Competing Theories of Corrections

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Competing Theories Of Corrections
James Bartron
American Intercontinental University

Abstract
As the staffer working in the office a state senator, I have been asked to prepare a detailed outline on correctional theory in general and then make a series of suggestions on ways to implement some of the nontraditional theories of corrections. In reviewing mass incarceration there is often criticism of simple warehousing of human beings who are convicted of crimes. If it is a violent crime there is a need to safeguard society from future criminal acts of a person who is convicted of the most heinous offenses. I will describe what the competing theories of corrections are and if they are prevalent in today’s system or not. A review of how the goals of punishment and rehabilitative strategies differ will also be shown. I will also show whether or not there is specific data to support one particular approach over another. I will also give my opinion on whether I feel the approach is effective and if it is more cost effective than conventional incarceration. Competing Theories Of Corrections

Contributing to creating a political and media climate in which “get tough” policies were embraced by a broad spectrum of the public and political leadership was a variety of factors. They remained largely unchallenged, despite a wealth of research documenting the limited effect of such policies on crime. A broad range of choices now exist in many courtrooms, while sentencing options were once largely limited to incarceration and probation. (n.d. State Sentencing Reforms) Significant new sentencing options have become available over the past few decades, which are considered intermediate sanctions. Intermediate sanctions employ sentencing alternatives that fall between outright imprisonment and simple probationary release back into the community. They are intended to provide prosecutors, judges, and corrections officials with sentencing options that permit them to apply appropriate punishments to convicted offenders while not being constrained by the traditional choice between prison and probation. These sanctions include split sentencing, shock probation or parole, shock incarceration, community service, intensive supervision, or home confinement and electronic monitoring. Working to widen the use of sentencing alternatives, one group in particular is The Sentencing Project. This group provides technical assistance to public defenders, court officials, and other community organizations. They have contributed to the development of more than 100 locally based alternative sentencing service programs. These services work in conjunction with defense attorneys to develop written sentencing plans. (2005 Schmalleger) We all know that life is difficult and can be unfair, but according to Dr. Viktor Frank (1997) that the meaning of life is not what happens to us but it is what we do with that which happens to us. Robert Martinson’s credo of “nothing works” has caused justice scholars and policy makers to debate the effectiveness of correctional rehabilitation. Programs that are based around surveillance and punishment are embraced and evident in today’s society. Even though at a later date Martinson admitted he was wrong, justice scholars and policy makers have continued to debate on his original credo. However, it is evident that there are various successful programs that are available that will reduce future criminality not only from offenders but by potential offenders as well. (Shrum, H., 2008) The competing theories of corrections that are prevalent in today’s system include Split Sentencing, Shock Probation, Shock Incarceration, Mixed Sentencing and Community Service, Intensive Probation Supervision (IPS), and Home Confinement and Electronic Monitoring. Split Sentencing involves a short time of imprisonment along with probation and serving time in a local jail. (Schmalleger, 2005) Shock Probation involves the offender serving time in...
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