What are the competing theories of corrections prevalent in today's system?
Different authors name different theories. Some refer to the goals of punishment as the theories: Retribution, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Social Protection, while others refer to the philosophies behind these goals of punishment: utilitarian, retributive, and denunciation theories.
Presently, the U.S. conception of punishment is a combination of the utilitarian, retributive, and denunciation theories. However, the most widely accepted rationale for punishment in the United States is retribution. This is seen in the rationale for a conviction, as the sentence a defendant receives is always, at least in part, a form of retribution. However, a sentence may combine utilitarian principles with retribution. For instance, an offender sentenced to prison for several years satisfy the public's desire for vengeance, while simultaneously, have educational programs inside the prison that reflects the utilitarian goal of rehabilitation (Punishment - Theories Of Punishment, http://law.jrank.org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT.html).
These theories use a combination of goals for punishment: Retribution, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Social Protection and Social Humiliation.
How are the goals of these punishment or rehabilitative strategies different?
Utilitarian has the goals of both deterrence and rehabilitation. The utilitarian theory is "consequentialist" in nature. It recognizes that punishment has consequences for both the offender and society and holds that the total good produced by the punishment should exceed the total evil. In other words, punishment should not be unlimited. One illustration of consequentialism in punishment is the release of a prison inmate suffering from a debilitating illness. If the prisoner's death is imminent, society is not served by his continued confinement because he is no longer capable of committing crimes. Specific deterrence means that the punishment should prevent the same person from committing crimes. Specific deterrence works in two ways. First, an offender may be put in jail or prison to physically prevent her from committing another crime for a specified period. Second, this incapacitation is designed to be so unpleasant that it will discourage the offender from repeating her criminal behaviour. Rehabilitation is another utilitarian rationale for punishment, mainly to prevent future crime by giving offenders the ability to succeed within the confines of the law. Rehabilitative measures for criminal offenders usually include treatment for afflictions such as mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic violent behaviour. Rehabilitation also includes the use of educational programs that give offenders the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the job market (http://law.jrank.org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT.html).
In contrast, retribution as a goal of punishment is an act of moral vengeance by which society makes the offender suffers as much as the suffering caused by the crime. The counterpart to the utilitarian theory of punishment is the retributive theory. Under this theory, offenders are punished for criminal behaviour because they deserve punishment. Criminal...