SOC 378 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Punishment and Corrections Discussion




This week’s topic focuses on the design of prisons and jails. There’s alot here, right? One of the more important topics in this chapter is the emphasis on sight lines. The US has changed prison designs over the years with the goal of improving the sight lines for corrections officers. Remember that prisoners are wards of the state. We are responsible for their safety. The State is also responsible to keep its employees safe as well, not to mention keeping prisoners from escaping. The oldest prisons (think Alcatraz) were linear intermittent that produced indirect supervision (p. 184) and result in less than adequate sight lines, which tend to be more reactive to crime/problems. Direct supervision allow for constant supervision and tend to be more proactive toward crime/problems.

Another important consideration regarding prisons is their location. Some have been built in neighborhoods (click HERE (Links to an external site.) to view the Waupun on Google Maps. Notice that it’s in the middle of a neighborhood), whereas others (Jackson Correctional Institute) are basically in the middle of the country (click HERE (Links to an external site.) to view JCI in Google Maps). Which is best? Well, that’s a bit of a complex questions, right? What are the important points to consider What are the pros/cons of having a prison close to you? Here’s your assignment:


You are the public relations officer for the State Department of Corrections. Recently the state system has identified an area for a new prison site, but, once word of this decision was presented to the local community, a number of letters were sent to the governor’s office expressing concern and resistance to this idea. You have been assigned the task of addressing these concerns and have been asked to lighten public reactions to the idea of building a prison in the area. It is very clear that the state intends to build the facility, but, at the same time, would like to resolve the public relations issue that has recently emerged.

The community is midsize, having a population of approximately 75,000 with some outlying towns also existing in the area. The nearest major metropolitan area is well over three hours’ driving distance away. The community’s economy is somewhat stable but lacks significant industrial development, being mostly agricultural in nature.

The prison is slated to be a minimum – medium security facility (it will have towers and razor wire) that will house 1800 inmates. Many of the inmates will likely also be in various industrial and educational programs. There will be a need for security officers, educational specialists, and other employees within the prison. Further, this additional employment will draw persons from out of the area in some cases, which will increase the need for various goods and services (e.g., dry cleaning, groceries, restaurant services, home purchases) from business owners in the local area.

Your job is to showcase the positive impact that this facility can have on the community while also alleviating concerns about the potential pitfalls to having such a facility in the area. The governor’s office has tasked you with this assignment. Besides speaking at a public forum next week, the Governor’s office has asked you to write a 350-word essay stipulating the 3 main strengths of having the prison built. The essay MUST also address 3 of the main concerns (you will come up with these).

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