Rehabilitation and Reintegration
Delaware Technical & Community College
August 3, 2010
To combat recidivism, correctional facilities are changing their focus from punishment towards rehabilitation. The examination of correctional methodology used in the United States, Japan, and Scotland offer profound insights into the growing trend to rehabilitate prisoners instead of punishing them. Through research, the evidence of innovative techniques geared to rehabilitate inmates in penal systems has proven to be of the utmost importance, ultimately leading to a heightened rate of success upon release. Although there is no utopian system in which an inmates needs are immediately assessed, new implementations have provided the foundation for prison reform on a global scale.
Recidivism and Reintegration
As prison overcrowding becomes a global concern, one must question the effectiveness of correctional facilities that focus on punishment. To combat recidivism, correctional facilities are exploring reform to better prepare inmates for reentry into society through rehabilitation. Correction facilities need to increase focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment to reduce the rate of recidivism. Many inmates come from a background of low education, poverty, and substance dependency. With such staggering odds against them, many facilities are conceiving new ways to aid inmates in correcting many inherent disadvantages that oppose them thus maintaining order and purpose within their systems. In this paper I will examine the importance of rehabilitation in treatment focus, and the subsequent results that lead to a lower recidivism rate amongst correctional facilities in the U.S., Japan, and Scotland.
The purpose of prison in the United States has historically served to separate those who perpetrate the law from the population. “More than 600,000 inmates are released from U.S. prisons each year according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics” (Visher et al., 2007, para. 1). With the undeniable aim of deterrence through incapacitation, the idea of rehabilitation has been somewhat of a recent innovation. In 2004 the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) was introduced to focus on reentry preparation for inmates just before, and immediately following release (Visher et al., 2007). This initiative presented an innovative response to corrections, as it was the first of its kind to focus on more serious offenders, as often federal programs provided services only to inmates who posed less of a threat to public safety. Participants in the SVORI program averaged a moderate success rate when compared to that of inmates who did not participate. A total of one hundred sixteen outcomes were measured during the evaluation of the program’s success. Of these outcomes, SVORI participants were conclusively doing better on ninety-eight of the hundred and sixteen possible outcomes (Visher et al., 2007, para 5). Although SVORI only spanned several years and cost the government millions of dollars, its inception forever changed the goal of correctional policy in the United States. Despite the discontinuation of funding, SVORI’s goals of rehabilitation continue to live on in the form of other organizations such as the Prisoner Reentry Initiative.
“The Prisoner Reentry Initiative focuses on employment based programming for inmates” (Lattimore, 2007, para. 1). The Prisoner Reentry Initiative is lead by the Department of Labor and focuses only on less violent offenders, unlike that of the SVORI program who accepted violent prisoners. This seems to be an inherent deficiency with the program, as the lack of accessibility to the program enables only a small percentage of the current prison population to undergo a multi-session, formalized prerelease program (Lattimore, 2007, para. 3). The Prisoner Reentry...