Rehabilitation vs. Punishment

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The role of the Justice System is to punish and rehabilitate those who commit crimes and to try to decrease and prevent further crimes from happening. However, rehabilitating these criminals, rather than punishing them, will produce the most beneficial results for all of society as a whole.

Crime impacts almost every segment of society from the tax-payer to those who fear criminals and to the people tasked with the responsibility of dealing with these criminals. Recent findings based on over 500 studies spanning five decades of research indicates that any kind of rehabilitation reduces the chance of a criminal striking again by an average of 10%, as they learn how to adapt to society by gaining academic or trade skills.[1] [2] These programs offer offenders employment, giving them a sense of “being” by contributing to society. With the amount of crimes and criminals decreasing, future victims and their families are being spared from experiencing the pain and emotional suffering that accompanies any type of crime, such as a woman who can no longer sleep due to rape.[3] Incapacitation has been the most common form of punishment; however research states that 63% of these released felons will strike again, as opposed to rehabilitation.[4] Thus, rehabilitation programs generate benefits in the form of future reductions in crime and crime-related costs that would not occur should these criminals be punished instead.

Crime-related costs from an economic perspective also play a major part in the benefits of rehabilitation.[5] It has been reported that it costs an average of $30,000 per year to house, feed, clothe and supervise a prisoner while rehabilitating these prisoners cost $10,000 less. Researchers had analyzed 108 rehabilitation outcome studies using a cost-benefit approach and they have demonstrated that on average, every dollar spent on rehabilitation services saves the taxpayers an additional $5 and the victim an additional $7. Punishment-oriented...
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