The Punishment Imperative, a book based on the transition from a time when punishment was thought to be necessarily harsh to a time where reform in the prion system is needed, explains the reasons why the grand social experiment of severe punishment did not work. The authors of the book, Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost, strongly argue that the previous mindset of harsh punishment has been replaced due to political shifts, firsthand evidence, and spending issues within the government. Clear and Frost successfully assert their argument throughout the book using quantitative and qualitative information spanning from government policies to the reintegration of previous convicts into society. The strategy Clear and Frost mainly use throughout …show more content…
Increased tensions during the 1960s in the context of the Civil Rights Movement started to cause an increase in crime, sparking a newfound belief in incarcerating the masses to prevent more crime from occurring. During the 1970s, the likelihood of being incarcerated increased for nearly every citizen, especially low-level offenders. Clear and Frost thoroughly explain that the Punishment Imperative in the 1980s was caused by changes in government “policies and practices associated with the increasingly ubiquitous War on Drugs” (31). Changes in sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimum sentences, and three strikes legislation were though to be initially helpful in decreasing the rate of incarceration, but they proved to do the exact opposite. Policies also regarding reentry into society, access to education, public housing, and child custody for ex-convicts continued to play a major role in the increase in incarceration because newly released convicts had an extremely difficult time reintegrating into society. Clear and Frost continue to argue their point as they reach incapacitation in the 1990s, where they discuss how the government focused generally on increasing the lengths of stay within prisons instead of increasing the amount of people being incarcerated. Clear and Frost use quantitative data to explain the government policy called …show more content…
They explain three agendas that they believe will work in fixing the problem of mass incarceration, brought about by the Punishment Imperative. The first solution they offer is to make changes to minimum sentencing, especially for drugs, and to create structured sentencing systems to guide judicial discretion. The next agenda is to reduce the length of stay in prisons through parole, early release, and changes in sentencing strategies. The final agenda that Clear and Frost provide is to reduce recidivism by attempting to make it easier for released convicts to reintegrate into society. This is an effective way of supporting their argument because they are proving that the Punishment Imperative was ineffective and that their solutions will reverse the consequences brought about by
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Starting in 1970s, there has been an upward adjustment to sentencing making punishment more punitive and sentencing guidelines more strict. Martinson's (1974) meta-analyzies reviewed over 200 studies and concluded that nothing works in terms of rehabilitating prisoners. Rehabilitating efforts were discontinued. The War on Drugs campaign in 1970s incarcerated thousands of non-violent drug offenders into the system. In 1865, 34.3% of prison population were imprisoned for drug violation. By 1995, the percentage grew to 59.9% (figure 4.1, 104). Legislation policies like the Third Strikes laws of 1994 have further the severity of sentencing. The shift from rehabilitation to human warehouse marks the end of an era of trying to reform individuals and the beginnings of locking inmates without preparation of their release. Along with the reform in the 1970s, prosecutors are given more discretion at the expense of judges. Prosecutors are often pressure to be tough on crime by the socie...
What would the criminal justice system be without punishment? Perhaps, the criminal justice system would not serve a function or cease to exist. Punishment is one of the main facets of the criminal justice system. It holds such significance that it even reflects the beliefs and values of a particular society. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) once said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” (Pollock, 2010: 315). Punishment has been around since the beginning of civilization. With its rich history, the concept of punishment has been analyzed by some of the most renowned theorists, some of which include Jeremy Bentham, Cesare Beccaria, Adolphe Quetelet and André-Michel Guerry (Pollock, 2010: 318). Once found guilty of an offense the type of punishment must be determined. There are many different rationales used to answer why it is necessary to inflict punishment. Rationales for punishment include retribution, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. To better understand these rationales ethical systems such as utilitarianism, ethical formalism and ethics of care can be used. The general public should be knowledgeable about punishment, even more so should professionals in the criminal justice field because they are directly linked to it in some way.
Mass incarceration has caused the prison’s populations to increase dramatically. The reason for this increase in population is because of the sentencing policies that put a lot of men and women in prison for an unjust amount of time. The prison population has be caused by periods of high crime rates, by the medias assembly line approach to the production of news stories that bend the truth of the crimes, and by political figures preying on citizens fear. For example, this fear can be seen in “Richard Nixon’s famous campaign call for “law and order” spoke to those fears, hostilities, and racist underpinnings” (Mauer pg. 52). This causes law enforcement to focus on crimes that involve violent crimes/offenders. Such as, gang members, drive by shootings, drug dealers, and serial killers. Instead of our law agencies focusing their attention on the fundamental causes of crime. Such as, why these crimes are committed, the family, and preventive services. These agencies choose to fight crime by establishing a “War On Drugs” and with “Get Tough” sentencing policies. These policies include “three strikes laws, mandatory minimum sentences, and juvenile waives laws which allows kids to be trialed as adults.
Though there are previous cases of imprisonment not curing offending, I believe there is room for the prisons to adapt to the changes in society. The actual idea of imprisonment curing offending is possible, but I feel that ‘cure’ is too strong a word for the rehabilitative nature of the treatment an offender receives. The foundation of prison life has changed from focusing purely on punishment to more rehabilitative functions. Instead of using an “iron fist” ideology, prisons need to be about reformation and changing of wrongdoing. Funding has changed from educational programs to focus on more rehabilitative programs. Education will always be important, but adjusting to life after prison is just as important for the offender. I believe that if imprisonment were to cure offending, then effective forms of treatment need to be available to the offenders. Rehabilitative programming that has a background of being effective should be placed as a baseline in all prisons. From the groundwork on rehabilitative programs, better programs can be formed just like the Good Lives model was created from the Risk-Need-Responsivity model. The prison system has to equally enforce punishment while also encouraging restructuring of the individual. Imprisonment can dissuade offending, but it will take more research and programs for it to fully cure
Today, half of state prisoners are serving time for nonviolent crimes. Over half of federal prisoners are serving time for drug crimes. Mass incarceration seems to be extremely expensive and a waste of money. It is believed to be a massive failure. Increased punishments and jailing have been declining in effectiveness for more than thirty years. Violent crime rates fell by more than fifty percent between 1991 and 2013, while property crime declined by forty-six percent, according to FBI statistics. Yet between 1990 and 2009, the prison population in the U.S. more than doubled, jumping from 771,243 to over 1.6 million (Nadia Prupis, 2015). While jailing may have at first had a positive result on the crime rate, it has reached a point of being less and less worth all the effort. Income growth and an aging population each had a greater effect on the decline in national crime rates than jailing. Mass incarceration and tough-on-crime policies have had huge social and money-related consequences--from its eighty billion dollars per-year price tag to its many societal costs, including an increased risk of recidivism due to barbarous conditions in prison and a lack of after-release reintegration opportunities. The government needs to rethink their strategy and their policies that are bad
According to the Oxford Index, “whether called mass incarceration, mass imprisonment, the prison boom, or hyper incarceration, this phenomenon refers to the current American experiment in incarceration, which is defined by comparatively and historically extreme rates of imprisonment and by the concentration of imprisonment among young, African American men living in neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage.” It should be noted that there is much ambiguity in the scholarly definition of the newly controversial social welfare issue as well as a specific determination in regards to the causes and consequences to American society. While some pro arguments cry act as a crime prevention technique, especially in the scope of the “war on drugs’.
In the 1980s, the United States started a campaign to reduce to the use and sale of illegal drugs and this increased the numbers of those arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. William J. Stuntz (2013) argues, “mandatory minimum sentences, longer sentences for nonviolent first-time offenders, and “three strikes” laws mandating increased penalties for repeat offenders have all contributed to this increase” (p.380). Also, the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 abolished parole for federal inmates and modified how much time inmates could earn for good behavior. Inmates incarcerated after November 1, 1987 are not eligible for parole. These practices lead to limited abilities to reduce our prison population numbers. The type of drug offenses range from misdemeanor offenses of being under the influence of illicit drugs to felony offenses such as possession/transportation or sale of illicit drugs. The prisons become overpopulated with more nonviolent offenders with the current laws.
Criminal punishments are ideally set in place to maintain social order. While it is designed to maintain the social order, there is no single vision of who should actually be punished, how the punishments should be given, or the goals of the punishment. Society has always had the challenge of dealing with crime and violence. The world can be viewed as a violent place to live in. Violence is all around us. In today’s society, all a person has to do is turn on their televisions and are able to see the latest murder story for the day. Punishment can be seen in the form of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, or
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).
The Criminal Justice system was established to achieve justice. Incarceration and rehabilitation are two operations our government practices to achieve justice over criminal behavior. Incarceration is the punishment for infraction of the law and in result being confined in prison. It is more popular than rehabilitation because it associates with a desire for retribution. However, retribution is different than punishment. Rehabilitation, on the other hand is the act of restoring the destruction caused by a crime rather than simply punishing offenders. This may be the least popular out of the two and seen as “soft on crime” however it is the only way to heal ruptured communities and obtain justice instead of punishing and dispatching criminals
Prisons are the first and the most effective punishment. It removes the liberty of offenders, forcing them to comply with a structured, disciplined and tough regime where everyday choices usually taken for granted are removed. But along with this punishment we must also give offenders the chance to reform and change their behavior. Offenders must take responsibility for their behavior and take the ...
“The history of correctional thought and practice has been marked by enthusiasm for new approaches, disillusionment with these approaches, and then substitution of yet other tactics”(Clear 59). During the mid 1900s, many changes came about for the system of corrections in America. Once a new idea goes sour, a new one replaces it. Prisons shifted their focus from the punishment of offenders to the rehabilitation of offenders, then to the reentry into society, and back to incarceration. As times and the needs of the criminal justice system changed, new prison models were organized in hopes of lowering the crime rates in America. The three major models of prisons that were developed were the medical, model, the community model, and the crime control model.
Punishing the unlawful, undesirable and deviant members of society is an aspect of criminal justice that has experienced a variety of transformations throughout history. Although the concept of retribution has remained a constant (the idea that the law breaker must somehow pay his/her debt to society), the methods used to enforce and achieve that retribution has changed a great deal. The growth and development of society along with an underlying, perpetual fear of crime are heavily linked to the use of vastly different forms of punishment that have ranged from public executions, forced labor, penal welfarism and popular punitivism over the course of only a few hundred years.
This paper explores six basic principles of effective punishment in which are most relevant for consideration when using procedures that may function as punishment to change any child's given behavior and if these factors influence whether a given contingency functions as a punisher.
Incarceration has not always been the main form of “punishment” when it comes to doing an injustice to society. In fact, in the early 1600’s common forms of punishments for doing wrong in society included social rejection, corporal punishment, forced labor etc. (“Prison History.”). It had not been until the 18th century where it had been determined that incarceration could actually be a form of punishment correlating with a set amount of time in which an individual had to serve dependent on the severity of his actions. The logic behind incarceration is to restrict a person of his liberty as retribution for the crime he has committed (Prison History.”) Prisons that were created in the 18th century gained their recognition because of their high goals in perfecting society. But, the truth is as people were focusing on perfecting society prisons soon became overcrowded, dirty, and most of all dangerous. By the late 19th century many more people had become aware of the poor prison conditions which had led to a “reformatory” movement. The reformatory movement was put into place as a means of rehabilitation for inmates (“Prison History.”) Prisons would now offer programs to reform inmates into model citizens by offering counseling, education, and opportunities to gain skills needed for working in a civilian world. However, with the growing amount of inmates each year prisons are still becoming overcrowded. Because prisons are so overcrowded there are not enough resources being spent on achieving the rehabilitation of inmates and reintegrating them into society in order for them to survive in the civilian world once released from prison (“Prison History.”)