The tension between rehabilitation and punishment has been increasing dramatically. This is because there have been sharp rises in the prison population and repeat offender rates. When one area is over emphasized in relation to the other, there is the possibility that imbalances will occur. Over the course of time, these issues can create challenges that will impact the criminal justice system and society at large. (Gadek, 2010) (Clear, 2011) (Gatotch, 2011)
Throughout the years, the use of imprisonment has varied, along with its influences of society. It is thought that although prisons have been around since the thirteenth century, prisons as we know them now to be have only been around for the last three centuries. The first uses of prisons were not seen as a form of punishment instead they were used as a way of making people do something. People would be held in prison until they paid their debts, or awaiting trial and then leading up to their sentence. McGowen (1995) suggests that from the early 1700s ‘bridewells’ a house of correction have existed, however at that time being used merely for vagrants and drunks. At the end of the sixteenth century there was a shift in punishment to imprisonment, along with this came a new, more humane idea of reform. Criminals would spend their days of prison carrying out hard labour. However after the American Revolution, imprisonment took a step back and there was another change. There was mass overcrowding within the prison service and although the death penalty was still being used it was a symbol of the power of the state. Therefore, an everyday way of dealing with offenders would be transportation to the colonies, being either Australia or America.
While many conservatives oppose the rehabilitative measures restorative justice offers offenders and demand more prisons and penalties, advocates for restorative justice counter this demand with research. Restorative justice advocates call for restitution rather than retribution. According to promoters for restorative justice, imposing harsh penalties on offenders and lengthening prison sentences is futile. “Critical theorists argue that the ‘old methods’ of punishment are a failure and that upwards of two-thirds of all prison inmates recidivate soon after their release” (Siegel, 2008, p. 188). While conservatives want to build more prisons and lock away more offenders for longer terms, supporters of restorative justice believe that a more rehabilitative approach is beneficial for not only the offender, but also the community. “The offender is asked to recognize that he or she caused injury to personal and social relations along with a determination and acceptance of responsibility. Only then can the offender be restored as a productive member of society” (Siegel, 2008, p. 190). Placing an offender in prison for any amount of time is shown to be harmful to the offender, their victim, and society. “Rather than reduce recidivism, harsher punishments may increase the likelihood of reoffending” (Siegel, 2008, p. 86). A conservative asking for more prisons would likely be met with a barrage of evidence explaining why restorative justice will and
The way the criminal justice system should handle crimes has always been a debated subject. For over the last forty years, ever since the war on drugs, there are more policies made to be “tough on crime”. From then, correctional systems have grown and as people are doing more crimes, there are plenty of punishments for them. In the mid 1970’s, rehabilitation was the main concern for the criminal justice system. It was common that when someone was convicted of a crime, they would be sentenced to prison but there would also be diagnosed treatments to help them as well. Most likely, they would have committed a crime due to psychological problems. When they receive treatment in prison, they can be healed and would not go back to their wrong lifestyle they had lived before. As years have gone by, people thought that it was better to take a more punitive stance in the criminal justice system. As a result of the turnaround of this more punitive criminal justice system, the United States now has more than 2 million people in prisons or jails--the equivalent of one in every 142 U.S. residents--and another four to five million people on probation or parole. The U.S. has a higher percentage of the
As a country, we should care about all of our citizens and work toward bettering them, because we are only as strong as our weakest link. When it concerns the issue of corrections it should not be a discussion of punishment or rehabilitation. Instead, it should be a balance of both that puts the spotlight on rehabilitating offenders that are capable and willing to change their lives for the better. Through rehabilitation a number of issues in the corrections field can be solved from mental health to overcrowding. More importantly, it allows offenders the chance to do and be better once released from prison. This paper analyzes what both rehabilitation and punishment are as well as how they play a part in corrections. It also discusses the current reasons that punishment as the dominant model of corrections is not as effective as rehabilitation. After explaining rehabilitation and punishment, then breaking down the issues with punishment, I will recommend a plan for balance. A plan that will lower incarceration rates and give offenders a second chance.
In the United States, each day approximately 1,600 adults are released from state and federal penitentiaries to reintegrate back into the community (Gunnison & Helfgott, 2013). Reentry programs have been created all over the nation to help offenders successfully transition from prison into society. Offenders are confronted with numerous obstacles when attempting to reintegrate back into society. Ninety-five percent of offenders are released to reintegrate back into the community (Davis, Bahr, & Ward, 2013). Upon release, ex-offenders realize that despite the fact that they are no longer incarcerated, they face many restrictions. The restorative justice development rose to address the disappointment of the criminal justice framework to manage victims, offenders, and communities in an integrated way. A core focus of this development has been to expand the role of the community in advocating changes that will avert the issues and conditions related with crime and the demand for a criminal justice intervention (Hass & Saxon, 2012).
There are numerous programs available for inmates who are incarcerated, and the individuals who capitalize on these programs show subsequent improvement after being released. However, these programs only help those prisoners who are willing to change. While incarcerated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, there are numerous programs inmates can take advantage of that will help them in a variety of fields such as, “Education and Vocational Training, English-as-a-Second Language Program, Drug Abuse Education, Sex Offender Treatment Programs – Nonresidential, Skills Programs,” and more (Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2015). On the educational side, the BOP offers a program called the Bureau Literacy Program (Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2015).
Statistics have proven that incarceration alone is a monetary pitfall and does not deter the cluster of non-violent drug related crimes in this country. We need to create an alternative habilitation pattern for these offenders including an assessment of their mental health, specialized life skills training, and occupational employment assistance: in some cases, in lieu of incarceration and in others, in conjunction with incarceration. Ask yourself these questions: What affect would this type of intense program have on the recidivism rate? Would we be saving tax-payer dollars by producing graduates from drug rehabilitation programs instead of housing repeat criminals? To
American prison system incarceration was not officially used as the main form of punishment in United States (U.S.) until around the 1800’s. Before that time criminals were mainly punished by public shaming, which involved punishments such as being whipped, or branded (HL, 2015). In fact, President Lincoln codified the prison incarceration system in the Emancipation Proclamation that indicated no slavery would take place in America unless a person was duly convicted of a crime (paraphrased) (White, 2015). In this era prisons were used more as a place where criminals could be detained until their trial date if afforded such an opportunity. However, one of the main problems with this idea was the fact that the prisons were badly maintained, which resulted in many people contracting fatal diseases. Yet, according to White (2015) unethical and immoral medical experiments were also conducted on inmates’ leading to health failures. Moreover, because everyone was detained in the same prisons, adolescent offenders would have to share the same living space with adult felons, which became another serious problem in that adolescent were less mature and could not protect themselves in such environments
Until as recently as the 1970s, the focus of criminal justice professionals revolved around rehabilitation of offenders (Cullen & Jonson, 2012, p. 27). Dating back to when the first American penitentiary was constructed in 1820, the idea was that by creating a system that mimicked the concept of a well-developed, law-abiding community within the prison atmosphere,
The American prison finds its origin in Europe. Like most things American we have adopted and adapted many of our beliefs and customs from our mother land. The punishment of confinement was rare and unheard of in America before Eighteenth century. The English concept of prison and incarceration did not even take root until the late Eighteenth Century (Hirsch, 1992). Now, American’s cannot claim that they invented prisons or the concept of confining criminal offenders within facilities that keep them separate from society. However, they can accredit themselves with championing the concept of prison reformation. Much like its English counterpart the early American prison system, which would one day grow to be an integral part of the expansive American Criminal Justice System, had an ugly and brutal start. Confinement conditions for Prisoners were harsh and unrelenting. Most Facilities designed to house criminal offenders were over populated, under staffed, and lacked necessary resources to support their growing population of inmates (Clear & Cole, 2003). However, over the years, America has made many strives to correct the errors of their predecessors. This paper will detail the early American Prison System and its journey through reformation to become the modern Prison system that we know today.
The United State’s prison system was initially designed to punish and rehabilitate individuals whom were convicted of a felony or other serious offense. Inmates are sentenced for a certain amount of time, or the entirety of their life based on how serious of a crime that person has committed. The Idea of imprisoning a person as a form of punishment dates back to medieval times however, it wasn’t until right before the American Revolution humane prisons started appearing in this country. Today, prisons are more populated than they have ever been and are functioning not only as a place to reform people’s morals, but also as a highly profitable investment for the wealthy to exploit. The Prison system is so devoted to making
With the exception of probation, imprisonment has been the main form of punishment for serious offenders in the United States for over 200 years. Americans can be said to have invented modern incarceration as a means of criminal punishment. Although Europe provided precedents, theoretical justifications, and even architectural plans for imprisoning offenders, Americans developed the blueprints for the typical prisons of today and devised the disciplinary routines, types of sentences, and programs that prison systems of other countries subsequently adopted or modified (Rafter & Stanley 1999).
Over many years there has been great debate about whether rehabilitation reduces the rate of recidivism in criminal offenders. There has been great controversy over whether anything works to reduce recidivism and great hope that rehabilitation would offer a reduction in those rates. In this paper I will introduce information and views on the reality of whether rehabilitation does indeed reduce recidivism. Proposed is a quasi-experiment, using a group of offenders that received rehabilitation services and an ex post facto group that did not? I intend to prove that rehabilitation services do
Criminologist and politicians have debated the effectiveness of correctional rehabilitation programs since the 1970’s when criminal justice scholars and policy makers throughout the United States embraced Robert Martinson’s credo of “nothing works” (Shrum, 2004). Recidivism, the rate at which released offenders return to jail or prison, has become the most accepted outcome measure in corrections. The public's desire to reduce the economic and social costs associated with crime and incarceration has resulted in an emphasis on recidivism as an outcome measure of program effectiveness. While correctional facilities continue to grow, corrections make up an increasing amount of state and federal budgets. The recidivism rate in