Criminal Rehabilitation

Topics: Prison, Crime, Recidivism Pages: 11 (3452 words) Published: October 11, 2008
Prison is just a place where criminals get a good spanking and endless lectures on behavior until they can learn how to be righteous. In colonial America, criminals were treated in much the same way as they were in England at that time, with punishments ranging from lashings, confinement in stocks, and public brandings for minor offenses to hanging for more serious crimes-including theft (Wright, 2007). Many people are surprised to learn that the use of prisons as a form of punishment and rehabilitation was an American innovation (Farabee, 2005). On average, incarceration costs about $22,000 per year: to lock someone away for ten years costs, on average, about $220, 000; a shorter sentence with emphasis on re-education and rehabilitation would be cheaper and more effective (Fauteck, 2006). Rehabilitation seems like a good method that can help inmates get a new lease on life, and become good productive citizens. Criminal rehabilitation works to reduce criminal recidivism, and it’s a cost-efficient form of crime prevention (Fauteck, 2006). Rehabilitation is often theorized as an approach distinct from reform: that is, as a particular style of correctional intervention and a product or correlate of a particular historical context (Raynor & Robinson, 2005). American prisons have been charged with the responsibility of accomplishing a nearly impossible task: the transformation of convicted felons, including society’s most violent and recalcitrant criminals, into law-abiding citizens (Wright, 2007). Isolation from social connections with economic value further embeds offenders within a criminal social world (in prison and again on the street), which has long-term effects on inmates’ ability to integrate into mainstream communities; no matter how progressive prison-based vocational training courses seem to be, the American system of correctional “isolation” cannot accomplish, to a significant degree, its goal of offender rehabilitation and community integration (Fleisher, 1995; Irwin, 1970). Rehabilitation also ensures that inmates are socially well adjusted (Wright, 2007). Prisons are exceedingly difficult places in which to provide treatment (Farabee, 2005). Under rehabilitation, incapacitation effects also would occur (as well as general deterrent effects because offender would receive a state sanction) (Fauteck, 2006). There is growing evidence that imprisonment is related to higher levels of recidivism (Fleisher, 1995; Irwin, 1970). Set of studies demonstrates that control-oriented intensive supervision, scared straight, and boot camp programs have no overall impact on recidivism (Fauteck, 2006). One of the reasons why these interventions fail, it’s because they are based on a limited theory of crime (rational choice) and do not target the known proximate risk factors for re-offending (Andrews and Bonta, 2006). Scholars has been working to document that rehabilitation programs can be effective (Wright, 2007). Through the use of meta-analyses that survey the studies in this area, they show that rehabilitation programs achieve meaningful reductions in recidivism (Fleisher, 1995; Irwin, 1970). Rehabilitation for the benefit of potential victims

Current models of rehabilitation, those based on social learning theory and often delivered through ‘programmes’, aim to empower offenders to take more control of their lives and behavior and to make more pro-social choices by helping them to learn necessary skills such as listening and communication, crucial and creative thinking, problem-solving, self-management and self-control (Fauteck, 2006). Rehabilitation is advocated on the grounds that it is better for both the offenders and society because it can reduce further offending and victimizations (Fleisher, 1995; Irwin, 1970). This primacy accorded to public safety is described by Garland as a shift in the justification of rehabilitation: the emphasis, he argues, has moved from the benefit to the offender...
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