Free «Convicted Felons» Essay
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A convict refers to an individual who locked up after pleading guilty to a given offense. Convicted felons in many parts of the world face various forms of restrictions with the respect to the existing laws of the land. A convict does not enjoy certain rights that the constitution stipulates. For instance, convicted felons do not take part in voting whether they live in prison or outside prison. The right to vote is a constitutional requirement of all citizens, but this right can be withdrawn upon conviction of an individual. Convicted felons also have no right to sit in the jury. It applies to individuals who have even served their terms in jail. A convicted felon remains unfit to hold any public office due to integrity issues that result from a conviction. Matters of conduct of a public officer come to the force and restrict the individuals on integrity grounds. The other major right withdrawn from convicted felons is that of freedom. Once convicted the individual is restricted to a given jail or his home, commonly referred to as house arrest.
Effects of Withdrawing Constitutional Rights
These are such restrictions and withdrawal of rights that affect convicted felons. To begin with, the isolation from the society by way of living in jail causes serious psychological problems to the convicts. Human beings are naturally social creatures. People live in a society full of people, and they socialize throughout. The sudden change of the social environment to that of loneliness in a jail comes along with serious psychological problems. Convicted felons lack the social support provided by friends and family members. Prolonged periods of isolation result in the buildup of mental pressure that often leaves the convicts depressed. Prolonged depression may trigger suicidal thoughts as the individuals try to find the easiest way out of their misery.
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The deprivation of rights further portrays convicted felons as lesser beings. They view themselves as lesser beings especially if they compare themselves to other citizens who enjoy full rights as provided by the constitution. The feeling of inadequacy when extended over a long period develops into esteem issues. The convicts eventually suffer from low self-esteem that exhibits the same symptoms as those of depression. Low self-esteem manifests in various ways, for example individuals may become violent and very reactive upon the slightest provocation. Such reactive behavior becomes an adaptive technique designed to fill the void of inadequacy in them.
Convicted felons also become isolated from the larger society, since they do not participate in many things that define an individual. They have no decisions in crucial aspects of life that determines the destiny of the entire nation. Since they do not participate in voting, it means they have no say over who is to represent him/her on matters of governance. They have to put up with the leaders that other free citizens would have elected, whether they like them or not. In other words, they face some form of environmental dictatorship, which is indicated as a state when the felons have no control over matters around them.
All these deprivations of basic rights burden the convicts who in turn develop a negative attitude towards life. Such kind of negativity impacts negatively the social bonds between the convicted felons and other members of the society. Some of the convicted felons are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters or even uncles to kids out there. If say, a father was the role model to his son before imprisonment, he would no longer remain one after the conviction, since his son’s perception towards him would change completely.
In some cases kids disregard looking at their convicted parents as ideal role models for fear of taking after them. The reason behind this is that the wider society fears that the child might take after the bad character of the convicted role model. It greatly affects the social bonds of the family and the society. Some individuals, such as priests, bishops or even pastors play spiritual roles in the society. Such positions in the society require that the individuals uphold high moral integrity. A convicted felon faces automatic disqualification from such roles, no matter how much a person may have reformed. The major problem associated with a conviction is that the society never views correctional facilities in a positive light. Instead of accepting back individuals, who have successfully served their terms, as reformed individuals, they still view them as criminals. This kind of perception lives with convicted felons for the rest of their lives. It becomes an acquired identity that they cannot shade easily, no matter how hard they try.
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There is a need for the society to receive proper education on correctional facilities and convicted felons. Individuals ought to realize that these convicts have done nothing wrong only that they broke the law at some point and needed a strong proof not to repeat the crime. Accepting back reformed convicts in the society will mark a great step towards solving the problems of these individuals. Those serving jail terms also require all the necessary social support from the larger society to enable them accept their position as convicts and learn from their mistake and punishment, which is the essence of jails. The need for trained counselors remains crucial in solving matters of depression and low self-esteem. Convicted felons require counseling services more than any other person does. It will reduce their mental torture and enable them to live normal healthy lives even as they serve their sentences.