|By Terry Campbell, Professor, Kaplan University, School of Public Safety|
The March topic is ‘International Corrections.’ We are familiar with corrections here in the United States and understand the many legal issues and concepts that contributed to our current system. Yet, how familiar are we with corrections at the international level? While conducting some research I came across three particular areas of interest. I will discuss each of these areas by providing an overview, as well as some views and perspectives.
Through ongoing research and collaboration we continue to work toward improvement in corrections. When we begin to look at changes throughout corrections, Dr. Frank J. Porporino reminds us of the following: “Change is also more likely to succeed (and be long-lasting) when we adapt rather than copy possible solutions to problems. The models can serve as a guide, there are no universal best practice methods.” We also need to be aware of any cultural issues as well.
The United States Department of State has a handbook available to embassy employees and available online. This handbook was created by three State Department Bureaus: ‘International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Consular Affairs.’ Basic information related to the international standards for correctional systems can be located there. Some embassy officer’s duties require them to visit detention facilities located in the host nation. Embassy officers will visit these facilities for a variety of reasons. Two of the major reasons are to assist in collecting and observing information for inclusion in the ‘human rights report’ and to visit U.S citizens in custody.
This handbook can be located here.
I included the Table of Contents for the handbook in case you wish to review:
The handbook contains a scenario for review and what the visiting officer can expect. This also highlights many of the areas for review and observation. In addition, the handbook contains words with working definitions for officers. This was very informative and well prepared information. I identified only some of the potential problems and concerns often associated with corrections. As you review the following areas, you will note many parallels with our own corrections systems.
“The goal of a correctional system is to provide various degrees of confinement in a safe (for the offender and staff), secure, humane, and transparent manner, and to provide programs that give offenders the opportunity to reform and successfully reintegrate into society.”
The following are some individual areas to consider:
Vulnerable Populations- women, juveniles, and those with physical and mental disabilities, and other. These individuals are prone to be targets for ‘abuse, exploitation, or neglect.' Increases in female prisoners- this creates a multitude of issues consisting of, but not limited to, health care, mental health, family considerations, and other.
Discriminatory Treatment- prisoners of ‘racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, children, LGBT persons, and the disabled.'
As you can see, many of these areas identified are directly related to our systems. There are additional resources I will share with you related to human ‘rights and law enforcement treaties.’
Stay safe out there.
Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Kaplan University, School of Public Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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