Institutional and non-institutional corrections for jails/prisoners are two approaches to rehabilitating criminals. The term corrections describe the administration of a system for monitoring offenders who have been apprehended, tried and found guilty of a crime. There are two main inmate populations in the correctional system: those in institutional settings and those in the community. Institutional corrections have been the standard practice for centuries, but in recent years, it has become evident that non-institutional corrections are more effective as it allows offenders to remain in the community to complete their punishments and be productive.
The corrections system in the United States falls into the aforementioned two categories. Institutional corrections describe typical incarceration systems whereby convicted criminals are placed in prison or jail to serve their sentences, while non-institutional corrections refer to community-based approaches to punishment that do not involve offender imprisonment, for instance, probation or parole (DeLisi and Conis 17). In other words, offenders are held in a secure detention center in the latter setting. North Carolina has approximately 56 institutional corrections facilities (PrisonPro). Some include Albemarle Correctional Institution, Alexander Correctional Institution, Bertie Correctional Institution, Caldwell Correctional Center, Franklin Correctional Center, and many others (PrisonPro). There are no institutional and non-institutional corrections in Vance County, my area of residence. I believe this is due to the very low crime in the community.
Although their primary objective is to rehabilitate criminals, institutional and non-institutional corrections operate differently. Institutional corrections’ major initiatives concentrate on purposely detaining offenders or suspects in jails or prisons for a certain amount of time until society completely rehabilitates and embraces them. Broadly, the purposes of institutional corrections are incapacitation, retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and reparation (MacKenzie and Lattimore 364). Rehabilitation alludes to programs intended to transform convicts into law-abiding individuals, such as educational classes in jail, training job skills, and offering therapy or social worker assistance. While this may not be the case for offenders sentenced to life in prison or death, the ultimate objective remains to turn them into responsible inmates.
With non-institutional corrections, it is unnecessary to incarcerate offenders. The offender may be allowed to return to his neighborhood under the watch of the parole and probation officer. If a child is involved, they can be placed under a social worker’s care. Instead of incarcerating offenders, non-institutional corrections utilize a wide range of program-based penalties that keep criminals under close watch in the community. These may include participating in community services such as cleaning the environment and volunteering in retirement or nursing homes.
In my opinion, non-institutional corrections seem more effective than institutional corrections. Firstly, unlike in the latter instance, family members do not necessarily have to suffer as a result of a member’s incarceration since the convicted person may still provide for them and remain close to his kids. Secondly, rehabilitation is more successful in non-institutional corrections since the offender will not be introduced to veteran criminals in jails who would encourage him to maintain a criminal lifestyle. Thirdly, the community may oversee rehabilitation, allowing for more meaningful adjustments. Finally, the expense of imprisonment in non-institutional prisons is reduced, which is tremendously useful for a government starved for funds.
The prison culture and environment are vital to public safety and well-being. Most jails are state-owned and -operated, even though private prisons are the subject of extensive policy discussion and public interest. This indicates that states are a crucial component of research for comprehending the far-reaching impacts of incarceration and the location of possible remedies. Corrections agencies at the state level must be responsible for instituting institutional policy changes. As illustrated in this paper, the penal system would be more effective if it reduced reliance on institutional corrections and instead embraced non-institutional corrections.
DeLisi, Matt and Peter John Conis. American Corrections: Theory Research Policy and Practice. Third ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning 2018.
MacKenzie, Doris Layton, and Pamela K. Lattimore. “To Rehabilitate Or Not To Rehabilitate: That Is The Question For Corrections!” Criminology & Public Policy, vol. 17, no. 2, 2018, pp. 355-377.
PrisonPro. “North Carolina Prisons and Jails.” Prisonpro.com, 2022.