Current Correctional System and Rehabilitation

934 Words Feb 3rd, 2018 4 Pages
Do you think the current correctional system still holds rehabilitation as its number one goal? Why or why not? The goal of rehabilitation is an idealistic goal that is morally superior to the other possible goals of the correctional system. It was inspired by the belief that both inmates and society as a whole benefit more from the successful rehabilitation of convicted criminals than they benefit from punitive incarceration or by mere incapacitation (Schmalleger, 2009). After decades of social experimentation with criminal justice and corrections policies that incorporated and emphasized elements of rehabilitation over elements of punishment or mere incapacitation, the rehabilitation approach came to be widely perceived as having been a failure, largely by virtue of the very high recidivism rates of inmates during that time frame (Schmalleger, 2009). More recently, the American penal system seems to have returned to the assumption that rehabilitating criminals is simply not a realistic goal on which to base national policies and practices. In the decades since the experiment with rehabilitation as the primary purpose of American penal systems, practices such as mandatory sentencing guidelines and "three-strikes" laws became more and more popular. In many respects, even judges have criticized the degree to which those types of laws limit their flexibility to apply judicial…