“Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility’ ethics refers to the study of the moral value of human behavior and the rules and principles that are meant to govern the behavior” (Moser, 2010). A theory that falls under this is Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the belief that moral rules should be choices made by a society to promote the happiness of its members (Moser, 2010). With that in mind, it is safe to say that the treatment Of prisoners would fall into this.
How prisoners are treated should be viewed in every instance. Do prisoners deserve to be treated fairly with the prison system while they are incarcerated? Each century brought on different standards for how prisoners were and are treated, from the middle ages of beatings to the recent times with prisons and programs to help them. In older societies, the Middle Ages, criminals and prisoners punishments were based on the crime committed and the severity of it. For something that we now consider small, such as theft, back then it was punishable by having your right hand cut off.
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Other crimes, such as vagrancy, was punishable by being placed in the stocks in the towns square normally and being beaten by the towns people. Women charged with adultery were often drowned. Men who raped, committed manslaughter, and/or committed robbery were often hung in cages and left for the public to see their slow death. Some times, they were even removed just before death, to be quartered, so the pain would kill them (Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages). These were common practices then and were known by the people. However, the people who committed these crimes knew the risk before doing so.
That was not considered back then to be unfair treatment to prisoners. Some were wrongfully accused, but there was not an option to prove with evidence. They often went on peoples word and witness accounts. Mistreatment in the middle ages was considered to be unsuitable housing/jails, lack of money to provide for their prisoners, and lack of medical care and medicine. Often people died from illnesses before they could even make it to their trials. Until a hundred years ago, the Middle Ages ways of punishment were the way it was. It was not until approximately 100 years ago that it became noninsured barbaric and a type of torture.
In the societies of today, we are not authorized to kill murderers or rapist without a trial and conviction by a jury. Even then it can be many years before they are put to death fifthly are given the death penalty when they are convicted. This can be prolonged if they continue to file appeals. Back then, punishment was publicly displayed and they didn’t wait around to give death to murderers and rapist. According to the American Bar, correctional authorities or guards should use the following guidelines when it comes to the treatment of prisoners. Correctional authorities should provide prisoners with and implement effective policies and procedures for: (a) humane and healthful living conditions; (b) safety from harm, including protection from punitive or excessive force and protection from abuse by other prisoners and staff; (c) necessary health care; (d) freedom from staff harassment and invidious discrimination; (e) freedom of religion and substantial freedom of expression; (f) conditions conducive to maintaining healthy relationships with their families; (g) opportune ties to participate in constructive activity and rehabilitative programs; and (h) unimpressive re-entry planning; (I) investigation and resolution of complaints and problems; (j) fair and rational decision-making; and (k) internal and external oversight of correctional operations. ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Treatment of Prisoners,” Third Edition 0 2011 , American Bar Association. ) It also States how they should be governed while imprisoned. “A correctional facility should be safe and orderly and should be run in a fair and lawful manner. Imprisonment should prepare prisoners to live law-abiding lives upon release. Correctional authorities should facilitate rissoles’ reintegration into free society by implementing appropriate conditions of confinement and by sustained planning for such reintegration. A correctional facility should maintain order and should protect prisoners from harm from other prisoners and staff.
Restrictions placed on prisoners should be necessary and proportionate to the legitimate objectives for which those restrictions are imposed. Correctional authorities should respect the human rights and dignity of prisoners. No prisoner should be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or conditions. For a convicted risen, loss of liberty and separation from society should be the sole punishments imposed by imprisonment. For a prisoner not serving a sentence for a crime, the purpose of imprisonment should be to assure appearance of the prisoner at trial and to safeguard the public, not to punish. A correctional facility should be appropriately staffed.
Correctional officials should implement internal processes for continually assessing and improving each correctional facility. A correctional facility should be monitored and regularly inspected by independent government entities. A lack of resources would not excuse treatment or conditions that violate prisoners’ constitutional or statutory rights. Governmental authorities should provide sufficient resources to implement these Standards. If governmental authorities elect to furnish prisoners any services by contracting with private providers, those contracted services should comply with these Standards, and the correctional agency should monitor and ensure such compliance, and should be held accountable for doing so. (ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Treatment of Prisoners,” Third Edition 0 201 1, American Bar Association. In today’s society, there are millions of people incarcerated within the United States prisons and jails alone. The way they are treated while in, must be viewed from an ethical standpoint. Before making a decision about a course of action, the utilitarian is asked to consider the effects on the entire population over an infinite period of time (Moser, 2010). From the utilitarian view, you can argue that prisoners are being treated well or not being treated well. Not all people may agree with this idea that maximum happiness could be a basis of morality.
Today, people feel like inmates who are in the system should be allowed to eave the same fair treatment as those who are not in the system. Every person deserves the right to be treated with respect and equality. Just because they are locked up does not mean that they should not be treated as well. Yes, their crimes are what put them there, but they do deserve to have medical care, running water, and meals provided. They do have limitations on what they can and cannot do though. They cannot come and go from the facility as they please. They are under constant watch Or surveillance not only for their protection, but for the protection of other inmates as well. They are allowed the basic necessities as well.
Each cell has a working toilet, sink, and sleeping area. They are given meals daily and hot showers. Each inmate is given clothing to wear and linens to sleep on and with. Most prisons today have the inmates living rather comfortably. How comfortable should inmates be while incarcerated though? In most prisons today, inmates can join programs to help with the problems that put them in to begin with if they want to do something to change. They have use of computers and are even offered programs to go to school to get their GEED or further their education by taking classes to learn a trade or get a degree hat can be used when they get out. They also have libraries now to help enable this.
Inmates can receive work assignments and receive compensation to go into their accounts. Prisons even have state the art gyms that are available for use by the inmates. It is great that they are able to better themselves while in but at whose expense? As taxpayers, we are paying for the necessities with the understanding that these items are required for them to survive and sustain, but I don’t think as a society, we should have to foot the bill for an inmate to further their education. They should have to pay the ill on it if they would like to continue to progress. While they may be incarcerated, they can, however, apply for grants, scholarships, student loans, and financial aid to name a few.
They have the ability to access and apply for these things. Our taxes and funding from local, state, and federal governments should go directly to provide them shelter, meals, and medical. With all Of these things available to them, would say that they are being treated very well, if not better , than the taxpayers who provide the money to them. In newer super Max prisons, inmates are in solitary confinement 23 hours a ay. They cannot have newspapers, watch television, or have contact with other inmates. They also have only minimal contact with the guards. Here, they receive only the minimal necessities needed. But, they still get the care and treatment if needed.
They also have running sinks and toilets, as well as a sleeping area. They do not have all the luxuries that other prisons have. They are not able to work out or be in common areas at any period of time. They are also not offered any of the programs or educational perks that other prisons are. The inmates in these super prisons are usually the worst of the resort and the habitual troublemakers. As for whether or not inmates are treated unfairly, I do not believe that this is the case at all. Prisoners today, live more lavishly than most law-abiding citizens. They receive their additional education on our tax dollars and get more amenities for free than we do. O understand that some prisoners are trying to better themselves and be a better person for when they are released. Some are truly trying to rehabilitate themselves. They want to be part of society and not be part of the problem anymore, but We should not have to pay for it all. Ethical egoism states that when faced with a situation, one should always consider what is in their best interest. But, relativism best suits utilitarianism in such that one should consider if following a rule might impose a risk. I believe that with prisons today, people see that going to prison might benefit them more than staying out. They are given a place to sleep, meals, and access to all the necessities they need.