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Penal Voluntary Services (PVS) Organizations and the Criminal Justice Domain, Article Critique Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1286

Article Critique

PVS organizations play a vital role in the criminal justice domain. They help provide education, training, spiritual, rehabilitation services, and other crucial services in the prison facilities (Abrams et al. 2016). More so, the organizations provide programs to help incarcerated individuals and participate in shaping their culture. Further, the PVS organizations are related to the criminal justice institutions in different ways, such as providing grants by the criminal justice domain to support correctional facilities. Therefore, this case will broadly discuss the roles of the PVS organizations and their relationship with the criminal justice institutions.

There are several roles of the PVS organizations in the criminal justice domain. They provide rehabilitation services to the offenders (Hucklesby and Corcoran 2016). This involves drug treatment for those addicted to alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and other different drugs to help them heal from the addiction. Further, they help reduce recidivism by improving the offender’s behavior, skills, and mental health. Furthermore, the rehabilitation programs prepare the offenders to become productive members of society by providing them with workforce development, employment placement, and other supportive services. Additionally, they promote the well-being of the prisoners because they are not concerned with making profits since they are community-based (Armstrong 2002). Thus, the rehabilitation services shape the behavior of the prisoners.

The programs highly encourage the prisoners. This is through engaging them in positive activities that help offset the harmful effects of incarceration. As a result, they can increase their self-confidence. Additionally, the PVS organizations help the prisoners to stay connected to the outside world. This is because of the continuous interaction with the community and family members to discuss the actual impact of crimes, prisons, and the criminal justice system at large (Abrams et al. 2016). More so, the offenders will feel less lonely and isolated, especially for those who do not have contact with their family members. Hence, the prisoners will feel encouraged and loved.

The criminal justice institutions are relieved of various duties. Some of the responsibilities include the provision of self-help that helps the prisoners deal with long sentences (Mussell et al. 2021). Moreover, self-help services can help them deal with addiction and mental health problems. This duty is made possible through the privatization of the PVS. As a result, they are mandated to provide efficient services because they depend on the government for financial aid (Tomczak 2013). Some PVS, such as Fine Cell Work, offer training to impart the prisoners with needlework skills that are paid. However, the services provided by these organizations extend beyond service delivery. Therefore, the PVS organizations play a role that the criminal justice institutions would have played.

Further, they foster spiritual growth. The PVS organizations are sometimes involved in spreading the gospel of forgiveness, love, and compassion through the teachings of the word of God and the Bible. Such programs help the prisoners show tremendous positive change, albeit in prison (Abrams et al. 2016). Therefore, the spiritual volunteer services benefit the prisoners greatly. Additionally, the volunteer organizations offer certificates to the prisoners, which are helpful when seeking employment. This is because they could show them to prospective employers to help secure a job. Moreover, the recognition certificates help the prisoners to boost their sense of self and show family members that time behind bars was put into good. Therefore, the prisoners can grow when provided with these services.

The PVS organizations play a scrutiny and campaign role. This is through the collection of information on various interests (Hucklesby and Corcoran 2016). Such information can be used to put pressure on decision-makers through advocating for a change of policies (Tomczak 2013). For instance, there is introducing an approach that fights for the women and girls at risk. Thus, they advocate for gender-specific understanding by ensuring equal treatment. They also point out the harm and danger women face after entering criminal justice, such as rape. Therefore, these organizations have helped push the criminal justice system to enact policies that protect women. Additionally, they have created an online gender-specific mentoring toolkit, which provides complete guidance and promotes a user-led approach. Therefore, through scrutiny, better policies are introduced.

The PVS organizations are related to criminal justice institutions through the provision of grants to support these organizations. For instance, California offered grants to a few selected nonprofit organizations to promote the expansion of the voluntary sector throughout its prison systems (Abrams et al. 2016). Additionally, the criminal justice system creates opportunities for nonprofit organizations to help increase their involvement in providing services that were previously reserved for the public sector (Hucklesby and Corcoran 2016). Moreover, the PVS organizations are subcontracted by large consortiums to offer rehabilitative services in prisons in the Transforming Rehabilitation Initiative (Maguire et al. 2019). Thus, the criminal justice system has overly supported the PVS organizations.

However, the dependence of the PVS organizations on the criminal justice system highly restricts the former. For instance, contracts to fund organizations inhibit them from voicing their opinions on policies and projects independently. For example, small local organizations are not given a chance whenever new opportunities arise. More so, they are offered strict success criteria, thus inhibiting them from providing services. Additionally, they have to meet targets set by the government based on the contracts (Maguire et al. 2019). As a result, they experience too much pressure to meet the targets, which, in turn, affects their relationships with the clients. Hence, the PVS organizations should be independent.

The relationship is sometimes strained because the PVS staffs experience a considerable challenge when dealing with the various prison staff personalities. For instance, James explains that he felt like giving up on the volunteer services because of the attitude and mood of the staff, which changed minute by minute (Abrams et al. 2016). Further, it is challenging to help the PVS organizations understand the prison protocols, which should be observed at all times. More so, the protocols and policies change day by day; thus, making it difficult for the PVS staff to master. Therefore, the relationship between PVS organizations and clients is sometimes negative.

Additionally, the prison staff often complains of inappropriate communication. This inclination strains the staff’s relationship because a lack of appropriate communication leads to problems (Mills et al. 2012). Therefore, the prison staff complains of little information sharing from the PVS organizations, which, in turn, leaves them uncertain whether the risk is appropriately managed. Further, the inability of the PVS organizations to acknowledge the need for support and guidance to help them understand the impact of working in a prison setting often ruins the relationship between the prison staff and the PVS organizations (Mills et al. 2012). Therefore, the PVS needs to accept guidance to facilitate better delivery of services to the prisoners. As for the prison staff, they should ensure faster security clearance for the PVS staff to ensure they do not waste a lot of time waiting to access the facility. Hence, both parties need to understand their roles.

References

Abrams, Laura S., Hughes Emma, Inderbitzin Michelle, and Meek Rosie (Eds.). 2016. The voluntary sector in prisons: Encouraging personal and institutional change. Springer.

Armstrong, Sarah. 2002. “Punishing Not-for-Profit: Implications of Nonprofit Privatization in Juvenile Punishment.” Punishment & Society4(3): 345-368. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F146247402400426789

Hucklesby, Anthea and Corcoran Mary (Eds.). 2016. The voluntary sector and criminal justice. Springer.

Maguire, Mike, Williams Kate, and Corcoran Mary. 2019. “‘Penal Drift’ and the Voluntary Sector.” The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice58(3): 430-449. https://doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12307

Mills, Alice, Meek Rosie, and Gojkovic Dina. 2012. “Partners, Guests or Competitors: Relationships between Criminal Justice and Third Sector Staff in Prisons.” Probation Journal59(4): 391-405. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0264550512458475

Mussell, Linda, Walby Kevin, and Piché Justin. 2021. “Carceral-Capital-Charitable Politics in Kingston, Ontario: Analyzing Relationships of Embeddedness and Indebtedness.” Crime, Law and Social Change, 77: 47-68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-021-09982-x

Tomczak, Philippa J. 2013. “The penal voluntary sector in England and Wales: Beyond Neoliberalism?” Criminology & Criminal Justice14(4): 470-486. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1748895813505235

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