Canadian Prisons Failure to Successfully Rehabilitate Inmates

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Canadian prisons are used for the purpose of confining offenders who have been convicted of committing serious crimes in the society. They are aimed at ensuring that the offenders correct their awful behaviors so that they become better persons at the end of the confinement period, who can promote the growth the economy in different aspects. In spite of the effort by the government and relevant bodies such as Correctional Service Canada to be able to rehabilitate these offenders fully, there have been challenges that have hindered the full rehabilitation of prisoners. Some of these problems include inadequate health care for offenders such as those who practice drug and substance abuse, increased cases of offenders with mental health problems, increased incidence of infectious diseases, aging offender population and increasing women population among others. Also, there has been increased numbers of gangs and criminal organizations as well as the Aboriginal population in the prisons. These problems have hindered the full reintegration of inmates in the Canadian prisons. In summary, Canadian prisons have failed to succeed fully in rehabilitating offenders as discussed below.

As time goes by, the number of old people in the Canadian prisons have continued to increase as shown by the Canadian demographics. The Correctional service Canada is, therefore, facing the challenge of having to take care of elderly people in prison. Older offenders especially those above the age of fifty years need specialized care such as improved medical care. Also, they require specialized needs in the areas of accessibility and mobility, adjustment to incarceration, peer and family relationships as well as conditional release. Older people are frequently attacked by chronic problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and poor eyesight. As the offenders get older, they also start to fear that they may end up dying in prison, and this disrupts their thinking. Also, the range of activities that these old offenders can engage in is limited since they are less energetic. These challenges have prevented the Correctional Service Canada from timely rehabilitating the older employees. This clearly shows that at the end, many employees leave prison even at their old age having not being fully rehabilitated from their initial status.

On the other hand, overcrowding in Canadian prisons has become rampant in both male and female prisons . This has led to situations where rooms meant for one inmate are used by two or more people. As a result, the prison environment becomes unfavorable and unsuitable for the inmates. In addition, due to overcrowding, the inmates develop other characters such as violence against each other. According to one of the most interesting essays on social justice, this is because all of them want to live comfortably. The mental health of the inmates may also worsen due to overcrowding. This makes them worse as opposed to providing them with correctional measures to help them be fully rehabilitated. As a result, the inmates are let in a poorer state than their initial state when getting to prison. This has questioned the effectiveness of the rehabilitation process in the Canadian prisons. This shows the need for measures to be taken to address the challenge of overcrowding in prisons.

The need for quality health care for the inmates is also a major challenge in the Canadian prisons. There is minimized health care in the Canadian prisons due to factors such as an increase in offender in the population of offenders, reduced number of health care professionals to cater for the needs of the inmates as well as increased costs in handling the health affairs of the inmates. Due to these factors, the offenders get inadequate access to proper medical, mental as well as dental care. This further slows the process of reintegration and rehabilitation of the offenders. As a result of reduced health care, there has been an increased incidence of mental health problems, substance abuse, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The Correction Service Canada is also faced with the challenge of keeping proper health records for the inmates. This has made it difficult to have a follow-up of inmates' health status. This has also contributed to the worsened health conditions among the employees. Research has also shown that as time goes by, the number of offenders with mental health problems in Canadian prisons increases at a higher rate than in the normal outside population. This has therefore questioned the rehabilitation process of Canadian prisons since these numbers are expected to relatively decrease rather than increase. On the other hand, drug and substance abuse has also shown to increase in the Canadian prisons. Drug and substance abuse has negative effects on the health of the inmates as well as encourages the inmates to participate in awful practices such as participating in gay practices while in prison. In general, inadequate health care has therefore shown to be a major block to the process of rehabilitation in the Canadian prisons.

The increased population of Aboriginal population has also been a major hindrance to the success of the rehabilitation process of Canadian inmates.Some of the characteristics of the Aboriginal population include; they have served other youth and adult sentences, have higher risk and need ratings in areas such as substance abuse and employment, have more health problems such as mental health problems and have affiliations with different groups of gangs. In addition, these Aboriginal offenders have challenges in reintegrating into the community. Instead, they end up being enemies to the community members as opposed to the expected friendly relations with the community as a whole. This has made them engage further in crime activities in the society and ends up in the prison again. The recurrent entry into prison among these Aboriginal offenders has truly shown that the periods they spend in prison are not of any help to them. Also, the fresh offenders who enter prison for the first time are initiated into the bad practices of the Aboriginal offenders. As a result, the bigger population of inmates in the Canadian prisons has been characterized by increased ignorance and lack of the need to change. This has made the Canadian prisons be, therefore, considered as centers of training offenders to commit much more crime instead of correcting their behaviors. As a result, the public and society have been concerned about this worrying trend. This has raised a lot of questions about the role of Canadian prisons in rehabilitating and reintegrating the inmates. This shows the need for interventions to correct this state in the Canadian prisons.

On the other hand, there has an alarming increase of dangerous and violent offenders in addition to increased gang organizations in prisons. It has become a challenge to handle offenders from gang organizations since they tend to be violent even to the Canadian prison staff. Also, gang organizations pose some challenges to the Criminal Service Canada such as participating in drug distribution in the prisons and recruiting new members in the prisons to join their gangs. They also intimidate the staff as well as try to be involved in corrupt practices with the staff. These individuals do not care about the consequences of their actions or even the magnitude of their sentence. The increased ratios of these dangerous and violent offenders have caused increased risks to the society since even confinement does not change the character of these kinds of inmates. The capacity of maximum capacity prisons has also continued to increase as days go by thus questioning the effectiveness of the rehabilitation process in the Canadian prisons.

Inadequate timely and safe release of offenders is also a major challenge facing Canadian prisons. Many offenders released from the Canadian prisons have limited skills, limited savings and have very little chances of employment (O’Hear, Michael and Wheelock 280).The little skills are as a result of limited training while in prison for the purpose of acquiring proficient skills to be used when they leave prison. As a result, the offenders who leave prison have very low employment opportunities in the society and lack a source of income to meet their daily and long term needs. These offenders who have left prison also face rejection and neglect from the society because of the crimes they committed. This further worsens their situation in the society they get in to and this makes them to be tempted to result to vices such as theft or other dangerous activities they used to engage in. Equally, these offenders if it challenging to fail to indulge in substance and drug abuse since they are used to consuming these drugs in the prisons. As a result, their health status becomes worse and in addition, this further accelerates their desire to commit dangerous crimes in the society. The high prevalence of these crimes committed by persons who were formerly inmates has raised an alarm among many people in the rehabilitation process of Canadian prisons. This has shown to support the fact that Canadian prisons have not yet succeeded in rehabilitating the inmates.

Based on the findings above, it is evident that the Canadian prisons have not been able to rehabilitate successfully the inmates in the prisons. The following recommendations would, however, enhance their ability to be able to effectively rehabilitate the employees. To address the challenge of mental health, there should be the introduction of clinical mental health screening for the offenders who are getting into the Canadian prisons. The implementation of primary mental health care in the Canadian prisons such as mental health counseling, support as well as treatment will promote the mental health of the inmates. Also, an increment in the number of clinical staff dealing with the mental problems of inmates will enhance an improved mental health of the inmates. A voluntary immunization program for the inmates against diseases such as Hepatitis –C will promote their health since the chances of infection are limited. The effective implementation of a Correction Service Canada's HIV/AIDS prevention will promote education, prevention, care, treatment and support of the inmates in the Canadian prisons. Regular Tuberculosis screening and surveillance should also be conducted in the prisons in Canada to ensure that the inmates are free of tuberculosis while in prison. To reduce the supply of drugs, there should be intensified searching of the persons’ visiting prison through the use of metal detectors and drug detection drugs. There should also be the intensified and frequent searching of the buildings in prison to identify the channels thorough which drugs get into prison. Regular urinalysis of some of the inmates in prison to check the drug and substance level in urine would also help to reduce the incidences of drug and substance abuse.

To address the needs of the older inmates, separating them from other younger inmates would enhance a better recognition of their needs.This is because it is possible to set up programs that cater to their special needs such as increased medical care. In addition, separation of older inmates from the young ones will enable the prison staff to give guidance and counseling to the older inmates and encourage them to avoid fears such as those of dying in prison. This will enable them to be able to appreciate themselves better and feel as being part of the larger society (O’Hear, Michael and Wheelock 260)

To address the challenge of the increasing dangerous and violent populations, there should be intensified training of staff to handle criminals who have been previously in gang organizations. Standardized processes should be put in place to identify criminal organizations in the whole of Canada together with their sponsors and equipment suppliers. Involving the public in identifying these groups will also enhance a quicker identification of the dangerous groups. Once the gangs have been identified with the support of the public, they should be secluded from the rest of the rest of the inmates where they are given specialized attention and treatment to rehabilitate them. In addition, separation of these dangerous offenders from the rest of the inmates reduces the chances that they will negatively influence the other inmates and lure them to bad acts (Ricciardelli 30). Intensive guidance and counseling should also be given to the offenders from criminal gangs and organizations to make them have changed attitudes and perceptions about life. This may promote a positive change of attitude and as a result, they may become instruments of change to other offenders who are not willing to change their negative acts

On the other hand, there should be the establishment of more confinement centers for the offenders to handle the issue of overcrowding in the prisons. The increase in the number of prisons in Canada will ease the problem of overcrowding in the prisons. As a result, there will be reduced incidence of increased violence due to overcrowding. In addition, the offenders will not have self-neglect since they feel that their needs are catered for while still in addition, more confinement centers will promote better living conditions such as proper air circulation which prevents the spread of tuberculosis. As a result, incidences of tuberculosis and other viral diseases will reduce in prison thus ensuring a conducive prison environment. This will contribute towards an effective rehabilitating system. All the recommendations stated above will lead to a better rehabilitation program.


In conclusion, from the discussion above it is clear that rehabilitation of inmates in the Canadian prison has not been achieved. This is because the Canadian prisons are faced with challenges such as overcrowding in prisons, increased number of dangerous and violent offenders, increased number of Aboriginal population as well as inadequate health care among the inmates. An aging offender population is also increasing among the Canadian population which is becoming a major challenge to the Correction Service Canada. However, with the recommendations highlighted above such as the increment in the number of prisons to reduce overcrowding and violent in prisons will facilitate the rehabilitation of inmates. Also, the provision of better medical, mental and dental services to the inmates through services such as screening for tuberculosis and the provision of clinical health mental problems will improve the health status of the inmates. Handling criminal organizations and gangs separately in prison from the rest of the inmates will also reduce the incidences of the recruitment of more individuals into the dangerous groups. Also, special treatment to these groups for example through intensified counseling and training them on other skills will enhance their rehabilitation process. The recommendations will, therefore, make the process of rehabilitation and reintegration in the Canadian prison more successful. Thus, the statement that the Canadian prisons have not succeeded in rehabilitating inmates is justified.

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