Thursday, September 26, 2013

History of Cannibalism

Cannibalism is an act that has been practiced throughout history in several ways whether for religious purposes, means of necessity, or as means for sexual gratification. Dow (“Cannibalism”) defines cannibalism as the act of either a human or an animal consuming its own species. There are two types of cannibalism among humans, exocannibalism and endocannibalism. The former is the practice of eating a person of an enemy group, whereas the latter is the practice of eating members of one’s own group. The word “cannibal” derives from a Latin American origin. During Columbus’ exploration of South America, he came across the Carib Indian warriors in the tropical lowlands. These Indians were referred to as “caniba”, a Latin term, similar to the Spanish term “can,” meaning dog. This term was strategically used to make the native people be seen as cannibalistic and placed at a level no greater than that of a dog. The Europeans used this ideology to subjugate the natives without conscience. Though many people have been taught that our history contains incidents of cannibalism, new discoveries show a controversy over how to portray the cannibalistic acts amongst the natives whom were described in Christopher Columbus’ findings. Wey-Gomez (2006) reports that Columbus and his crew had stumbled across a people whose “disfigured” rictus (facial expression) allegedly betrayed their craving for human flesh, causing Columbus to believe that these people were, indeed, cannibals. According to Salisbury (2001), it was in the 16th century that Pope Innocent IV declared cannibalism was a sin deserving punishment. In turn, Queen Isabella of Spain decreed that all Spanish colonists could only enslave natives who showed signs of practicing cannibalism. These orders gave the colonists an economic interest in making such allegations. So, it was thus, that Columbus used this strategy to justify his motives for colonizing the land and subjugating the natives he and his people encountered. Salisbury (2001) reports that at the same time Europeans were condemning natives as cannibals, forms of cannibalism were being used by Europeans as medicinal purposes. In 17th century Europe, medicines were made from blood and other human body parts. Fresh blood was consumed by Europeans to cure epilepsy while other body parts were used to treat other several diseases, including arthritis, reproductive difficulties, sciatica, and warts and skin blemishes. Two primary sources that provided the materials used in the making of these medicines were the bodies of executed criminals and pieces of mummified human flesh imported from Egypt. According to Johnson (2006), in the 18th century, native Hawaiians, also called the Maori, believed Captain James Cook and other British seamen to be cannibals. It was with the arrival to the Hawaiian Islands these half-starved seamen gorging on meat and asking question regarding cannibalism that gave the Maori the impression that the seamen were cannibals. It was on other occasions that the British offered the Maori roasted human flesh to see if the natives would participate in cannibalism. The Maori, not wanting to offend the British seamen, whom they believed to be cannibals, accepted the human flesh. It was in time that the Maori people, not wanting the British on their island, used the exaggerated cannibalistic act as a way of invoking fear into the British intruders. Thus, the Maori used cannibalism as a means of survival. It is with desperation to survive that some people have and will continue to participate in the act of cannibalism. The article on cannibalism from the Website Gourt (2008) reports that the first recorded incident of cannibalism for survival in the United States took place in the colony of Jamestown in the winter of 1609-1610. In order to survive their first winter, the colonists turned to cannibalism by eating their dead. One man became so desperate that he chose to murder his wife while she slept in his arms; he proceeded to consume all but her head. According to Reap (2006), in the year of 1846, a group of pioneers, known as the Donner Party, became snowbound while trying to cross an unfamiliar route, Hastings’ Cutoff, located in the Sierra Nevada. When food rations were depleted, some members of the party resorted to consuming the flesh of those who had died of starvation. Though some resorted to cannibalism in order to survive, there were those who refrained from the act who were also able to survive. Though it seems that people will only turn to cannibalism in times for survival purposes, there are many people who take part in cannibalism as a religious act or for cultural traditions. When it comes to cannibalism as a religious act or cultural tradition, it is not the savage form of cannibalism that people have come to know. According to Dow (“Cannibalism”), endocannibalism was considered a symbol of different religious act such as, reverence for the dead, to embody the spirit of the dead into living descendants, or the intention of insuring the separation of the soul from the body. An example of this endocannibalistic act was that of a Mayoruna man who requested that after his demise, his body would was to be consumed by his children instead of being consumed by the worms in a white man’s cemetery. Dow (“Cannibalism”) reports that in recent times, several lowland groups of South America continue to practice the consumption of ground-up bones and ashes of cremated kinsmen in an act of mourning. Though the flesh is not actually eaten, this act is still classified as endocannibalism. According to Dow (“Cannibalism”) exocannibalism, considered a cultural tradition in history, was a celebration of victory over enemies. An example was the Indian village of the Tupinamba, where the warriors would go on raids against other Indian villages, and if successful, they would butcher the bodies of the enemies and feast on them before returning home. Captured male prisoners would be taken back to the Tupinamba village where they would live anywhere from a month to several years. They would then be used in the ritual “escape” where they would be recaptured, then sacrificed or roasted and eaten. The desire that the Tupinamba and other similar native warriors had for eating their enemy was an expression of fierceness that promoted the rank of the warriors and struck fear into their enemies. Though this cultural tradition of cannibalism seems gruesome and horrific, there is another form of cannibalism that is more unimaginable and unsettling; this disturbing act of cannibalism, which is still practiced today, is that of sexual gratification. The most horrific act of cannibalism, which is performed for sexual gratification, is still practiced in present day. It is for each society to decide whether this act will be accepted. Surprisingly enough, in some countries there are people willing to accept this practice in their society, the United States not being one of them. Bardsley (2008), informs us that serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer of Wisconsin, used cannibalistic acts to commit his murders in order to obtain sexual pleasure. As early as the age of fourteen, Dahmer had fantasies about killing men and having sex with their corpses. Dahmer committed his first murder just after graduating high school in June of 1978. He would not commit his next murder until after he had spent a couple of years in the army and discharged for alcoholism, arrested in 1981 for drunken and disorderly conduct, and then arrested in September of 1986 for masturbating in front of two boys. According to Bardsley (2008), it was in September of 1987, that Dahmer killed his second victim. This was the beginning of a killing spree that would last until he was discovered and charged with the murders of over twenty victims in 1991. Dahmer used the same technique repetitively for luring, murdering, and disposing of his victims. Dahmer would invite men into his apartment to watch videos or to pose for photos. He would use personally prescribed sedatives to drug his victims, then strangle them with his bare hands or a leather strap. Once his victims were dead, he would have sex with the dead corpses. Dahmer continued with the ritual by taking Polaroid pictures of him dissecting the bodies. He would keep these pictures for future viewing pleasure. Dahmer would then use chemicals and acids to reduce the flesh and bones into a sludge which he would then pour down a drain or toilet to dispose of the body. Dahmer would save some parts of the body to later consume. Dahmer claimed that he ate the human flesh of his victims because he believed their spirits would come alive within in him, giving him a sexual arousal. Jeffrey Dahmer lived in a society where this cannibalistic behavior was unacceptable. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to life in prison where he soon met his own demise at the hands of a fellow prisoner. Although his act was deemed unacceptable in American society, there was a more recent act that was considered acceptable in 2001. According to the BBC News Website (2003), in Germany, a man named Armin Meiwes was arrested and charged with murder. Meiwes was a homosexual who, since the age of eight, had fantasies that consisted of eating another human being. The information provided in the BBC News Website (2003) reports that in 2001, Meiwes had posted an advertisement on the internet requesting a man to willingly sacrifice himself to be eaten. Meiwes fantasy was answered when a man named Bernd-Jurgen Brandes answered the ad. Meiwes acted quickly by inviting Brandes over to his dwelling. He and Brandes struck out an agreement that Brandes would consume alcohol and over-the-counter drugs until he was incapacitated. Meiwes then proceeded to severe Brandes’ penis and try to eat it with Brandes’ participation. Brandes soon became weak from loss of blood, causing Meiwes to transfer him to the bathtub where he read Brandes a book for the next three hours. Meiwes then became inpatient when Brandes did not die, so Meiwes proceeded to stab Brandes in the neck, instantly killing him. Meiwes then videotaped himself while he hung Brandes’ body from a meat hook, and then drained and gutted the corpse. He continued videotaping while he carved out large chunks of flesh which he would store in his freezer and consume over the next ten months. According to the BBC News Website (2003), Meiwes was only discovered when he had posted up another request on the internet. At the time of his first internet posting, Germany had no laws against cannibalism. This fact and the fact that Brandes was a willing participant in this act made it difficult for the prosecution to indict Meiwes with charges of murder. Meiwes only received eight and a half years in prison for manslaughter. Astonishingly, German society felt that this punishment was quite harsh because Meiwes had not killed an unwilling participant. A year later, when Meiwes appealed his case, prosecutors were able to charge him with murder on the fact that Brandes had been incoherent and unstable at the time of the cannibalistic act, rendering him incapable of making a sound decision. Meiwes was then sentenced to life in prison. In 2003, a law was passed in Germany prohibiting acts of cannibalism. As of today, cannibalism is still considered an unspeakable taboo in several societies, though it is an act that has existed throughout all history. It is somewhat controversial as to what the exact extent of the practice was here in the New World, but there is evidence that shows it existed in the life of the indigenous people of South America. In the 16th century, cannibalism was conveniently used as a demeaning label to subjugate the natives in South America by the Europeans. Cannibalism has been practiced in 17th century Europe for medicinal purposes; it was used in several cultures for religious purposes and for show of power over one’s enemy. There were times of starvation when people needed to survive and had turned to cannibalism. Cannibalism even took place for the most unthinkable reason, murder and consumption for sexual gratification. Surprisingly enough, cannibalism has mostly been used in past times, and most likely in unforeseen events to come, as means for survival. It can be said that cannibalism is an act of wrong-doing, but if and when certain factors play into a situation where cannibalism becomes a thought of reasoning to rectify the situation, who can say which people will succumb to this taboo in most societies? Below is a timeline chart that shows how several incidents of cannibalism that occurred in history. Information provided by Gourt Website (2008). WHEN WHERE WHY 70AD ROME During the siege which destroyed Jerusalem, two women made a pact to eat each others children. 1064-1072AD EGYPT People turned to cannibalism in order to survive the famine, which was caused by the Nile River not flooding for eight years. 1095 JERUSALEM Crusaders of the First Crusade fed on the bodies of their enemies to avoid starvation. 1315-1317 EUROPE People turned to cannibalism during the Great Famine. 1490s-1600s THE NEW WORLD Several accusations of cannibalism were made against the natives of the New World though there are controversies as to whether cannibalism actually took place or if the colonists used it as an excuse for colonizing the land and subjugating the natives. 1600’s EUROPE Consumption of mummified bodies and other forms of cannibalism were used for medicinal purposes. 1609-1610 JAMESTOWN, VA. In order to survive the first winter, a man killed his wife and ate her body, save her head. (Winter) 1672 HOLLAND During the Franco-Dutch War, a significant Dutch political figure and his brother were shot, mutilated, and partly eaten. 1816 FRANCE After the French ship Medusa sank, the survivors resorted to cannibalism after four days of drifting on a raft. 1820 NANTUCKET After the ship Whale Essex sank, survivors in the three small rafts resorted, by common consent, to cannibalism in order to survive. 1845 CANADIAN ARCTIC Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition became lost and the men resorted to cannibalism and occasional hunting in order to survive. 1846-1847 SIERRA NEVADA The Donner Party, a group of settlers on a wagon train, became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada and resorted to cannibalism to (Winter) keep from starving to death. 1870 COLORADO A man killed and ate his traveling companions after becoming snowbound in the Rocky Mountains. 1884 ENGLAND Four crewmembers of an English yacht became lost in a storm. One man fell unconscious from hunger and drinking salt water and two others (one objected) killed and then consumed his body. 1919-1924 GERMANY Serial killer and cannibal Fritz Haarmann, killed and consumed over twenty-four young men for means of sexual gratification. 1905-1928 UNITED STATES Albert Fish, a sadomasochist, killed and ate the bodies of children and some adults throughout twenty-three of the United States as a means for sexual gratification. 1932-1933 UKRAINE During Holodomor (a famine), many Ukrainians resorted to cannibalism for survival. 1945 CHICHI JIMA World War II Japanese soldiers killed, rationed and ate eight downed American pilots in order to avoid starving to death. 1950’s WISCONSIN Serial killer Ed Gein murdered and consumed women body parts in order to sexually gratify himself. 1972 ANDES A Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed in the Andes and the survivors consumed the bodies of the dead in order to survive. 1981 PARIS For sexual purposes, Issei Sagawa, a Japanese student of English literature became attached to a fellow student, killed her, had sex with her corpse, and then consumed her body. 1978-1991 WISCONSIN Serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree. 1990’s NORTH KOREA During a famine, the people resorted to cannibalism for survival purposes. 1990’s RUSSIA Serial killer, rapist, and cannibal, Alexander Spesivtsev, with the help of his mother, killed nineteen girls and consumed their bodies. He was suspected of having been involved in a dozen other murders as well. 2001 GERMANY German cannibal Armin Meiwes eats his voluntary victim for sexual gratification. Annotated Bibliography Bardsley, Marilyn (2008). Jeffrey Dahmer. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http://www. A written documentary giving details of police’s first encounter with serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, to analysis of Dahmer’s mental status. Written details of what evidence was found in Dahmer’s apartment. Written documentation includes description of Dahmer’s childhood, arrest, defense used in court, and reasoning for committing the murders. Dow, James W. Cannibalism in the new world. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http:// An overview taken from an Encyclopedia which contains information on the early Indian tribes of Latin America that practiced cannibalism. This piece goes on to define cannibalism, explain the two types of cannibalism, and also the origin of the word cannibal. Johnson, Daniel Morley (2006). Cannibal talk: the man-eating myth and human sacrifice in the south seas. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=22758106&site=ehost-live An abstract of an article review on the misunderstanding of how Europeans came to the conclusion that the Maori people (Hawaiian) were cannibals. Cannibalism was used by the Europeans to justify colonization, extermination, missionization, and Indian-hating. Reap, Melanie A. (2006). Examining the westward movement through a new lens: the donner party. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=241175625&site=ehost-live Article used by teachers to teach students the background of the Donner Party. This piece explains why the Donner Party took the never before used route which them to be stranded in the pass. Provides statistics of the members of the party, those who survived, and died. Salisbury, David F. (2008). Brief history of cannibal controversies. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from An article containing controversial information on cannibalism where the early Europeans and American Indian tribes are concerned. Provides information that the Europeans of the 15th, 16th, and the 17th centuries resorted to cannibalism for medicinal purposes. Also explains how cannibalism was used to justify colonization and to employ violent means to subjugate the native people. Wey-Gomez, Nicolas (2007). A Poetics of Dismemberment: The book of job and the cannibals of Cariay in columbus's account of the fourth voyage. Retrieved June 13, 2008, from 25350083&site=ehost-live A Colonial Latin American review which provides information on Christopher Columbus’ encounters with the natives of the land. Includes information which supports Columbus’ reasoning for believing the natives were cannibals. Also talks about his many failures and has several of his journal entries. BBC News (2003). German cannibal tells of fantasy . Retrieved June 11, 2008, from This news article relays information about a German homosexual man who advertised for, killed and consumed a willing participant. It further provides information on this murderer’s childhood fantasies of cannibalism, details of his killing, trial and sentence. Cannibalism (2008). Retrieved June 11, 2008, from cannibalistic This website defines definition and provides the origin of the word cannibal. This site provides information on both non-human and human cannibalism. It also covers incidents related to modern and historical cannibalism. The information also covers the many different reasons for practicing or taking part in cannibalism which include cannibalism in war, as a cultural libel, as a funeral rite, and even as sexualized gratification.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Ban in the Tuscon Unified School District

The Tuscon Unified School District currently has a book "Censorship" taking place due to the determination of Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Hupenthal. His claim is that these chosen books "contain content promoting resentment toward a race or a class of people" and that "materials repeatedly reference white people as being 'oppressors...' in violation of state law." These books, which so many of us have read throughout high school and college have been boxed up and put in storage. Some of these books include the following, House on Mango Street by S. Cisneros, Zorro by I. Allende, The Tempest by W. Shakespeare, Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya and over a hundred other books.

Does it happen to be a coincidence that the majority of the books happen to be stories or facts on Hispanic and Native American Historical events or people who are also considered the "social" minority in Arizona? Who are these people who get to say that these books should be banned? They are claiming it to be a "censorship" but in the long run it is a BAN. It is definitely now considered AGAINST THE LAW to pick up one of these books and read it! What happened to our First Amendment which gives us the right to read, speak and think freely applies to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or national origin?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Impact of Case Law

There have been many case decisions throughout police history that have impacted police procedures. Three such cases that effect policing today are the Terry versus Ohio case, the Miranda versus Arizona case, and the Mapp versus Ohio case.

The case that allowed for the police to perform a stop and frisk was that which involved a Terry and Richard Chilton. It was Detective Martin McFadden who observed the suspicious activity of these three men and decided to approach them. McFadden decided to stop and frisk each man. During the search, guns were found in the possession of Terry and Chilton. Both were arrested and convicted (Dempsey, 2005). Upon appeal, the Supreme Court held, 8-1, that a person may be detained without probable cause to make an arrest if there is reasonable suspicion to make an arrest. A frisk may be justified when its purpose is to discover guns, knives, clubs, or other hidden instruments for assault on an officer (Rush, 2003).

The case Miranda versus Arizona has made an impact on how suspected individuals are interrogated. The case involved an 18-year-old female victim who was raped and released by a 23-years-old male named Ernesto Miranda. Miranda was arrested in connection with the rape. Miranda was known to have a police record dating back to when he was 14 years old. After being arrested, Miranda was identified by the victim in a line up. He was then taken to the interrogation room where he eventually confessed to the crime with no attorney present. Miranda was found guilty and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. It was upon an appeal that the Supreme Court ruled that Miranda’s confession was inadmissible. The Supreme Court ruled that confessions are by nature inherently coercive and so custodial interrogation makes defendants’ confessions compelled, not voluntarily. The courts felt that the interrogations violated individual’s Fifth Amendment rights (Dempsey, 2005).

It is with this case in mind that the police recite a person’s Miranda rights. Before interrogation, a person is advised that he or she have the right to remain silent, anything he or she says can be used against him or her, he or she has the right to consult a lawyer and have that lawyer and have the lawyer present, and if he or she can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided (Dempsey, 2005).

Another case important to police was Mapp versus Ohio. The case involved woman, Dollree Mapp, whose home was suspected as the place where police thought they might find Virgil Ogletree, wanted in connection with a bombing at the home of boxing promoter, Donald King. At the first attempt to search, police were denied entry on the advice of Mapp’s lawyer. Within three hours, the police returned with additional officers. Police forced entry, denying Mapp’s lawyer entry. A paper purported to be a warrant was presented to Mapp on demand. Mapp was handcuffed when she became “belligerent” and the entire house was searched. Pornographer literature was found and Mapp was arrested for possessing obscene materials. The warrant was never produced in court and the Supreme Court reversed Mapp’s conviction based on the police violating her Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court then extended the exclusionary rule to all state courts and law enforcement personnel. The Supreme Court felt that the exclusionary rule extended prevented individuals from rude invasions of privacy by state officers. The individuals get no more than what the Constitution guarantees and the police officer no less than which is honest law enforcement that is entitled (Dempsey, 2005).


Dempsey, J.S. & Forst, L.S. (2005). Introduction to policing (3rd ed.).

Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth. ISBN: 0-534-64290-X

Rush, George E. (2003). The Dictionary of Criminal Justice (6th ed.).

McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Different Types of Stress Experienced by Police Officers

Police work and its environment produce stress that plays physically or mentally on the individual. Four categories of stress confront officers’ external stress, organizational stress, personal stress, and operational stress.

External stress is produced by the dangers and threats that officers face in the line of duty (Dempsey, 2005). Examples of external stress would be high-speed chases or a “gun run” where a person is in possession of a gun. This kind of stress would produce a high strung attitude which could make the officer more apt to respond in a suspicious manner. Socially, the officer is more suspicious of erratic behavior. With all this “on the edge” feelings, an officer would start having high blood pressure and heart problems leading to overall health problems.

Organizational stress is produced by elements inherent with the military character of the police service (Dempsey, 2005). Examples would be the odd working hours, working holidays, and the impact strict discipline. This type of stress affects how the police would work through their day. They could have an attitude of not wanting to be there because they are away from their families. Officers would have more of a tendency to call off. Socially, they would be depressed and not wanting to spend time with others from those they see at work. Personally, this stress would interfere with their family life and put stress on their marriages and any other relationships.

Personal stress is produced by the interpersonal characteristics involved in police organization (Constant, 2005). Examples would include poor training, fear of job competence, lack of job satisfaction, and getting along with other officers. On the job, this can cause critical response on the job, become the stressor for other officers, and reduce their efficiency as an officer. Socially, they become isolated and distant. Personally, they become ill or suicidal. Police have one of the highest suicide rates in the U.S. (Constant, 2005).

Operational stress is produced by the need to confront the tragedies of urban life. Examples are the dealings with criminals, mentally disturbed drug addicts, and expectations of the community (Dempsey, 2005). This kind of stress would effect the officer in that lack of interest in performing 100 percent for those who are unappreciated. Socially, they become more distant and care less for other’s welfare. Personally, the officer becomes more aggressive and moody towards others (Constant, 2005).

Police work is a very high-stress occupation. Police departments should institute stress management programs that identify the type of stress and proper counseling offered to the officers. Examples of proper counseling would be peer counselor training to deal with suicidal feelings, psychological services, physical fitness training, and mental health counseling (Dempsey, 2005).


Constant, Terry (2005). Not so obvious police stress. Retrieved on March 9, 2009, from
Dempsey, J.S. & Forst, L.S. (2005). Introduction to policing (3rd ed.).
Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth. ISBN: 0-534-64290-X

Evaluation and Judgement

There are a few different ways that people evaluate others. We as people rely on sets of expectations and beliefs about different categories of other people to form impressions of them. First impressions are the strongest and seem to set that certain expectation of that person in future meetings.

Attribution is another tool used for evaluating other people. To understand another person’s behavior, we make judgments, either internal or external. An external behavior is attributed a personal factor. In determining whether the behavior is internal or external, one relies on three kinds of information about the behavior. How distinctive is the behavior? How consistent is the behavior? What is the consensus of the other’s similar behavior?

One more tool used for evaluating is that of interpersonal attraction is the strongest when proximity brings people into frequent contact. Other reasons of attractiveness can be physical, similarity of attitudes, interests, and values.

How we evaluate people can play a role in our expectation of them. As with first impressions, we set up an idea of how that person will be when we next meet them. There is a visual set of how that person will be. This impression rules how we will behave towards that individual, whether positive or negative. As with attributing reasons of behavior, we use this as a way to evaluate why another’s behavior is acceptable or not, which, in turn, influences our attitude towards another person. Attributing a person’s behavior can leave us with positive or negative mind or reaction.

Just as impressions and attributions leave us with negative or positive reactions in body and mind, so does interpersonal attraction to another. Attractiveness in its many forms gives us the reason to be more frequent in our contact with others or our distance with others.
Evaluating people plays a role in out expectations of others in a way that can be a disadvantage. First impressions can create a biased treatment of others that can cause harm to other’s psychological stability. A stereotype can be born from impressions and become a social cancer that can become the ruination of a people (i.e. extermination of the Jewish people during World War II.)

When making an attribution one is guessing about the true causes of a particular action. There are so many guesses that are vulnerable to a number of prejudices that a true attribution can cause harm. As with making an attribution about another’s behavior that is related to one’s culture. One wrong guess can affect other’s attitude towards a culture in a negative influence. There are disadvantages of physical attraction in that one can become obsessed with making themselves to fit what society labels as physically attractive. People obsessed with filling the mold can become financially and psychologically lost trying to please the very essence of attractiveness.

A person can lose all self-value looking for that one person they are “supposed to be attracted to” but never allowing themselves to be open to those who may be different and offer a different look on life.

Corrections and Treatment

The purpose of probation is to ensure that orders and conditions imposed by the courts are met by the juvenile offender. Also, probation provides rehabilitation for the offender. According to Siegel (2005), in an effort to make probation work, the state administers organize their services through local courts. Where as, in some states some probation services are split, allowing for a more successful turn out. An estimated eighteen thousand probation officers are employed throughout the United Sates. The importance of probation is that it allows juvenile offenders, who are not considered a danger to society, the opportunity to receive a non-punitive treatment, which allows them to be placed back in to society with knowledge of acceptable behavior.

The purposes of intensive supervision are to decarcenarate or keep out of prison those juveniles who would otherwise be put in secure institutions. Also, there is the purpose to have a closer intense security than that of traditional probation. This kind of supervision gives the community a more secure feeling, allowing the integration of the juvenile to transfer safely. According to Siegel (2005), some efforts of intensive supervision are to make sure that the program is worth the money put into it. One state, Mississippi, had three of its counties use innovative experiments to find that this treatment program does indeed cost less than that of regular probation and cognitive behavioral treatment. The importance of having intensive supervision allows a juvenile the chance to avoid incarceration. It also gives the community the peace of mind in knowing that these juveniles are being monitored carefully.

The purpose of restitution is to allow the juvenile offender to repay for damages or injuries caused by the crime they committed. According to Siegel (2005), efforts in understanding if restitution really works as a treatment are found in analyses that are conducted in some states. Percentages show that restitutions are successfully completed, but that repeated offenses, committed by these juveniles do not disappear. The importance of restitution is that it provides alternative sentencing options, it offers compensation to the victim, and it helps the offender to become a productive member to society.

If a juvenile does not qualify for a community-based treatment program, they must go into a secure institution. One issue that institutions face is the physical conditions of some of the older establishments. Many of the older buildings place all offenders into one single place regardless of the serious their crime. This can create violent differences or injury and threat to those with lesser charges. According to Siegel (2005), the Juvenile Residential Facility Census, shows that thirty-nine percent of the 2,875 facilities are overcrowded, leading to violent escalades. The older buildings present heath issues due to asbestos and vermin that plague the buildings. Many of these buildings are not up to modern codes. Another issue concern is the treatment programs that are offered. The larger the institution, the more programs offered. Despite the good intentions of the program most are not put into maximum effect. According to Siegel (2005), most experts’ feel that correctional treatment has little effect on keeping a juvenile from repeating offenses.

When a juvenile is released from an institution there is a transitional period back into society that can be very difficult for the juvenile. According to Siegel (2005), there are aftercare programs that can make the transition a success. One such program is used by the state of Colorado. Sixty days prior to their release, the youths began a series of step-down measures. Once released, they continue with several months of day treatments that are monitored. Another program used by the state of Virginia, is that upon release the juvenile is put in a group home for thirty to sixty days. During this time supervision is gradually lessened. Contact with staff is also lessened during this time.


Siegel, L. J. and Welsh, B. C. (2005). Juvenile delinquency: The core. (2nd ed.). Belmont CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Prisoner Rights

Although, at a time, prisoners were considered property of prison institutions, times have changed, allowing prisoners to have some rights to avoid abuse by correctional officers and false imprisonment. When an individual is found guilty of a conviction, they give up many rights. So, the few rights they are allowed as prisoners are very precious. These rights not only apply to those incarcerated, but apply to any individual convicted of a felony.

Rights for prisoners give them control of not being abused by the institution and forgotten by society. These rights allow prisoners to appeal their case, sue for damages that may occur while they are in confinement, press criminal charges against attacks from other inmates, and other civil and administrative actions that include divorce, child custody, and financial matters.

There can be positive and negative impacts of prisoner rights. The positive impact off the rights include drawing attention toward the physical and psychological abuse put on prisoners, environmental conditions, false imprisonment, and medical needs. Attention was brought to the public that inmates were being neglected when it came to HIV/AIDS in prisons. Having rights, prisoners were allowed HIV education, prevention, cure, treatment, and support (Betteridge, 2004).

Negative impacts of prisoner rights can be giving prisoners the wrong freedoms and then affect the security of prisons or those that work there. An example would be the censoring of prison mail, both incoming and outgoing. Today, prison mail can be read but not censored. This can be such a negative impact especially when the mail can be used to plan escapes, arrange violent acts, or expand gang activity. It was the case of Thornburgh v. Abbott that a regulation had to be put on periodicals or books threatened the security, good order, or discipline of the constitution (Foster, 2006).

The purpose of the Eighth Amendment is to prohibit the government from “Excessive bail that shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments imposed” (Foster, 2006). “The U.S. Supreme Court rules that criminal sentences that are inhuman, outrageous, or shocking to social conscience are considered cruel and unusual” (Farflex Dictionary Website, 2009).

The function of this amendment stands to assure that this power of the government be exercised within the limits of civilized standards (Duhaime, 2008). At one time, the prisoners were property of the government and many prisoners were beaten and abused. Many societies wanted to forget about those who were labeled outcasts and were frowned upon. Prisons, at one time, would be the answer to all criminal acts, even misdemeanors. In that type of system, abuse is inevitable. The Eighth Amendment prevents neglect of prisoners. It is easy to treat others inhumanly when they are seen as not fit for society. The Eighth Amendment prevents prisoners from being treated in and inhuman way (Duhaime, 2008).

Many states feel that the electric chair is considered cruel but it is argued that the electric chair does not torture or leave an inmate in lingering death, but extinguishes life in an instantaneous moment (Foster, 2006). It is thus stated in the Eighth Amendment that all punishments imposed by the government correspond with the offense committed by the defendant (Duhaime, 2008).

The purpose of Section 1983 of Civil Rights Litigation is to allow prisoners their civil rights by giving them some control over their rights as not to be abused. This section allows the prisoner to sue when certain prisoner rights are violated. Section 1983 of Title 42 of the U. S. Code provides “every person of any State or Territory…any citizen of the United States…shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit or equity, or other proper proceeding for redress” (Foster, 2006). This section applies to the welfare of each prisoner. When prisoners are imprisoned, they become outcasts of society and are not seen as that of the human population. However, it is because of this attitude that prisoners are allowed their civil rights.

Certain actions require prisoners to have the support they need that prevents physical attacks by correction officers, correct medical treatment, due process, access to courts, attorneys, good living conditions, religious expression, and others (Foster, 2006). One such case, Powell v. Barrett was the decision of whether jail strip searches violated the Fourth Amendment. Five Plaintiffs were strip searched while being booked into the Fullerton County Jail and felt it was against their rights. This case reached the court of appeals. The 11th Circuit stated the factual premise of this argument was unsupported. This case showed that prisoners are given the ability to process to protect their rights (Newdorf, 2008).

I have to admit that I felt that prisoners gave up their rights when they chose to break the law. I realize that breaking the law does have some grey areas that, at times, can be out of a person’s control. I, like many others, believed prisoners should have no rights but, again, this lifestyle is not so easily put in black and white. Some crimes are worse than others. Not all crimes deserve the same kind of punishment and this is where a prisoner’s civil rights protect them. Prisoners are humans and should be treated as such. They should not be neglected or abused; however, I do believe there are some rights that do not benefit the workers, society, or other prisoners. The one example of prisoner mail shows how certain rights need regulation and protect many. Prisoners need their civil rights but because of the specialization of the environment, their rights still need to be regulated.

Betteridge, Glenn (2004). Prisoners’ health & human rights in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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