In 1974 Robert Martinson published a thesis based on the meta-analysis of two hundred and thirty one (231) studies conducted by various researchers between 1945 and 1967 in the United States of America. His research was to look at the effectiveness of the rehabilitation system in reforming prisoners. In what is known as the “Nothing works” term, Martinson concluded that “with few and isolated exception, the rehabilitation efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism” (Martinson, 1974, p.25). Martinson therefore concluded that the rehabilitation programme has no correlation on recidivism.
According to Farabee (2005, p.16) the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America in their studies also drew negative conclusions concerning the effectiveness of the offender rehabilitation programmes in reducing recidivism. McCold and Watchel (2002) similarly dismisses the idea of rehabilitation programme as an inefficient mechanism of ensuring crime control. However, in clarifying Martinson’s work on rehabilitation Lewis (2006) said that Martinson did not refute the ineffectiveness of the programme but rather the research designs used in such studies are too weak to come to a definite generalization that rehabilitation programmes do actually work. Boufa...
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... punishment cannot be discussed without reference to the theory of rehabilitation”. To elaborate on this it means that both theories counter run to each other and what purpose would it serve if offenders are only imprisoned and punished without not helping or making them turn on new life before their release. Laying emphasis MacCormick (1950) states “that punishment as retribution belongs to a penal philosophy that is archaic and discredited by history” and hence does not have any function in this nowadays criminal justice system. According to Cullen (2005), twelve scholars rejected the “nothing works” doctrine that was propounded by Robert Martinson and rather used scientific methods to show that punitive measures of reforming offenders were ineffective and that treatment that was based on rehabilitation programmes were capable of meaningfully reducing recidivism.
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