Punishment vs Rehabilitation

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Punishment vs. Rehabilitation

Helen Olko

October 1, 2012


The expectations that our society has for the criminal justice system is to punish and rehabilitate individuals who commit crime. Punishment and rehabilitation are also two of the four acknowledged objectives of the criminal justice system, with deterrence and incapacitation being the others. In the United States, punishment has always been the primary goal to achieve when dealing with individuals who commit acts of crime. Many theorists throughout history have argued which is more effective, punishment or rehabilitation.

Deterrence is one of the primary goals in the criminal
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By separating punishment from rehabilitation, the effectiveness of rehabilitation is enhanced since punishment is contradictory to rehabilitative activities. In addition, a two-stage sentence system would include a more uniform sentencing structure and would reduce the issue of chance which is inherent in the present parole-granting process. With the expected functions of a prison limited to punishment and incapacitation, sentences for incarcerating felons can then be addressed within terms of deterrence values. Both punishment and rehabilitation are needed if the problem of crime is to be effectively addressed. However, it is not necessary that the prison provide both of these functions simultaneously. A more logical approach involves a two-stage sentence. The prison would provide the incarceration stage and punishment of criminals. After the punitive portion of the sentence, the offender would serve a post-prison sentence of intense supervision which would provide the offender with therapeutic and remedial programs. This separation of the punitive and rehabilitative obligations would allow each segment of a sentence to be more effective, would make shorter punitive sentences more palatable to the public, and, simultaneously, would maximize the use of available cell space and resources.
Victim Impact

In many cases, victim rights tend to be overshadowed by the rights of the accused. The courts are
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