Rehabilitation and Recidivism

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Unit 4 Project
Larinda K. Kimbrell
Kaplan University

CJ499-01P: Bachelors Capstone in Criminal Justice (P)
Barbara Mitchell
June 16, 2010

Abstract
Over many years there has been great debate about whether rehabilitation reduces the rate of recidivism in criminal offenders. There has been great controversy over whether anything works to reduce recidivism and great hope that rehabilitation would offer a reduction in those rates. In this paper I will introduce information and views on the reality of whether rehabilitation does indeed reduce recidivism. Proposed is a quasi-experiment, using a group of offenders that received rehabilitation services and an ex post facto group that did not? I intend to prove that rehabilitation services do positively affect the recidivism rate regardless of unavoidable variables. Introduction

Based on the most recent annual survey of jails, The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports a 2.3% drop in the overall jail population from midyear 2008 to midyear 2009 in its publication, "Jail Inmates at Midyear 2009—Statistical Tables." This remains a significant observation especially since mandatory minimum sentences have become an increasingly popular method of sentencing for many offenses as well as more punitive justice. What phenomenon has changed that has decreased the jail population? Have the crime rates fallen or has recidivism rates fallen due to intervention and rehabilitation programs? Minton (2010). Studies of recidivism rates have been done for years. In 1974 Martinson conducted a study intensely questioning rehabilitation and intervention. Many important people believed that nothing works to reduce recidivism, although, earlier studies were more positive toward rehabilitation. The answer must lie somewhere in between. Rehabilitation-Does Correctional Rehabilitation Work (n.d.). If there is no place in our criminal justice system for rehabilitation of criminals, why do we release inmates from jail to commit more crime and to unjustly subject law abiding citizens to danger and turmoil? Both rehabilitation and recidivism is costly to the public, being paid for by our tax dollars, and policy being driven by politics. Rehabilitation offers the public its only hope for lessening the public safety risk and financial burden to the general public. Continuous incarceration and deterrence proves to be increasingly costly and unrealistic. Literature Review

As with other ideas, intervention, rehabilitation, and punitive methods of correction have seen its fair share of trends, trial and error. Rehabilitation was once a very hopeful method of reducing recidivism and although it has not been as successful as once thought, evidence does prove that rehabilitation and intervention does help to reduce recidivism to a greater extent than more punitive methods of punishment. Studies by means of meta-analyses, or an average of studies, have been performed and prove that rehabilitation when it conforms to Gendreau’s “principles of effective treatment” recidivism is reduced by approximately 25 percent. Cullen & Gendreau (2000). According to Gendreau and his "principles of effective treatment" there is a certain technique of providing rehabilitation that does tend to reduce recidivism and they are as follows: (1) Target the known predictors of recidivism for change;

(2) Use cognitive-behavioral treatments that reinforce prosocial attitudes and behavior, seek to challenge and extinguish criminal thinking patterns, and provide alternative, prosocial ways of acting; (3) Focus treatment interventions on high-risk offenders;

(4) Try to take into account characteristics of offenders (e.g., I.Q.) that might affect their responsivity to treatment; (5) Employ staff that are well trained and interpersonally sensitive (6) Provide offenders with aftercare once they leave the program The premise for applying these principles were based in the belief that focus should be on changing the...
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