Punishment or Rehabilitation?

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Punishment or Rehabilitation?
Tanisha Denson-Hodge
University of Phoenix - Online
Survey of Justice and Security
CJA 500
Mark McCoy, Ed. D
Nov 18, 2006

The debate between punishment and rehabilitation for criminal offenders has been an ongoing issue for many years. What is the true focus of our criminal justice system today? Some argue that it is to punish those that choose to disobey the laws of the land and indulge in criminal behavior, while others argue that its primary focus should be to rehabilitate these offenders and help them reintegrate into society while helping them become productive, law-abiding citizens; helping them leave that criminal activity in the past.
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One of the most widely used methods of punishment for a convicted offender is imprisonment. For some offenders, prison was a saving grace to them; forcing themselves to alter their criminal activity and make amends for their wrongdoings. One views the punishment model in that manner as a justifiable means of preventing the crime from happening again. If a serial rapist is convicted and sentenced to a long prison term than it’s one less worry of another victim falling prey to this offender; thus making the streets a safer place. Even within the school system, there are rules and regulations that students must abide by; one breaks the rules and they are punished by means of external suspension or an after school detention. The fact of the matter is; rules are established and governed by our government and when one refuses to follow them; there are consequences that come along with the disobedient behavior and it must be addressed or the crime will continue or escalate (Bedau, p. 11) Another form of punishment is the idea of capital punishment. Capital punishment includes death by electric chair, lethal injection, and gas chamber and in some countries, hanging. This idea stems from the fact of being taught a lesson; if one is killed for committing multiple murders, than someone else will think twice before they think about committing a murder. Is this an effective means of deterring the crime? In some cases, yes, but in others no because if
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