Rehabilitation : A Secondary Goal Of Incarceration Essay

Rehabilitation : A Secondary Goal Of Incarceration Essay

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Rehabilitation has been described as a secondary goal of incarceration. The concept of rehabilitation was not adapted until the 1870s as delegates in Cincinnati encouraged the reformation of prisoners. Rehabilitation remained a primary goal of incarceration for nearly one hundred years, until the 1970s. It was then that Americans began to reject the notion of rehabilitation. With a shift away from rehabilitation, Americans adopted punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation as the primary goals of imprisonment. It can be argued that there was a shift away from rehabilitation due to high recidivism rates; however, it becomes questionable whether or not offenders were continuing to commit crime because they were not given adequate support and resources while they were incarcerated. It is important to consider that the 1970s was an era of economic struggle in the United States. Also, the argument can also be made that rehabilitation was rejected due to the belief that prisoners should not receive and have access to more programs and services than honorable citizens. Meaning, that because criminals are individuals who have broken the law that they should have limited access to freedom and benefits that society has to offer. However, a stronger emphasis needs to be placed on reforming prisoners to be model citizens and providing them with adequate resources to do so, instead of solely viewing them in terms of economics.
Another goal, perhaps one of the most obvious, of imprisonment is incapacitation. Immobilizing offenders allows for the protection of society. Those in favor of incapacitation argue that it is necessary to remove criminals from the streets. Imprisonment as a form of capacitation is widely recognized but lawmakers and ...


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...cism and economic greed has been embedded into prison functioning. In order to reduce recidivism rates there needs to be more of a focus on decreasing crime and the rates of incarceration by focusing more heavily on resources and services that benefit the offenders. By investing in the offenders themselves, this will allow them to develop beneficial skills and become educated, so that when they are released they will be much more likely to be model citizens. It has become clear that criminal activity is not caused by the individual and that social factors play a much larger role, especially the state of the economy. Tougher sanctions and longer sentences will only continue to increase incarceration rates and will continue to displace those who are marginalized. It will not reform offenders and it certainly will not decrease the likelihood of recidivism upon release.

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