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)
Many different states have begun sending nonviolent drug offenders to various kinds of drug treatment program the state offers. By doing this, it has significantly reduced the problems with overcrowding. If an individual is arrested and charged with simple possession of a drug and no other crime is being commented, then this person is doing no harm to anyone else. They should be given the opportunity to try and make a change in their life and beat the addiction. Instead, if this person is thrown into jail, they are still going to be an addict with a criminal record now and will not be able to be a contributing member of society. (Everett 1 ).
Community corrections is continually changing and has been for the past one hundred years. From the early to mid-twentieth century onward it has used three major models, the medical model, community model, and the crime control model. The major turning point for the American community corrections system that led to corrections as we know it today was in 1974 when What Works? - Questions and Answers About Prison Reform by Martinson was published. The system changed practically overnight across the nation. The notion of rehabilitating offenders was dismissed and a more punitive “lock them up and throw away the key” mentality took over. Presently the corrections system is still working in the crime control model, but professionals are trying to restructure how we deal with criminal offenders during and after incarceration. The difficulty in the restructuring is finding the balance between punishing criminal offenders proportionate to their crime, but also rehabilitating them to be productive members of society once they are released so that they do not recidivate.
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.
The research project findings “Indicate that the length of time in treatment is related to treatment success, that is, improvement in pro-social behaviors, lower rates of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations. (Field, 1989)
There has been debate over whether non-violent drug offenders belong in prison. Some believe all drug offenders should be put in prison, others believe that it depends on circumstances, and, still others believe only violent drug offenders should be incarcerated. Overcrowding is one point of contention. It seems as though the slightest infraction can land a person in prison. Violence is rampant, whether inmate versus inmate or inmate versus guard. Rehabilitation or education is practically non-existent, unless an inmate teaching another inmate how to commit the ‘perfect’ crime is counted. Evidence shows being in prison does little to rehabilitate an inmate. Clearly, the system does not work.
In a fight to reduce overcrowding, improve public health and public safety, and reduce the costs of criminal justice and corrections, federal, state and local leaders are constantly looking for alternatives to incarceration. A number of strategies have been put in place to save public funds and improve public health by keeping low-risk, non-violent, possibly drug-involved offenders out of prison or jail while still holding them accountable and securing the safety of our comminutes. These programs have been put in place to help those who don’t necessarily need to be in jail, get their priorities straight while also holding them accountable for their actions. They have been put in place to help reduce incarceration rates, but also help those who may have mental health issues or substance abuse issues that have caused them to make bad decisions (Treatment Court Divisions).
Thousands of people are residing in United States prisons and jails, and they go untreated. The very institutions which confines offenders, creates people with mental illness and drug addictions disorders. Crime needs varying interventions targeting problem-specific areas due to numerous factors.
Since the origination of drug treatment courts, there has been countless numbers of offenders who have successfully completed the program and fought their way past drug abuse. There are also a handful of offenders who may have struggled to change their drug abuse or addiction, and fell short of completing the program. In this second part of my report, I will be determining whether drug treatment court programs actually work. To accomplish this task, I will be reviewing three empirical studies to evaluate how effective the program truly is.
One major problem of prison overcrowding is the effect it has on prison organizational stability. The more prisoners and people put in jail have made it harder for prison guards and staff to monitor and control them. The entire prison system must make enormous changes in order to accommodate for the number of inmates versus the number of prison guards (O’Leary). This often results in a misclassification of offenders. Many who come through the system are classified based on the amount of space available instead of on the security level and programs that would be most suitable for them (Howard). “It is not uncommon to find inmates, classified as medium security, incarcerated in maximum security institutions, while other inmates are in medium security who were previously considered candidates for maximum security” (Howard). Misclassifying offenders often leads to “slow progress through the corrections system as well as a slow exit” (Howard). This in turn only prolongs and increases the overcrowding problem (Howard). The corrections programs should be reformed to meet the needs of the inmates rather than the inmates having to adjust to meet the requirements of the system. Offenders need to be on specific rehabilitation programs that are customized to fit their needs, such as alcohol and drug abuse programs and so forth.
From 1973 to 2000 the imprisonment rate in the U.S has increased by a multiple of four, while the actual crime rate saw no such increase over that period. (Visher and Travis, 2003, p. 89-90) Historically, the prison system in America had always been marred with inadequacies and failures, specifically in rehabilitating prisoners. The significant increase in incarceration rates have put an even greater burden on the already inefficient prison system. In reality, the prison system does not actually function as a means of rehabilitating prisoners, and real purpose of the institute is to basically keep the “deplorables” of society away from the public eye. It serves as a tool to degrade members of society to the bottom of the social ladder and strip them of their most basic rights. For many prisoners, rehabilitation comes in the form of “corrections” which is largely characterized by the humiliation, abuse, and subjugation of inmates by correction officers. This form of rehabilitation is largely malicious and ineffective in its procedures and outcomes. Often times inmates, leave prison more emotionally and physically damaged that they were upon entrance as a consequence of the dismal conditions they were subjugated to. The current high rates of recidivism have testified to the fact that our prisons have failed as a deterrent. As a result, it must be
Drug abuse is shown to be connected to all different kinds of crime in the United States, and in many circumstances, crime is inspired by drug abuse and addiction. In fact, 80% of criminal offenders abuse drugs or alcohol (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). Also, 60% of those who are arrested test positive for illicit drugs when they are arrested, and 60-80% commit another crime, typically drug-related, after leaving prison (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). And, even after these individuals put in the time in prison that would allow them to go through the uncomfortable process of detoxing, 95% of them will chose to go back to drug abuse after prison (National Association of Drug Court Professionals). Given these overwhelming statistics, it is clear that drug abuse, and repeated or continued drug abuse, are a serious problem facing the criminal justice system.
Those incarcerated today are not given the chance to change their behavior patterns, especially when it is in regard to drug addiction. The criminal justice system in general does not consider drug abuse as anything but a crime and does not think about treating the disease of addiction in order to reduce or eliminate the crimes that come as a
It is common knowledge that America has the world’s largest population of prisoners, and in 2008, a study was completed by the Pew Charitable Trusts which indicated that half of the inmates in jail and prison are serving time for nonviolent drug charges (http://www.pewstates.org/news-room/press-releases/new-pew-study-finds-36-percent-increase-in-prison-time-served-85899394970). Since the “War on Drugs” approach about forty years ago, the criminalization of the addict has done very little to address the problem of substance abuse in society. While there is no one clear cause of substance abuse, there have been patterns identified in substance abusers, that may be the underlying factors that lead to the addiction. Some of these factors include mental health and biology.