The functioning of any society is based on the constituents
it has in the form of institutions which give the base and direction for a
civilized setting and the primary participants in the form of human beings.
To maintain harmony in such a setting, not only do guiding
institutions play a role but also corrective institutions have a part to keep
the unlawful and anarchy searching participants away from the entire bunch and
ensure the survival of the society. This service in itself is rendered by the
government which works on the collections from the taxpayers or from private
organisations who explore the maintenance of peace as a business opportunity or
both together serving a multitude of interests.
The country of choice is Brazil as it is a mixture of the
high incumbent and prisoner turnovers per arrest along with the lacking
infrastructure and investment. Brazil has been infamous for riots and
overcrowding in its prisons where most people who serve their sentence end up
in a cycle back to being behind bars. Another interesting fact to pick up is
that there are numerous cases around the country with have got the sentencing
delivered but not served due to the fact of lack of prisons in the country!
The primary categorisation of the spending to maintain
prisons are as follows:
Bedding & Clothing
The basic necessity of having a
bed to sleep on with clean clothes to wear is something which is not provided
to all inmates. Concrete beds in overcrowded prisons with at least 10 people
having to fit in space for 2 are common.
The safety concern for prisons is
real and dark alleys and insufficient electricity is an open invitation to
unwanted incidents. Relatives of prisoners have had a similar complains of
blackouts and power failures leading to a stop in the life of the inmates and
the vulnerability associated in presence of gang wars which are a common spill
over into prisons.
Although many independent NGO’s
have seen that there are no problems regarding the deliverance of food in such
places but there has always been a question on the quality standards along with
the equality of division of the food. The food has often led to the inmates
catching diseases which may not be 100% cured due to lack of sanitation and
Security & Staff
Debatably the source of most
problems in the lives of prisoners, the staff and security form the only
possible outlines of service providers. The incidents of riots breaking out
along with lacking living conditions are due to the mix of callousness,
corruption and irresponsible attitude.
The wage bill on these members of the system is the leading expense made on a
regular basis but the again the qualification check and regular turnovers make
it much more expensive that it already is!
Temperature & Ventilation
In general this is taken care of
when the blueprint of the prison is drawn up but then again the role of the
maintenance is important in making sure in real living the structure does
provide with the needs. Overcrowding and thus the overheating of prisons are
leading source of deaths of inmates. Some of them also have some breathing
difficulties which is challenged in dingy and suffocating environments.
Providing healthy water to all
inmates for all kinds of purposes is an expense which the authorities have to
make. Water can also if not provided properly lead to high medical costs of
prisoners and thus push spending up not necessarily which would be enjoyed by
Sanitation & Medical
Any civilized setting requires
the presence of proper sanitation and medical arrangements to ensure the basic
rights be provided. This in itself is very conducive to maintenance work and
regular health check-ups for inmates help ensure peace and safety within
premises, and also helps avoid any spread of diseases arising from the horrid
Multiple programs have been
launched to educate the prison population which is mainly consisting of young
men of colour and not more than 15% have had primary education and less than 1%
has gotten college education.
Even though it is manly an
infrastructural concern for the authorities, one cannot ignore the fact that
these centres have to be maintained the most as most of the day of the inmates
are spent in these common areas making it the bed of support for survival of
Point to be noted is that since
the passing of the anti-drug law in 2006, which makes the distinguishing
between possession and use very narrowly, has left it in the discretion of the
police. Previously the proportion of Narco convicts was 8.7% which jumped up to
around 40% in a matter of 5 short years.
Hidden Costs and Benefits to the society:
The society at large benefit by the system as it keeps the
streets safe and provides citizens with a sense of security. The prisoners in
such a setting are modelled in such a way that the punishment makes them weary
to commit another crime thus also reducing relapse rates of prisoners.
Treatment of prisoners who have mental and social issues is
made easier with a system in pace as it eludes them of the day to day need to
refrain to societal asks.
The negative effects outweigh the positive as the situations
in Brazil are considered horrible for humans making the sentence of the
prisoners much more severe than actually intended in the first place. It can
scar them for life and may also introduce them to greater evils in form of
serious offenders in the prison who could take advantage and lead to prison
violence and case of Gang wars like in Brazil.
To conclude as a personal opinion, the government is a
representation of the people of the country who strive to achieve the best in
terms of economic and social opportunities. Prisoners even though a public bad
are transitionary in my opinion as each and every individual deserves a second
chance to reform and lead a new crime free life. Taxpayers pay for a safe and
prosperous environment which includes the need for segregation of law
offenders. As a society it is the responsibility to provide every human with
the most basic of necessities and the government initiative makes this effort
socially acceptable and economically possible in the first place. At an
individual level though would anyone like to live beside a serious offender, so
they pay for maintaining social harmony and peace for their own self interests?
It is just rational socially and economically to take responsibility of such
establishments as it promotes the general interest and also utility driven