A History of Corrections

The United States of America has had a long history of corrections that continue to evolve to date. This paper will discuss the history of correctionsin relation to the correction strategies that are observed by the United States. The history of corrections involves the transformation of early modes of punishment such as corporal punishment, incarceration and death of the offenders to modern forms, which are in line with current forms of offenses. The history of corrections indicates that individuals are always subjected to punishment after commission or omission of certain acts that are stipulated in the law. Research indicates that corrective strategies are put in place in order to ensure that every citizen operates within the set standards in society. Most of the old strategies of facilitating the correction of individuals were regarded as brutal and in breach of human rights. Therefore, the United States uses current measures of correction such as community service, incarceration, death sentences and charging of fines to offenders.  

Overview of the topic

Research indicates that modes of correction in America have evolved over a number of years in order to meet the changing needs of society. The offenses that are committed by individuals in the contemporary world seem extremely complex; hence, there is the need to review the mode of correction continually. Punishments will always be administered depending on the nature of the offense and the law that has been breached by an individual. This means that the magnitude and severity of punishments will always differ among individuals depending on the mistakes committed. Corrections would only be effective in cases where they are conducted by established authorities that are set in place to monitor the behavior of citizens. This implies that individuals are not allowed to take the law into their own hands by punishing alleged criminals. They should instead hand them over to authorities, which will ensure those criminals are effectively dealt with according to the nature of the offense. Corrective authorities would always ensure that individuals are corrected according to the procedures that are set up.

Punishments that are intended for corrections of individuals are closely related to corrections. Research asserts that one of the key purposes of punishment is to rehabilitate the individual. Rehabilitation entails learning about the required modes of conduct in society and moving out as a reformed individual ready to comply with the established laws. The purpose to rehabilitate individuals brings about the relationship of punishments to the entire body of corrections, which aim at creating a society where individuals understand and respect established laws. More so, this punishment relates to corrections because of its emphasis on eliminating criminals from society with the aim of giving peace to society. Criminals are punished by being incarcerated in jail where they are kept away from society. This ensures that they gradually reform as the community enjoys a significant level of peace due to their absence. The National Association of Social Workers (2010) reiterates that this illustrates the close relationship of this topic to corrections. This topic is related to corrections because it entails retribution. The law provides that no individual should gain at the expense of others. Punishment is always purposed at correcting situations where some individuals take possessions at the expense of others. It always ensures that the owners of such possessions are located and their possessions are given back to them as soon as possible. The principle of restitution emphasizes the relationship of punishments to corrections in the contemporary society. Therefore, punishments are also used as a threat to other individuals intending to commit offenses in society. Thus, it corrects the situation by ensuring that such individuals keep off intended offenses.

Currently, correction is perceived a significant measure of ensuring that every individual complies with the provisions of the law. The corrections practice is handling corrective punishment through a number of strategies in order to ensure that the society is secured from criminals. The research indicates that authorities punish individuals through imposing of monetary fines, advice to take part in community service, forfeiture of property, restitution of property to victims, jail confinement and death penalties. In civil cases the punishment is always aimed at compensating victims in order to ensure that the issue is solved fully. Currently, the corrective practice in the United States involves community service punishment, such as sweeping public highways or washing public toilets over the stipulated period. More so, the correction practice is handling the issue through imposing of monetary charges upon individuals. This demands that one pays according to the offenses committed. Severe offenses attract the payment of huge amounts of money. Additionally, the correction of individuals is being handled through locking up some of the offenders in order to protect the community from further offenses. Lastly, the topic is being handled through the pronouncement of death penalties against individuals. This is effected through execution of offenders for different mistakes.


The corrective strategies that are effected through punishment have elicited immense debate among citizens and other interested parties. People hold differing views on the corrective strategies that are used in the American society for promotion of moral standards in society. For instance, those in support of the purpose of punishment assert that punishment is the only way to ensure that there is fairness in society. They assert that punishment plays a key role in ensuring that the property initially owned by individuals is returned despite being lost. For instance, with punishment people are able to get back their property, hence promoting a high degree of fairness in society as unfair ownership of property is eliminated gradually through the purpose of restitution.

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The history of corrections has also received positive criticism from individuals who assert that punishment plays an instrumental role in transformation of the behavior of individuals. Research indicates that one of the key ways of punishing individuals is by ensuring that they are locked up in jail for a number of months or years. Their continued stay in jail is in itself a lesson to these individuals, as they gradually learn on how to be responsible and conduct themselves appropriately. Wright (2010) asserts that their behavior is regulated through various tasks that they take part in as they serve their jail terms. Therefore, the purpose of punishment has been perceived as being effectively achieved through different activities that are used to achieve desirable behavior in society. For instance, individuals in prisons are taught different skills such as masonry and carpentry, which plays an instrumental role in their behavioral transformation.

Corrective strategies using punishment have also been criticized negatively by individuals in other quarters. They assert that capital punishment breaches the rights of individuals to life. Capital punishments have been perceived as malicious approach to human life and the freedom of individuals to live happily in society. Research indicates that most individuals have criticized capital punishments through assertion that they are not effective in alleviating crimes within society. The key role they play is to infringe on the fundamental rights of individuals and cause agony to relatives instead of ensuring that the goal of correction is achieved in society. The negative critics also observe that some of the capital punishments cannot be compared to the offense committed by the individual. Thus, individuals could be corrected using other means instead of being exposed to capital punishments, which are in contravention of their rights. For instance, an individual who commits murderous offenses should not be executed but should be gradually guided about the quality of life and the need to protect life of individuals in society. They also observe that most of the juveniles are brutally handled in different corrective authorities hence negating the entire practice.

Research indicates that critics are also of the opinion that it is not easy to achieve effective correction of individuals because of the loopholes that exist. For instance, some criminals have escaped from cells they are locked in and have participated in other offenses. This means that there are many loopholes in the entire system of achieving the purpose of punishments. More so, bribes have been used to vindicate criminals of their offenses hence promoting impunity in most of the cases. The U.S. Department of Justice (1995) asserts that authorities have not been able to achieve the purpose of punishments due to the inefficiencies that exist among some officials. For instance, a criminal could give some dollars to officials to hide evidence and he or she would not be punished due to the lack of sufficient evidence. Therefore, critics assert that it is not that easy to achieve the purpose of punishment due to the existing loopholes in society.

Measures to Address Problems

Research asserts that significant measures could be adopted in order to address the key problems inherent to the topic. One of the key measures is to ensure that individuals working in the correction departments are vetted adequately. This will help address the problem of bribery that is inherent in the subject. Notably, effective corrections have not been achieved because of the inefficiencies that exist among different officials in the department. Therefore, effective integrity and academic tests should be conducted during the vetting process in order to ensure that only rightful individuals are picked upon to promote the achievement of the purpose of punishment. A clean body that is free and fair would ensure that the key purposes of punishment are achieved according to the policies that are set out in the constitution of the country. For example, an independent commission could be chosen in order to vet all members to the correction office and ensure that integrity is maintained in their entire operations. This would be effective in promoting sincerity in the achievement of the purpose of punishments.

Another key measure that could be adopted in addressing the problems in the topic is involvement of experts in the process of correcting individuals. Psychologists could be used to provide effective guidance to different individuals on the significance of the punishments they are subjected to. This will play an instrumental role in ensuring that everyone takes positive approach to punishment, as this will help in the achievement of its core objectives. Guidance for criminal would help eliminate the loopholes that exist and the attitude of resistance to change.  According to Gershoff (2008), the involvement of experts such as psychologists would be instrumental in ensuring that society develops appropriately in line with the changes that are brought about by professionals. The effective correctional strategies would be achieved in cases where these individuals are involved, and the guidance that they offer is effective enough. For example, psychologists could be brought to the cells where criminals are confined in order to offer effective advice that would help correct them. They would be advised on the significance of changing and operating in line with the demands of society.

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Lastly, these problems could be addressed through ensuring that there is a standard measure of crimes before the administration of punishments. Research indicates that most individuals have been noted complaining about the punishments they receive and their sincerity. They have blamed some of the punishments that are imposed to them as being extremely exaggerated compared to their offenses. This means that it is difficult to achieve the purpose of punishment when attitudes of individuals do not agree with the punishments that are used against them. There should be clear definition of the magnitude of offenses and the nature of punishment the individuals should be subjected to. This will be instrumental in eliminating all the reservations pertaining to punishments and their fairness in society. Therefore, the United States of America would ensure that there is adequate execution of punishments by paying attention to clarification of offenses and the level of punishment used.


In conclusion, the United States of America has had a long history of corrections that continue to evolve to date. Punishment is one of the key strategies of ensuring that individuals are corrected and work in line with the policies set. Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something unpleasant on a person in response to behavior that is deemed undesirable by the established authorities. Research indicates that punishments have been put in place in order to ensure that every citizen operates within the set conditions in society. The severity of punishments in the United States differs depending on the offence that has been committed by an individual. Individuals could be punished through serving jail terms, being given the responsibility to take part in community service, death sentences or being charged some money. This is done with the purpose of ensuring that there is the deterrent for such individuals from committing offenses, restitution of property and moral transformation of such individuals. Therefore, corrective strategies continue to be transformed in the United States of America depending on the offenses committed by individuals.

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