Corrections: From Rehabilitation to a More Punitive Model

Topics: Prison, Crime, Criminal justice Pages: 6 (1589 words) Published: February 23, 2015
Sameer Noori
24 November 2014

Corrections Paper
What changes led corrections away from rehabilitation and toward a more punitive model?

Since World War II through the 1970s, many changes occurred in the United States correctional systems. Rehabilitation Model is a treatment program that was designed to reform the inmates. According to, “This model is similar to the medical model; it regards the person with a disability as in need of services from a rehabilitation professional who can provide training, therapy, counseling or other services to make up for the deficiency caused by the disability. Historically, it gained acceptance after World War II when many disabled veterans needed to be re-introduced into society. The current Vocational Rehabilitation system is designed according to this model. Persons with disabilities have been very critical of both the medical model and the rehabilitation model. While medical intervention can be required by the individual at times, it is naive and simplistic to regard the medical system as the appropriate locus for disability related policy matters”. Clear, T., & Cole, G. (2013) acknowledged that most of the states started building prisons and transformed the others in the correctional institutions between 1960s and 1970s. The rehabilitation model was conquered and the counselors or teachers administered the treatment programs at that time. In the facilities the greater preference were security, disciple, and order. In that era prisoners enjoyed a lot constitutional rights as citizens than prisoners during the big-house era in the United States America (page145). Clear, T, & Cole, G. (2013) argued that during the past 40 years, the prison population has changed. The number of African American and Hispanic inmates has greatly increased. More inmates now come from urban areas; more of them have been convicted of drug-related and violent crimes. Incarcerated members of street gangs, which are usually organized along racial or ethnic lines, frequently regroup inside prison and contribute to elevated levels of violence. Another major change has been the rising number of correctional officers who are members of public employee unions. Because some politicians have effectively argued that inmates have been treated too softly, many states have reinstated strict regimes in their prisons and have removed educational and recreational programs”(p145). Politicians have, as a result of this, proposed getting tougher against crime. There are two reasons for this. The first is the belief that we are not tough enough, even though our incarceration rate exceeds that of any other Western nation. The other reason is that we clearly have a crime problem. During the period from the end of World War II to the early 1970s, the nation’s incarceration rate fluctuated between 93 per 100,000 population to 119. By 1996 it reached up to 427 per 100,000. This was a result of tougher punishment against offenders. These high rates of incarceration explain why the United States must take a more punitive stance. The rehabilitation system is now almost completely discredited and the ideal dismantled. There are many explanations for this. One is that the rehabilitative ideal was discredited by the lack of evidence that the treatment programs reduced the chances of offenders repeating the crime. Another explanation was the belief that rehabilitation was simply too liberal and did not do enough justice against the offenders. Francis A. Allen explained that two cultural factors were needed for public support of rehabilitation: “a vibrant faith in the malleability of human beings” and “a workable consensus on the goals of treatment.” Support for both of these propositions had faded since the birth of the American penitentiary to the 1970s. Francis blamed this shift to the “modern sensibility” of the world that had been so radically changed by historic events such as the Vietnam War, the bombing of...
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