United States Correctional System The United States correctional system is put in place for the time after a conviction to punish the convicted as well as get them ready to reenter society as a productive member. Unfortunately, Langan and Levin (2002), statisticians with the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 67.5% of prisoners released from prison are arrested again within three years time. Obviously, there is some sort of breakdown in the correction area of the criminal justice matrix.
Firstly, one main, effective method used by correctional facilities today is rehabilitation. Prisons aim of rehabilitation is to create productive law-abiding citizens through social and moral improvement. (Holt v. Sarver) An examination conducted by California Youth Authority researcher, Ted Palmer, in 1975, noted that after further inspection of data collected by Robert Martinson, rehabilitation results were partially positive. (Cei 2) Robert Martinson stated “Nothing Works” in regards to rehabilitating inmates. Palmer concluded that in Martinson’s research 39 or 48% of programs in the study were at least partially positive. (Cei) In 1978, Palmer continued on with his research on the positives of rehab and concluded that many programs do work. Palmer noted that we must not look at inmate as a whole but as individuals. He continued on to say, we must figure out what programs works for which type of offender, in a certain setting to gain increasingly positive results. (Cei) Furthermore, researchers Francis Cullen and Paul Gendreau expanded on the belief that rehabilitation programs work. After conducting 200 studies from ...
Rehabilitation is firmly entrenched in the history of corrections in the United States. Penitentiaries, for example were formed in 1820 with the belief that offenders could be morally reformed (Cullen, & Jonson, 2012, pp. 27-28). In 1870). The National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline documented the merits of rehabilitation (Wines, 1871, p. 457). However, by the end of the 1960s, the United States had experienced several years of discontent within its prison systems which resulted in a national call for prison reform and the development of a disillusionment with rehabilitation (Martinson, 1974, p. 22). In 1966, Robert Martinson was hired to evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation, the result of which was his infamous “What Works?” paper, in which he posits that empirical evidence does not support rehabilitation (p. 23). By the mid-1970s, correctional policy shifted from one emphasizing rehabilitation to one emphasizing just desserts/retribution, deterrence and incapacitation (Cullen, & Jonson, 2012, p. 22). The result of these “get-tough” policies, which sought to control crime through strict laws and lengthy sentences, was unprecedented growth in our custodial population, which we can no longer support, either financially or spatially (p. 1).
Secondly, the way society sees criminals is wrong. They become “social pariahs” and are treated as sub-humans. This behavior isolates criminals and makes them not care about changing their behavior. Society as a whole must change in order for criminals to be helped. If society cannot change, then neither can the inmates.
Although it may not seem like a major problem to most people in the United States, prisons are becoming overcrowded, expensive to maintain and have little to no effect on the moral discipline of inmates. The current prison system is extremely inefficient and the purpose of prisons has been completely forgotten. According to Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the primary purpose of prisons is to punish, to protect, and to rehabilitate. Not only is there an increase in prisoners, but there is a rise in the number of repeat offenders. Alternatives such as counseling, drug rehabilitation, education, job training and victim restitution must be better enforced and organized. People do not understand the severity of the problem mainly because
Many prominent government officials, government agencies, and non-profit organizations acknowledge that there is a serious problem with our penal system. There are many reasons and many possible solutions. Today, we will explore some possible solutions. Prison inmates are some of the most maladjusted people in society. Most inmates have had either too much discipline or not enough. They usually come from broken homes and have low self-esteem. Inmates are very insecure, causing them to be "at war with themselves as well as with society" (Szumski 20). Most inmates have not learned to follow everyday norms or strong moral values. Some believe, as do I, that if we want to rehabilitate criminals we must do more than just lock them up. For instance, we could develop programs ...
When envisioning a prison, one often conceptualizes a grisly scene of hardened rapists and murderers wandering aimlessly down the darkened halls of Alcatraz, as opposed to a pleasant facility catering to the needs of troubled souls. Prisons have long been a source of punishment for inmates in America and the debate continues as to whether or not an overhaul of the US prison system should occur. Such an overhaul would readjust the focuses of prison to rehabilitation and incarceration of inmates instead of the current focuses of punishment and incarceration. Altering the goal of the entire state and federal prison system for the purpose of rehabilitation is an unrealistic objective, however. Rehabilitation should not be the main purpose of prison because there are outlying factors that negatively affect the success of rehabilitation programs and such programs would be too costly for prisons currently struggling to accommodate additional inmate needs.
So, along with incapacitation and punishment is deterrence and rehabilitation. The idea of rehabilitation through imprisonment is that a person who has been incarcerated will never be sent back to prison after they have been sent free. Unfortunately, research has consistently shown that time spent in prison does not successfully rehabilitate most inmates, and the majority of criminals return to a life of crime almost immediately (Rehabilitative Effects of Imprisonment). Prisons are now beginning to hire psychiatrists to assist with the criminal’s disorders and psychological problems. Along with the psychiatrists, prisons are creating classrooms for prisoners to educate themselves while in prison. The rehabilitation of prisoners is an extremely difficult process. Teaching people useful skills requires manpower and space (Stuffed). Inmates are set apart from the general public and forced to live in a society with people who know crime as a way of life. It is good to see that some prisons in the United States are trying to educate the inmates, but it is ultimately not paying
Imagine having 10 students fail an exam in a class of 15 people. If over half of the students don’t grasp the content than the root of the issue must be on the way they are being taught. If this was the case the teacher will probably have to take a different approach on the way he/she is teaching in order to ensure the success of all students and not just a few of them. If the educational system fails students, then hope of a better future is very unlikely. Likewise, when the system fails to guide prisoners on the right path, they are not only failing inmates individually, but they are also failing society.
This quote from Dave Kelly shows many of the issues with the United State’s criminal justice system today. The prison population is increasing because prisoners are being taken in at a higher rate than they are released. Also these prisons have become dangerous; inmates are exposed to a great deal of violence inside prison walls. These problems do not result from stingy spending on the prisons, which can be seen from the billions of dollars that are thrown at prisons to keep U.S. citizens locked up. This dangerous and inefficient system must be reformed for the benefit of U.S. citizens that are involved in them whether through paying taxes or being in these prisons. Although the fear of punishment deters crime, United States criminal justice systems should focus on rehabilitation.