Point of View: Prison: To Punish or to Reform?

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Prison Pages: 2 (553 words) Published: February 13, 2014
Deterrence is one of the primary goals in the criminal justice system and it is described as special or specific deterrence and general deterrence. The purpose of special/specific deterrence is to instill fear on the offender so that they will not commit future crime. General deterrence is based on punishing offenders to instill fear in society, otherwise known as teaching society a lesson and showing the consequences of committing crime. Punishment has always been imposed based on the idea that it will deter individuals from committing crime or repeating criminal acts. Incapacitation has been the most common form of punishment, however research demonstrates that recidivism amongst convicted felons following release from prison is as high as 63% and that most prison inmates had arrest records and convictions prior to their current offense. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1989) Punishment through incarceration is a temporary fix to crime while the offender is confined. The maximum sentence of life in prison and the death penalty has even been debated on whether they are deterrence to crime. There are so many underlying factors within the criminal justice system that may contribute to why punishment has not been as effective as anticipated such as the appeal process in death penalty cases and the length of time that an offender sits on death row.

Others argue that rehabilitation is a more permanent fix in deterring crime. Rehabilitation through community supervision can have a more lasting effect on individuals and deter them from committing future crime if they learn how to adapt in society by gaining academic or trade skills. These programs can help offenders find employment and secure an important role in the community and give them a sense of being. Therapy is another form of rehabilitation needed to help deter individuals from committing future crime. Some examples of therapy include drug therapy to those offenders addicted to drugs and psychological...
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