Institutionalization of Criminals as an Ineffective Process..

Institutionalization of Criminals as an Ineffective Process


Institutionalization is the process that is used in the institutions to reprogram the people entering the institutions. Through institutionalization in the institutions, the people are helped to conform to the procedures and accept them. Institutionalization helps to manage many people in the institution using a small number of staff. Institutionalization is mostly used in the prison to control the inmates by strict controls. There are methods that are used in the process of institutionalization which include depersonalization meaning that the person is denied their old identity immediately they enter the door of the prison. This is done by taking their fingerprints, dressing them in different clothing, disinfecting them, bathing them, and removing their personal possessions. The other process of institutionalization is when the inmates are forced to break with the outside world. This is done by denying them visitors and watching the way they behave after they receive the visitors. Their self determination is also destroyed when they are forced to obey by being given harsh punishments. The punishment given to them is both physical and psychological. An original idea which is institutionalized can die in the process or organization because of the energy and the vision that is lost. Institutionalization living demands that people face the charges that they are charged with which makes them have little choice.

Rationalism has been defined as the principle of accepting reason in the place of conducts, opinions and beliefs. According to Bishop, (2003), rationalism means that the reason should be aided by observations and it is supposed to be the ground of convictions. Rationalism is not based on philosophy and so it creates solutions to the symptoms. Using rationalism in prison or while dealing with a crime means that a crime is dealt with after a robbery has taken place. Rationalism does not consider moral dilemmas from a moral perspective. Problems like abortion has no rational solutions and the causes cannot be addressed.

Statement of the problem

Different people have talked about Institutionalization and they have given different ideas. Some writers have said that it has been ineffective and some have said that if the right process is used it can be effective while used in the prisons.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is to know the details of institutionalization of the prisons and to explain the possibility of having an effective institutionalized prison. The study explains the ideas from different writers some of which support the institutionalization and some of them do not support it and they say that it is ineffective.  The study also gives other theories that can be used instead of punishment of the offenders.

Literature review

As illustrated by Kropotkin, (1-150), anarchy in the institutionalization of criminals is not a very effective way. Anarchism is a theory that states that all governments are undesired and they are supposed to be abolished. Anarchism is anti state and it believes that a state has no purpose. The world should work together and all the men and women are equal. Kropotkin illustrates that all people should work freely and voluntary to achieve a common goal and they should work together which will result in the private property being abolished. Prisons do not end crime and they are supposed to be abolished.  The real issues are not solved in prison because the prison is cruel, futile and self defeating.

Anarchism affirms values to life and the basic value is freedom for the human being. Human well being and equality is also affirmed in anarchy. The state has been the barrier to the values and the freedom and anarchy means that a better society can be built without the state in control. In the institutions, anarchy is used as a means of authorianism which states that the people in power use the authority for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the prisoners or those who are under them. Human nature should be viewed positively and this will bring freedom to the human being.

In defence of anarchism as stated by Wolf, (12-18), the legitimate authority of the state cannot be made compatible with the autonomy of the individuals. This was concluded after the failure to discover the solution of the problem. Men are always responsible for their actions as the assumption of moral philosophy. This shows that men are free and being free makes them responsible for what they do. A person has an obligation to take responsibility of their actions and they have freewill. People who are responsible are usually bound by constraints which are moral and they become their own judge. People listen to different advices from others but they determine their own decisions. Authority and autonomy conflict and a person who accepts some commands from the others is said to have forfeited his autonomy. For a person to take responsibility of their actions it means that they make the final decisions on what they want to do. The autonomous people do not believe in a command and they may choose to do what has been commanded or not to do it. Autonomy acts against authority because the state issues authorities and they have the right to rule while autonomy is the obligation of a man where he refuses to be ruled. With autonomy being the primary obligation of a man, he denies that the state has authority over him and denies the duty to obey the state and the laws in the state. Anarchism only agrees to obey the laws and to comply for the time being and under certain circumstances. Anarchism works against the state and majors on the human rights and the conflicts between freedom and authority.

As Bosworth, (23- 100), puts it, the theories of punishment may include imprisonment and corrections of the people who are convicted. The prisons are used not only to manage and safeguard the boarders but they are also used in managing the domestic offenders. In the United States, prisons have been used in deploying the terrorist who are suspected and the enemies of the country. The states are struggling in dealing with the issues of overcrowding and the wardens have a hard time in dealing with the situation.  The conditions of the facilities that are used do not meet the threshold of acceptability. The 21st century prison has been reached at after changing the situations of the prisons. The ideas that people have held for so long about the prisons have been removed for accommodation of the modern prisons. Among the other things changing gradually, the diet also changed in the institutions and the rags that were being worn by the prisoners were replaced by good clothes and there was regular attention for the prisoners. The instigation of the prison labour, solitary confinement and education was introduced. This improved the lives of the prisoners and the life in prison leading to the current situation in the prisons. The inmates who were not whites and the women are the ones that suffered a lot in the prisons. There was a declaration principle that emerged from the Congress on Painterly and reformatory Discipline. The aim of the congress was to make the prisons to become a rehabilitation place for the inmates and to change the prisons. The purpose of imprisonment was to be changed and be a place where prisoners were to be rehabilitated. This gave way to new era for corrections in the prisons. There was an old rule that was being used and it meant that the punishment was fit for the crime and it was changed to letting the treatment fit the needs of the offender.

As stated by Carlson and Garret, (200- 203), the correction systems in the prisons need to be improved. One of the strategies to improve the prisons is to have the right administration and having them stick to their duties which are custody and intimate care. The wardens in the prisons should not leave their administrative duties and deal with the management duties. They should deal with the paperwork despite the demand of the attention and time. To be successful in their work, the administration is not supposed to have a fixed routine on what they do but they should have new innovations and change the way they do things. This will promote institutionalization for the prisoners. They should work as professionals to come up with new innovations. The jail and the prison administration are faced with the challenge of focussing on the activities and operational goals. They are also faced with the challenge of having specific safety programmes for a long time. The managers and the correction executives lack the control of the challenges that affect them in the institutional life. These results in having great responsibility which includes administrative, legal and moral responsibilities. The work of the administrator requires boundary spanning because of the functions they perform for the government. The prison administration is supposed to develop training programmes for the staff and also have organizational boundary spanning. The process that is used toward the boundary spanning includes.

  1. The new missions and the organization goals are supposed to be identified.
  2. The existing external constituencies should be nourished so that they can be able to support the new programmes and the goals that are to be implemented.
  3. Some changes in key appointments and in recruitment systems should be supported. This can happen if new constituencies are created that support the new goals.
  4. The forth step is the enhancement of the technical expertise for the organization.
  5. The members of the organization who accept the training goals should be provided with training and motivation.
  6. The routines of the organization and the point of both the external and the internal pressure should be scanned. This is important because it will help in identifying the weak areas which may involve corruption, mismanagement and bad reputation for the organization.

Performance management is another method that has been used in improving the correction facilities in the institutions. The performance management systems are based to serve the external constituency needs and the internal administrative.  Public communication is another method that is used in the improvement of the correction institutions. The administration is supposed to communicate about what they are doing and also they are supposed to communicate the processes used.

According to Pollock, (112- 114), the inmates in the prisons who are connected are able to get everything they want. This includes cellophanes, drugs and cameras. The prisoners in the maximum security prisons also secure cell phones which they use to commit criminal acts together with calling their friends and families. Due to this revelation, the correction facilities have come up with measures that are used to maintain the system. Searches are conducted for drugs, phones and the other things that are not needed by the inmates. These are the realities that are found in the prisons. The prison subculture has changed today because of a combination of issues which includes prison movements, the black market, prison gangs and confinement of minorities. The subculture today of the inmates is not the same as it was years ago.

As suggested by Crow, (3-5), offenders or the criminals should not only be corrected in the prisons or be imprisoned, but they should be treated like the people who suffer from plague. A criminal is treated as a public danger and their liberty is curtailed for some time until they no longer pose a danger to the community. When they are treated like people suffering from plague, they become objects of sympathy instead of being execrated. The treatment of the prisoners makes them less successful in changing their criminal tendencies than it happens with the sick people in the hospitals because they are treated in a better way. The suggestion is irrational because it means that the offenders will no longer be blamed for their actions and using of the word treatment has been associated with the sick people and medications. The connection between medicine and criminology has only been in the treatment of the mentally disabled people who may be in the prisons. As perceived by many, treatment is not only used in the medical terms but it also used to refer on how people are treated. This method of treating the criminal as sick people is an alternative way of punishing them and it is done before the prison systems. It has been argued that the prisons should be abolished and the abolition movement of the prisons has been there for a long time. Most circles do not think that the prisons can be abolished and the idea is always dismissed and referred to as impracticable.


The method that has been used in the research is secondary method. The use of the information from the primary data is not necessary. The method is cheaper and the secondary sources have more information than the primary sources would have.



Expected results

By the end of the research, the reader is supposed to understand what institutionalization is and the process that can be followed.  It is also expected that the readers will see the possibility that institutionalization can be effective.

Conclusion and recommendations

Institutionalization of criminals can be ineffective but also it can be effective if the processes are used well. Institutions especially the prisons are supposed to be institutionalized to reduce the criminal acts in the prisons and to help in the correction of the inmates.


Bishop, R. “Institutionalization.” Blue Lotus Press, September 2003. Viewed on 17th April 2011

Bosworth, M,  Explaining U.S. “Imprisonment.” Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2010. Print. p 23-100

Carlson. P. M., and Garrett. J. S,  “Prison and Jail Administration: Practice and Theory.” 2nd ed. Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc., 2008. Print. P. 200-203

Crow. I. “The Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders.” London: SAGE Publishers Ltd., 2004. Print. p. 3-5

Kropotkin. P. “Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings.” New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2002. Print. P. 1-150

Pollock. J. M. “Prisons: Today and Tomorrow.” 2nd ed. Maryland: Aspen Publishers, Inc., 1997. Print. p. 112-114

Wolff, R. P. “In Defense of Anarchism.” Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998. P. 12-18.


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