Prisons and Jails

The government has imposed punishment as a means to control crime. There are four key justifications for punishing criminals: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation (Seiter, R. P. , 2005). These four justifications serve as the goals of the United States correctional system. The other side of retribution can be simply stated that when an offender commits a crime, he must be punished for his actions. Retribution serves as a means to keep the general public safe. (Seiter, R. P. , 2005).

In so many ways offenders are punished due to the crimes they commit, you are locked up in a cell and you stay there until you go in front of the judge and receive a sentence if found guilty. Now there are fines you must pay for certain crimes, community service is another consequence for a crime you have committed. No matter what the crime you will have to suffer the consequences for them. Incarceration is the most common example of punishment in the correctional system, but the death penalty and lesser penalties such as probation are also designed to be punitive.

Perhaps the most obvious goals of the correctional system is to punish those who are found guilty of crimes. In theory this is suppose to serve as a deterrent against one repeating criminal activity and as an example to others of why criminal activity should be avoided. It is unclear how well the modern U. S. correctional system achieves these goals and whether the money invested in the correctional system might be better spent. The main question is does punishment deter crime at all? Retribution is an act of moral vengeance which society makes the offender suffer as much as the suffering caused by the crime committed (Macionis, 2006).

People have a choice whether or not to do a crime. How Does Our Correctional System Rehabilitate Offenders? In the early 1900’s rehabilitation had emerged as the primary theory of corrections and shaped every aspect of correctional policy and practice. Then in the 1960’s and 1970’s rehabilitation was attacked for not having evidentiary standing and in the resulting turmoil. Rehabilitation has been shown to help offenders to not re-offend where as the other theories have shown to have little to no effect on the reoccurring crime rate and some in fact have been shown to have the opposite effect in increasing the reoccurring crime rate.

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On any given day there are more than seven million Americans under the supervision of the correctional system which includes approximately 1. 5 million inmates incarceratedin jail, 4. 2 million on probation and over 828,000 on parole according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The statistics are staggering considering according to the U. S. Census the United States population is 307,006,550 (U. S. Census 2010). So, that means that approximately for every one hundred people two are incarcerated. Also according to the Disaster Center in 2009 31,916,949 crimes were committed in the United States.

Giving inmates the opportunity to deal with the reason for entering prison and prison life, will promote alternative ways to handle negative behavioral issues (Hagebrook & Zgoba). The added medical and counsel care, in addition to requiring extensive pre-release counseling will help prepare for constructive life outside of prison. Many inmates enter prison with a mental illness and many are unaware of the illness until they are imprisoned (cdcr. ca. gov). It would be very beneficial to treat the illness head on, at that point.

Which Method Is More Effective? I feel that rehabilitation would be a more effective way in reducing crime for these reasons. When an inmate has access to options to help themselves change for the better and re-enter the outside world again, then they are willing to make a difference. Now Therapy is another form of rehabilitation needed to help deter individuals from committing future crimes. Some examples of therapy include drug therapy to those offenders addicted to drugs and psychological counseling to those offenders who grew up in an abusive household.

Rehabilitation can help to solve the problem of overcrowding in most prisons. The criminal population continues growing, as the death penalty has been abolished, and the state would need to spend more on facilities to house criminals. Education is one of the ways in which this positive change was affected. Education works in two levels to successfully rehabilitate the criminal. I do see that in criminal rehabilitation, prisoners are given opportunities to increase their content knowledge base. This is essential as studies show that many inmates do not have basic grade school education.

Is will also impede their success of acquiring jobs, thus many had to turn to a life crime. Rehabilitation also ensures that inmates are socially well adjusted. Psychological assessments are being meted to test for mental or physical disabilities that led to their incarceration in the first place. I personally do know a few ex cons and from what they went through in prison to get help for a better life out here in society was real nice to see, I haven’t seen them even step back to the old ways they had of committing crimes, and I always hear them tell me that they just want to keep their Freedom!

So I do what I can to help them stay on the right track, and if they even think that it will make them happier to back track. I just throw up what they will be missing out on in this world, and how hurt their family members will be without them daily. So with that said I for sure think that Rehabilitation is the best for our convicts these days.

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