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Dissolving the Dichotomy of Private and Public Prisons: Lending Credence to the Innovative Potential of Prison Privatization

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Recidivism rates in the United States are alarmingly high. The vast number of inmates who re- offend upon release and re-enter into correctional facilities upsets people and many individuals focus their blame on the private and public prisons. Currently, the

Recidivism rates in the United States are alarmingly high. The vast number of inmates who re- offend upon release and re-enter into correctional facilities upsets people and many individuals focus their blame on the private and public prisons. Currently, the research that is available on private and public prisons is unpersuasive because it creates a harsh polarization between the two prison systems. The benefits as well as the detriments of each sector are explained in great detail, but all of the current research is lacking one thing: insider experience. The majority of the available research is conducted by people behind a computer screen or behind the binding of a book. While a wide variety of different articles, short stories, and journals have been published and are readily available to eager readers and researchers, these arguments repeat themselves and fail to weigh the complex merits of each system against the other; specifically, each body of work is lacking knowledge from people who have experienced both private and public prisons from an internal perspective. To compensate for this lack of ethnographic research, the current study allows the reader to get an internal perspective of public and private prisons. This was done by interviewing two wardens who have served on the federal, state, and private levels as well as touring a private correctional facility in Arizona. These experiences paved the way for novel research to be conducted and was used as a tool to weave the complicated web of private and public prisons in the United States. Findings, interviews, and ideas for the future of prisons are discussed.

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2018-05

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The Effect of Offender Gender and Sexual Orientation on Prosecutors' Reactions to Juvenile Sex Offense Cases

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The objective of this study was to determine whether prosecutors would be more inclined to prosecute a juvenile sex offense case when the offender is gay versus straight. I also tested whether the effect of offender sexual orientation would be

The objective of this study was to determine whether prosecutors would be more inclined to prosecute a juvenile sex offense case when the offender is gay versus straight. I also tested whether the effect of offender sexual orientation would be different for male versus female juvenile offenders. Based on previous research showing leniency toward lesbian juvenile sex offenders among laypeople, I hypothesized that prosecutors would be more likely to prosecute a case in which the offender was gay instead of heterosexual—but only if they were boys. In contrast, if the offenders were lesbians, I hypothesized that prosecutors would be less inclined to prosecute, compared to heterosexual girls. Based on survey data, I found that prosecutors’ decisions to prosecute were not affected by the offender’s gender or sexuality, but their impressions of the offender were. Prosecutors perceived males to be more likely to recidivate than females. Specifically, gay males were perceived as more likely to recidivate than heterosexual males; however the difference between lesbians and heterosexuals were nearly indistinguishable. Prosecutors also viewed gay males as having more negative attributes than heterosexual males. Contrarily, lesbian girls were perceived as having slightly less negative attributes than heterosexual girls. Still, females overall were perceived as having less negative attributes than males. These impressions on recidivism and negative attributes were important because they both positively correlated with the prosecutor’s decision to prosecute the case.

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2016-05

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MENDING A DETRIMENTAL CRISIS: PROPOSAL TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM THROUGH THE INCORPORATION OF COMPUTER SKILLS AND CODING IN PRISONS

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With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no

With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no sufficient measures have been taken by the United States to reduce recidivism. Attempts have been made, but they ultimately failed. Recently, however, there has been an increase in experimentation with the concept of teaching inmates basic computer skills to reduce recidivism. As labor becomes increasingly digitized, it becomes more difficult for inmates who spent a certain period away from technology to adapt and find employment. At the bare minimum, anybody entering the workforce must know how to use a computer and other technological appliances, even in the lowest-paid positions. By incorporating basic computer skills and coding educational programs within prisons, this issue can be addressed, since inmates would be better equipped to take on a more technologically advanced labor market.<br/>Additionally, thoroughly preparing inmates for employment is a necessity because it has been proven to reduce recidivism. Prisons typically have some work programs; however, these programs are typically outdated and prepare inmates for fields that may represent a difficult employment market moving forward. On the other hand, preparing inmates for tech-related fields of work is proving to be successful in the early stages of experimentation. A reason for this success is the growing demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is noteworthy considering the national average for growth of all other jobs is only 4 percent. It also warrants the exploration of educating coders because software developers, in particular, have an expected growth rate of 22 percent between 2019 and 2029. <br/>Despite the security risks of giving inmates access to computers, the implementation of basic computer skills and coding in prisons should be explored further. Programs that give inmates access to a computing education already exist. The only issue with these programs is their scarcity. However, this is to no fault of their own, considering the complex nature and costs of running such a program. Accordingly, this leaves the opportunity for public universities to get involved. Public universities serve as perfect hosts because they are fully capable of leveraging the resources already available to them. Arizona State University, in particular, is a more than ideal candidate to spearhead such a program and serve as a model for other public universities to follow. Arizona State University (ASU) is already educating inmates in local Arizona prisons on subjects such as math and English through their PEP (Prison Education Programming) program.<br/>This thesis will focus on Arizona specifically and why this would benefit the state. It will also explain why Arizona State University is the perfect candidate to spearhead this kind of program. Additionally, it will also discuss why recidivism is detrimental and the reasons why formerly incarcerated individuals re-offend. Furthermore, it will also explore the current measures being taken in Arizona and their limitations. Finally, it will provide evidence for why programs like these tend to succeed and serve as a proposal to Arizona State University to create its own program using the provided framework in this thesis.

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2021-05

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A Literature Review on the Effectiveness of Art Therapy for Treating Depression and Anxiety Among Individuals in the Correctional System

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A recent analysis has predicted that close to a million Americans will have died from contracting COVID-19 (Sullivan, 2021, para. 1). Unsurprisingly, the most vulnerable people, like those who have been incarcerated, have been hit the hardest (Brennan Center for

A recent analysis has predicted that close to a million Americans will have died from contracting COVID-19 (Sullivan, 2021, para. 1). Unsurprisingly, the most vulnerable people, like those who have been incarcerated, have been hit the hardest (Brennan Center for Justice, 2020, para. 1). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress affecting inmates both physically and mentally. Therefore, the maintenance of good mental health among inmates should be a concern. However, the nature of the correctional environment limits the therapeutic options available to health care professionals. Among the challenges mental health professionals face in ensuring quality care are a poor rapport between the care provider and client, having a client living in an environment where distressing factors are omnipresent, and a lack of resources (Gussak, 2015, p. 2). All of these issues are exacerbated when the client requiring mental health care is in the correctional system. Depression and anxiety are some of the most common disorders affecting the prison population. However, in the correctional system, therapies that have been found effective among a general population have been shown to not benefit 30% to 60% of clients (Abbing, Baars, Van Haastrecht, & Ponstein, 2019, p. 1). Effectively treating depression is of great concern because, as Gussak (2007) found, depression can lead to self-harming behaviors and suicide when left untreated (p. 2). Additionally, addressing and treating anxiety is of particular importance today as COVID-19 has been a significant source of distress; explicitly, one incarcerated journalist reported witnessing entire units of inmates experiencing high levels of anxiety and panic attacks (Popperl et al., 2020, para. 5). Thus, a critical review of the available literature can reveal the particular effectiveness of art therapy in treating depression and anxiety in prison populations. The impacts of implementing more effective therapies in the correctional system are a reduction in recidivism and successful reintegration into society. Consequently, this literature review will suggest a potential application of art therapy for improving the mental health of those incarcerated in the correctional system with the intent of engendering positive social impact.

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2021-12