Social Ecology of Community Corrections

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According to Byrne, in his study of the social ecology of communitycorrections, the current correction system is drifting away to becomelike a police department. It has therefore been facing a gradualfailure, and there is a need to understand the link betweenindividual and the correction system. Evidence lacks on thedifference between the current correction system and the traditionalpolice performance. Offenders have been subjected to coerciveprocedures and similar to police activities (Byrne, 2008). Althoughmost people view the current correction system as necessary tomonitor offenders, the methods have become coercive and non-compliantwith the community principles. The result has been a perception ofnon-performance in the current system and lack of cooperation.

The current community correction program has various features thatdefine its performance. The systems have invested in expandedsurveillance technology and increased supervision. The current stafffocuses on surveillance and control strategies. Also, while hiring,the departments concentrate on individuals with a criminologybackground as opposed to sociology and psychology (Byrne, 2008).They, therefore, tend to be more of administrators than counselors.The author indicts that, these features have made the current systemto reflect the characteristic of the correction department.

Besides the structural composition of the correction program, theobjectives set by the staff has also led to its poor performance. Themain aim is the security of the community rather than on therehabilitation and behavior change of the offenders. Byrne indicatesthat there is little attention to the conditions in which individualslive. Most of the criminals live in packets within the community.Even after the correction programs they are likely to drift back totheir initial conditions and this increases the chances ofre-offending. It explains why the correction system invests more onsurveillance and control. The method will only increase the burden onthe correction departments and a large number of re-offenders.Concentrating on the risk factors that lead the offenders to crimecan be instrumental for the safety of the community in the long-run.

The society is skeptical about offenders changing their behavior dueto the current rate of re-offending cases. A link between thecommunity participation and the need for change may increase thesupport of community members. Byrne (2008) points out that one of themistakes that the community makes is to measure the success of thecorrection activities and the rate of crime. The number of offenderscommitting crimes after undergoing the correction program may reducesignificantly due to the increased intense surveillance and control.However, it does not reflect the actual correction of the offenders.

Finally, the article indicates that everyone wants the offenders tobe monitored, but very few people focus on the conditions that leadpeople to commit crimes. To satisfy the needs of the citizens, thelegislators act swiftly to pass laws to increase surveillance andcontrol. However, they do not make policies to control theenvironment that aggravates the risk to committing offenses. Itexplains why in more than 30 states, legislators have passed laws forlifetime supervision. The author concludes that unless the communityidentifies the contributing factors to crime, the correction programcannot be effective. Some of the diversionary activities that havebeen effective in helping offenders include calling them to militaryduty and relocation. However, these cannot be prioritized unlessthere I a paragon shift in the current correction system.


Byrne, J. M. (2008).The social ecology of community corrections—understanding the linkbetween individual and community change. Criminology &amp PublicPolicy, 7(2), 263-274.