens in the country’s prison more than any other country. The incarceration rate of prisoners in the UK is very low compared to the rate. In England and Wales, the rate stands at 173 prisoners per 100,000. In Scotland, the rate is at 162 people per 100,000 people. The lowest rate is in North Ireland, where the figure stands at 96 people per 100,000 (Jewkes et al., 2019).
There are several types of prisons in the US. The number of prisons may vary, with some prisons being more than others are. The first type of prisons is the federal prisons. Currently, the federal prisons are 1183 and house over 2.2 million prisoners. The second category of prisons is Juvenile correction facilities. The facilities are 1772 and have about 86 thousand inmates all in total. The local jails have the most number of facilities, with about 3,134 all over the country. The local jails contain 785,556 inmates (Bosworth, 2018). The country also has county jails, psychiatric prisons, military prisons, and other correctional facilities, small in number.
The UK has a total of 117 prisons, which are located all over (Staines, 2016). One hundred four of these prisons are run and managed by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service ( HMPPS), while private companies manage the rest. Prisons in the UK are categorized according to the risk of escape of prisoners, the harm the criminals would cause the public if they escaped, and the threat posed to the stability and control. Using the above criteria, the prisons are ranked from category A to category D, with category A having the highest security and category D having the lowest security. Prisoners in Category D are even allowed to leave prisons to study and work outside the prison walls.
Many deaths occur within the walls of prison. The deaths may be natural or caused by external factors such as fights, injuries, or illnesses. In the US, the total mortality rate is 128 people per 100,000, while the figure in prisons is higher, with the mortality rate standing at 264 people per 100,000. This means that about 6,000 people lose their lives every year while in prison (Travisono & American Correctional Association, 2018). The death toll in the UK prisons is lower, with the figure standing at 1364 deaths per year (Staines, 2016). With all the above comparisons, it is seen that the prison system of the Uk is better than that of the US. This means that the US should invest some money to make some renovations since those in prisons are also human beings. They need to be shown care and support from the country as they rehabilitate and become better society members.
Bosworth, M. (2018). US prisons and correctional facilities. SAGE.
Jewkes, Y., Crewe, B., & Bennett, J. (2019). Handbook on uk prisons. Routledge.
Joyce, P. (2017). Criminal justice: An introduction. Taylor & Francis.
Staines, J. (2016). Life in UK prisons.
Travisono, A. P., & American Correctional Association. (2018). The American prison. Amer Correctional Assn.
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