9 Sep 2022


Community Corrections: What You Need to Know

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Academic level: College

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Community corrections are the penalties imposed on convicted criminals that take place outside the prison or jail. They involve disciplining offenders and criminals in their community or within their household. Community corrections act as an alternative to imprisonment or the court may give this offer to the convicted people as a condition to their release. This type of corrections requires the offender to attend a rehabilitation program, visit a community correction facility regularly or provide unpaid community services. Community corrections help in reforming criminals by punishing them for their wrong doing. This method of correcting offenders is exercised by the court of law or agencies mandated with this task (Mair & Burke, 2013) . Community corrections play a key role in protecting the citizens and the society at large. In some countries, criminals serve part of their sentences in jails and prisons and the rest of the time is spent in community correction services. This program is cost effective to taxpayers because it saves the government the resources that would be used to sustain these criminals in jail. Community corrections help the society slowly and gradually accept the offenders back into the community. Researchers have conducted studies into this issue of community corrections and many scholarly articles have been documented. 

Community correction can be considered as community-based programs or even sentencing options that are often reserved for all the non-violent and all the first time offenders. Focusing on community correction, the judge will have the different option at his or her disposal. Some of the community correction that a judge might adopt is house arrest where an offender will be required to remain in their homes, and this will be accompanied with few exceptions including work, returning to court and even religious services. When on house arrest, the offender must have the permission of the community corrections staff before leaving home. The other form of community correction that can be used is electronic monitoring, where these offenders will be required to wear a specific electronic ankle bracelet that will enable the community correction staff to monitor all their whereabouts easily (Mair & Burke, 2013). In the event offenders attempts to remove the ankle bracelet then they risk being charged with escape. Additionally, day reporting is a community correction that is specifically reserved for individuals who commit minor offenses and have no prior criminal record. Daily reporting will imply that the offender will have to be in contact with the community correction officer daily. This contact can either be in the form of a phone call or even in person. 

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The primary purpose of a prison was to be a form of rehabilitation through punishment. The removal of an individual from the larger society is a form of punishment and rehabilitation. This can help to change a person’s attitude and behavior at the same time, several programs can be used to prevent habitual offenders and at the same time help them get to their normal state of mind. The cost of maintaining and running a prison is very costly and many countries are adopting community corrections as a means of reforming criminals. Community corrections program has been a controversial issue because many opinions have been made about it. Strategies have been put into place to ensure that community corrections offer the best correction services to the offenders (Robinson & Raynor, 2006) . Community corrections are offered to criminals who do not pose a risk to the safety of the citizens. These program reforms criminals by ensuring criminal activities are not repeated. The question that is always asked about this program is whether it is an effective way of correcting criminals. People have realized that jails and prisons do not yield so much positive results on criminals as it was expected. This has led to awareness that community corrections are a better option of punishing offenders. 

The popularity of community corrections over imprisonment has led to this program straining its resources. People have realized that community corrections are more effective than prison incarceration and have opted to take community offenders to community corrections. This has increased the population in these community correction programs without any extra resources being added. This situation has lowered the standards of this service and there has been the need to find a lasting solution to this problem. In the past, prisons were thought to be the best correction facility for offenders and less people had embraced the idea of community corrections. Later, people realized that offenders who came from prison had a hard time blending back into the community and a majority of them embraced their criminal ways immediately after imprisonment. On the other hand, offenders who were taken to community corrections hardly went back to their criminal activities. This situation led to the awareness that community corrections were the best method to punish and reform criminals (Robinson & Raynor, 2006) . 

There has been the need to find out whether the community corrections facilities and agencies receive finances and resources to carry out its operations. In many countries, there has been the concern to improve and add more resources to community correction but not much has been so far. Community corrections are doing a great job in impacting good values on offenders and they are not receiving the right support in terms of resources. If these facilities are properly resources, they could offer the best correctional services to criminal. In the long run, the government would have to worry less about criminality in the nation. Community corrections ensure that criminal activities are reduced in the community (Robinson & Raynor, 2006) . This program helps criminals reform and at the same time it gives them a chance of being with their family and loved ones. Community corrections helps criminal who need certain treatment such as mental treatment and rehabilitation services attend them unlike the jail setting which limits them. 

For the longest time, the United States and many countries have used imprisonment as a means of correcting offenders. Prisons and jails have been the major concern and community corrections facilities have been ignored. Research indicates that 7 out of 10 criminals are undergoing community corrections. This indicates that an estimated 5.1 million number of people are undergoing this program. This shows that many people are embracing community corrections opposed to prison incarceration. This leads to the question whether these community corrections facilities are equipped enough to handle this large number of offenders (Zhang, Roberts & Callanan, 2006). Compared to jail and prisons, the current state of community corrections is of concern to many. The community corrections are overcrowded, lack basic resources and key services needed to reform these criminals. Lack of these resources in the long run affects the community because these criminals do not receive the supervision required. In the long run, the community corrections fail due to limited resources. Community corrections are failing due to lack of resource but this situation would be helped if the government ensured it supported this program. 

Research indicates that the number of paroles tasked to a parole officer has significantly gone up unlike in the past. Restrictions and punishments imposed on the offenders has also been increased which has lowered the effectiveness of community corrections. The state and the community should not expect much positive results from these programs if they are not financed and resourced well. The conditions and restrictions imposed on these criminals are harsh which causes more harm than good. For example, criminals may forced to go through drug rehabilitation program even when they do not have a substance abuse problem. For the longest time in the United States and many other countries, there has been the belief that imprisonment is the only option to correct offenders. The courts felt that the best way to keep the community safe and at the same offer correctional services to offenders is to lock them behind bars. This notion has received criticism because community corrections facilities have offered positive results than incarceration (Petersilia, 2003) . 

One of the most appropriate solutions to the current parole process is to make the entire process significantly less formal. Currently, the parole process is highly formal, and this has created a challenge where the process has become very slow. In some instances, it has been established that when an individual suffers from a potential panic or even anxiety disorder, it will follow that going in front of a given group of individual tend to be intimidating. Therefore, to have a less informal parole to hear a given offender will make them feel more relax and might also make them feel less on edge and this will reduce the feeling of being threatened (Petersilia, 2003). An individual who feels a little bit comfortable around a group of people might not feel the need to act tough. It is also important that any treatment that was initiated on an individual while in prison should follow that particular person even when they are on parole. For instance, continuing a counseling service on a person as started while in prison will reduce potential chances of the offender relapsing 

There has been the need to find ways that will bring change to the current state of correctional facilities. The government and other concerned agencies have come up with best practices that will bring a positive change to these programs. The first step towards changing the state of the correctional facilities is for the agencies to redefine their goals and how these goals will be achieved. Change cannot be achieved if these agencies still operate under the same mission, goals and mentality that they have done for the last decades. These agencies should concentrate on correction and ensuring public safety rather than punishing these offenders. The agencies should redefine the tasks entitled accorded to the parole officers, advance the technology in their facilities and add more resources. These agencies should focus on behavioral change as its basic role and not punishing the offenders. The agencies should enlighten the criminals that their main aim is to correct them and not punish them (Hardyman, 2001). This will offer a more friendly approach to them program unlike in the past where punishment was the main aim. The correctional agencies need to supervise these offenders based on the risk they pose to the community. This ensures that the people going through the services have some freedom in case they do not pose a risk to the community. After attending this program and one has reformed, the agencies in conjunction with the state should find incentives to reward them. This may include offering job opportunities so that these offenders will not go back to their past ways. 

A lot still needs to be done in the community corrections so that the desired results can be achieved. Studies indicate that much needs to be done to change the state of these programs. One of the areas that need improvement in this sector is to effectively blend technology to offer fast and quality services. Technology has become part of our lives and every sector needs to adopt it so as to keep up with changing trends. These facilities are receiving more offenders than their resources can accommodate. If they incorporated technology into their operations, they will be able to achieve quality and fast services (Robinson & Raynor, 2006) . These facilities need to improve on their response to crime and supervision programs to higher standards. In the past, the methods used did not yield the best results and much needs to be done to improve the supervision in the community corrections. The criminals should be accorded the right support for them to reform. 

Community corrections have been used as an alternative to incarceration to low- risk offenders. As a means of correction, community correction has yielded much better results than taking criminals behind bars (Marion, 2002). An assessment into this study reveals that the state of community correction facilities is not up to standard and this is the reason why the desired results have not been achieved. If these programs are given the right support, they eventually help the community deal with criminals in the best way (Marion, 2002). Prisons have for a long time spent huge amounts of taxpayers’ funds because they are expensive to set up and maintain (Champion, 2002.) On the other hand, correction facilities are cost- effective and easy to run. The only thing that needs to be done is for the government to increase its funding and support to these agencies that are tasked with running community corrections. Assessment into this issue needs to include ways of managing resources; the government’s funding of the agencies and finding better strategies of correcting the criminals. 

Studies have shown that there exist potential solutions to the current community corrections. It has been established that community correction is an effective solution to address issues related to jails and prison overcrowding. On the other hand, there is the need for the community corrections to have a deeper follow through. It is important to ensure that offenders who are the community corrections to attend certain mandatory classes that will equip them with certain critical skills that might help them when they are released from prisons (Petersilia, 2003). To make this effective, the classes must be offered at the different time to ensure that it addresses the needs of those with stable employment since it has been established that employment is critical when focusing on issues related to community correction. In addition to this, there is the need to ensure that community corrections have some of the community members within its panel in order to determine whether community correction has affected the community positively and it is the right was for all the offenders. 

Over a long time of period, incarceration was the only option for law courts to punish and correct criminals (Craddock, 2004). Imprisonment was thought to be the best option for these criminals but most of them did not reform and immediately went back to reason. On the other hand, those who joined community corrections showed a remarkable improvement in behavior. This led to many offenders join supervised community services as way of punishment. Community corrections offer the offender a chance to be with their family unlike the prison setting which keeps them behind bars. This has increased the population in these facilities thus experiencing strained resources. Researchers have found the need to conduct research to find better ways to operate these agencies. In the recent past, the number of offenders entrusted to one parole officer has gone up and restrictions imposed on the have become complicated. As the numbers of offenders in these programs go up, the budget set aside to finance them also needs to increase. If this does not happen, then the state of these facilities will deteriorate and increase the chances of failure of this program. 


Champion, D. J. (2002). Probation, parole, and community corrections . Upper Saddle River, NJ:Prentice Hall. 

Craddock, A. (2004). Estimating criminal justice system costs and cost-savings benefits of day reporting centers. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation , 39 (4), 69-98. 

Hardyman, P. (2001). Validation and refinement of objective prison classification: The 

experience of four states and common themes. 

Marion, N. A. (2002). Community corrections in Ohio: Cost savings and program effectiveness. Justice Policy Institute

Mair, G., & Burke, L. (2013). Redemption, rehabilitation and risk management: a history of probation . Routledge. 

Marion, N. (2002). Effectiveness of community based correctional programs: A case study. The Prison Journal , 82 (4), 478-497. 

Petersilia, J. (2003). When prisoners come home: Parole and prisoner reentry . Oxford University Press. 

Robinson, G., & Raynor, P. (2006). The future of rehabilitation: What role for the probation service?. Probation Journal , 53 (4), 334-346. 

Zhang, S. X., Roberts, R. E., & Callanan, V. J. (2006). The cost benefits of providing 

community-based correctional services: An evaluation of a statewide parole program inCalifornia. Journal of Criminal Justice , 34 (4), 341-35 

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