Human Capital and the Social Consciousness of the Criminal Justice Organizational Structure
The social consciousness of the criminal justice system challenges the sanctioned killing of a human being. Indeed, many issues are surrounding the use of capital punishment, mostly the social power society exercises regarding human life (Foucault, 1977). The focus of the criminal justice system is retribution. When an individual is executed or sentenced to prison, the state is saying this individual no longer has human capital. This short paper attempts to analyze three aspects, 1) the components of organizational structure, 2) the notion of human capital, and 3) how the criminal justice system, particularly corrections, can maximize human capital.
According to Freeman (1999), most organizational structures have three components: complexity, formalization, and centralization. From a corrections perspective, all three of these aspects are needed in maintaining order and ensuring compliance from both inmates and correctional officers. Nevertheless, the process of formalization increases the capability to predict and socially control behavior (Freeman, 1999, pg. 35). Predicting human behavior, to say the least, is not easy or even impossible, yet, there are attempts to do just that. How is the human spirit measured? How can one calculate the contriteness of a soul? The capacity of the human mind is a notion that the criminal justice system must not pretend to understand. Nevertheless, the correctional component of the criminal justice system can recognize the importance of each inmate and their contribution to society despite their transgressions.
Indeed, the definition of human capital is “skills, knowledge, and experience of a person or group of people, seen as something valuable that an organization or country can make use of” (oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com, n.d.). Further, Goldin (n.d.) notes that human capital encompasses the idea that “there are investments in people (e.g., education, training, health) and that these investments increase an individual’s productivity” (Goldin, n.d.). The organizational structure of corrections must change for the incarcerated to reach their full potential regarding human capital.
In short, human capital does not become irrelevant or cease to exist from an individual. On the contrary, human capital needs repair or guidance for the individual incarcerated. The criminal justice system must be prepared to provide opportunities for this human condition to thrive rather than decay behind walls of despair known as prison.
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Goldin, C. (n.d.). Human Capital. Scholar.Harvard.edu. https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/goldin/files/human_capital_handbook_of_cliometrics_0.pdf
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Foucault, Michele. 1977. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: N.Y. Vintage Books.
Freeman, R.M. (1999). Correctional Organization and Management: Public Policy Challenges, Behavior, and Structure. Butterworth-Heinmann.