Essay Correctional Theory

2516 Words 11 Pages
INTRODUCTION Rehabilitation is firmly entrenched in the history of corrections in the United States. Penitentiaries, for example were formed in 1820 with the belief that offenders could be morally reformed (Cullen, & Jonson, 2012, pp. 27-28). In 1870). The National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline documented the merits of rehabilitation (Wines, 1871, p. 457). However, by the end of the 1960s, the United States had experienced several years of discontent within its prison systems which resulted in a national call for prison reform and the development of a disillusionment with rehabilitation (Martinson, 1974, p. 22). In 1966, Robert Martinson was hired to evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation, the result of which …show more content…
By utilizing correctional policies and practices that are not built upon evidence-based theories, we risk not only imposing ineffective treatments on offenders, we risk increasing an offender’s criminality (p. 3). This is especially disconcerting when one considers the potential harm to which we are exposing society upon the offender’s release (Latessa, Cullen, & Gendreau, 2002, p. 44). Evidence-based corrections would implement rehabilitation policies, as research shows it to be the greatest opportunity to significantly impact crime as it addresses what is known to both cause and reduce criminality (Cullen, & Jonson, 2012, p. 11). Inherent in the ideals of effective rehabilitation are the identification of criminogenic risk factors (i.e., correlates of criminality) such as aggression, and the establishment of individualized evidence-based treatments which address them (p. 30). In other words, offenders offend for different reasons and until we target those reasons with empirically sound treatments and interventions, we cannot hope for successful rehabilitation. Worse yet, by utilizing one size fits all treatments, we risk exposing them to criminogenic risk factors, further exacerbating their criminal propensities (p. 12). Ultimately, the importance of evidence-based corrections cannot be overstated for it is through careful evaluation of empirically sound data that we learn how to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the correctional system as well as the
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