Canada Should Focus More on Rehabilitation and Less on Retribution

3217 Words Jun 16th, 2018 13 Pages
Society has long since operated on a system of reward and punishment. That is, when good deeds are done or a person behaves in a desired way they SP are rewarded, or conversely punished when behaviour does not meet the societal norms. Those who defy these norms and commit crime are often punished by organized governmental justice systems through the use of penitentiaries, where prisoners carry out their sentences. The main goals of sentencing include deterrence, safety of the public, retribution, rehabilitation, punishment and respect for the law (Government of Canada, 2013). However, the type of justice system in place within a state or country greatly influences the aims and mandates of prisons and in turn targets …show more content…
Retribution has been associated with increased punishment, decreased treatment, but not with reduced recidivism (Andrews et al., 1990). Not only has there been no reduction in recidivism, there has also been no increase in deterrence through the use of punitive measures (Cullen & Gendreau, 2000). Deterrence-oriented interventions have actually been shown to increase recidivism by 12%, as demonstrated by Lipsey’s (1992) meta-analysis (as referenced by Cullen & Gendreau, 2000). Other punitive measures, that have developed out of the just deserts mentality, such as three-strikes laws, which required life sentences for those with three convictions, as well as Scared Straight programs and boot camps, have negligible or detrimental effects to recidivism (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Studies have repeatedly shown that long prison sentences and lack of rehabilitation actually increases the likelihood of reoffending (Canadian Civil Liberties Association [CCLA], 2011). While using punitive measures in the name of retribution may make those in society feel safe, there is no evidence to support this approach. It is thought that punishment prevents an individual from committing a future crime, or reoffending. Despite this belief, research examining the effects of incarceration and prison conditions has demonstrated
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