Resocialization of Offenders (MSC5713) – The Green Mile – A View on Punishment and Control 1
“The Green Mile – A View on Punishment and Control”
Tony S. Walker
Resocialization of Offenders (MSC5713) Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City
The Green Mile was released in 1999 and directed by Frank Darabont. The movie was co-written by Stephen King and Frank Darabont. The movie “The Green Mile” follows a correction officer named Paul Edgecomb in the 1930s. Paul is the supervisor at the death row wing (also known as The Green Mile) at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Commonly death role wings are called “The Last Mile” but in the movie, the correction officers called it The Green Mile because of the lime colored floors. During the film, the correction officers take charge of a new inmate named John Coffey who allegedly murdered and raped two young girls. During his stay on the green mile, Paul and the others learn that John is innocent of his crimes and has some sort of divine powers presumed to be from God himself. The correctional officer’s moral and ethical dilemmas when it comes to putting an innocent kind-hearted man to death.
The movie “The Green Mile” is a good example of punishment and control. The movie is of course set in the penal system and follows a limited number of correction officers and inmates who are sentenced to death following the convictions of their crimes. During the course of the movie, we see solitary confinement, corruption, and capital punishment within the justice system. The movie is a prime example that the justice system is broke or at least missing a few things. The ideology that violent and dangerous offenders need to be punished in the most severe way (capital punishment), as we know it can sometimes include innocent people who were wrongly convicted. The criminal justice system is overburdened and limited in how it handles and prioritizes cases.
Solitary confinement is often used as a form of punishment in the penal system. Lendman, 2010 explains that offenders who are isolated during their prison sentence experience major psychological effects ranging from anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, social withdrawal, hallucinations, suicidal, paranoia, and many other things. Lendman also states that from interviews with prisoners they often stated that people who come into prison as “normal” leave with many different psychological effects which make them unable to successfully integrate into society. For offenders on death row, this isn’t as much of a concern as it is for regular prisoners. We see solitary used a few times in the movie with inmate William “Wild Bill” Wharton. Wharton was a menace to the correction officers on the floor. Several times he was placed in solitary confinement for various things as a form of punishment. While Wharton was deserving of punishment without doubt putting an already mentally unstable person in solitary confinement could potentially make them even more unstable further damaging...