Punishment vs. Rehabilitation Essay

Abstract In this paper you will read about the steady debate between the punishment model and rehabilitation model. You will be able to understand each model’s side and derive your personal option of which model would work best for our country. Punishment vs. Rehabilitation Deciding methods of fixing bad behavior has been a discussion since the beginning of time. Parents have debated the subject to the point that professionals such as psychologist have been asked to be involved in the discussion.

Many parents would often tell their children war stories of how their parents beat them with switches or belts. Today, however, this behavior is not acceptable and if social workers are called to a family’s residence and this behavior is discovered, the parents will probably lose their children and do jail time. There are two types of correctional methods that are often used, punishment and rehabilitation. Punishment is defined as a penalty that is imposed on an individual for doing something wrong.

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The term rehabilitation is defined as a way to help somebody to return to good health or a normal life by providing training or therapy. In this paper we will discuss the following topics, deterrence of crime, effect on victims and their families, effect on the offenders, social effect on society, and fiscal effect on society. Deterrence of Crime Many question if the punishment model really deter prisoners from wanting to go back to prison. Deterrence is supposed to prevent offenders from ever wanting to go back to jail.

The punishment model only gives the prisoner two options, either they stay in jail for life or they get the death penalty, and because of this they have about 63% of inmates returning back to prison. When you compare this to rehabilitation model you find inmates truly learning and getting the skills they need to be outstanding citizens and stay out of the criminal systems. Unlike the punishment model it gives inmates something to work for and a chance to change their own lives. Some rehabilitation programs have has less than 10% of their inmates return to their program.

Victims and their Families For many years the victims and their families were not included in the process of sentencing and knowing the details of their offenders. It wasn’t until 2004 when President Bush signed The Crime Victims’ Rights Act, this act opened the door of victims to be heard in the court room and they could not be excluded from any proceedings. When you consider the victims in the punishment model there is little to no closure for the victim, when the defendant is sentence to life in prison or the death chair.

It might be asked why isn’t this closure for the victim? Well if the defendant is sentence to life in jail, they our given three meals a day, and a snack. They get a warm bed time to lay in, play time in the yard and cable TV, while the person that they victimize is paying for them to live a life of comfort. Even if the defendant is sentence to death they can appeal the case up until their execution date, and all that money spent for appeals comes out of the victims or their families taxes.

How can the punishment model justify this? They haven’t, but the rehabilitation model has made great efforts to comfort the victim and their families. There are several programs that give the victims and their families a chance to talk with their offenders and find some type of closure. One program is called VORP, Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program. This program lets the victim come face to face with their offender and vent, with the help of a trained mediator and a community volunteer.

VORP helps the offender see how their crime has impacted the victim and their families, helping them take ownership of their crime. VORP also helps get restitution for the victim, it could be money or an act of community services their goal is to help the victim get justices. In 1996 a young man from Dayton, Ohio was shot in the back of his head by his suppose to be best friend, it was reported that earlier that day the victim defended his younger sister when his best friend made a pass at her.

The victim reportedly got in the defendants face and told him he better not ever try to come on to his younger sister again, this was done in front of a crowd of people so the defendant was embarrasses and reportedly said he would get revenge. The victim’s body was found early on a Sunday morning and the defendant turned himself in that Monday morning, after pleading guilty to his friend’s death he wrote a letter to the victims parents apologizing for his actions. Effect on the Offender

Several studies have shown that the punishment model does not help the offender, they are placed in the prison world with a determinant or inderminate sentence, pulled away from their family and society as they have known it. The punishment model has shown to cause depression in the inmates because they are isolated from their families and feel alone. (www. thebody. com) On the other hand rehabilitation has found that inmates learn how to improve their lives by joining drug treatments, getting their GED or a vocational trade because rehabilitation program goal is to get the inmate back active in society and stay out of the criminal systems.

Inmates who are involved in this type of program are more likely to not return to prison and our able to be home with their families and make a better life for themselves. ocial effect on society Our society says that they believe the “just dessert”, or an eye for an eye. If this was true they wouldn’t only push the punishment model but there would be no need for rehabilitation, “just dessert” says that you get what you deserve, but this is not the case.

When a defendant is sentence to death penalty it can take years for it to be cared, all the while society is complaining out overcrowding and the monies spent to keep the inmate in prison. So that should make the average person think maybe our so society does not believe in the punishment model. A childhood friend has been in and out of the criminal system since the tender age of nine, what started out as small detentions and suspensions from school turn in to his own mother turning him into the police every chance she got.

Even today this young man struggles with getting on the right path and staying there, how is it possible that a young man that had the same opportunities as everyone else turn out to be a repeat offender. This is a perfect example of how the punishment system is failing young Americans. On the other hand you have a young adult who made a bad decision, got caught, and was sent to prison, Now this same individual is the top bondsman for the Midwest, he was offered a chance to change while in prison and he chose to be rehabilitated.

If given the same opportunity how many more inmates would take the high road and choose a better way. Fiscal effect on society The punishment model is the most expensive way to house inmates, if an inmate is sentence to life in prison it cost tax payers an average of 30,000 a year per inmate. Since there is close to two million people in prison that amount totals close to six billion dollars a year to house inmates. If you think those numbers are absurd, you will be blown away that it cost close to 10 billion if the inmate is on death role. http://deathpenaltyinfo. org) How can criminologist justify such a model, there is way too much money being spent to house these criminal and something needs to be done about it. This could be why criminologist is leaning toward the rehabilitation model. Rehabilitation averages about 750 million a year for the United States as a whole, and because they truly strive to lower the number of repeat offenders most find it is worth the money.

In conclusion, the debate between punishment and rehabilitation may go on for another hundred years, but the facts don’t lie. Criminologist must take a closer look at how these two models our affecting the inmates as well as our society. They must revisit and do more studies to find out which one of these model truly deter prisoners from returning to the criminal system, they must take the time to talk with and work with the victims and their families so that the end of the day they have peace of mind.

They need to deal with the inmates problems and help the deal with their pass so that they can have a better future, and stay out of the criminal system. Criminologist must find away to cut back on the monies spent to house these inmates and true invest the time need to get them rehabilitated or make sure that if they are on death role it happens sooner than later. References http://www. datelinecarolina. org/Global/story www. thebody. com http://deathpenaltyinfo. org


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