The Correctional Theory Essay

This document is examines the correctional theory and performance in criminal corrections towards the involvement of journalism. A combined understanding, knowledge, and approach of educational are focused on important strategy and issues that is challenged through current corrections. Additionally, the reader will observe the theory along with performances of correctional behaviors that ranges from directing offenders within society, issues in which is challenged inside assisting with the general troubles of crime.

As a result, significant issues are challenged by individuals involved in the correctional enterprise are raised, and alternative ways of dealing with these problems are debated. What are the competing theories of corrections prevalent in today’s system? Different authors name different theories. Some refer to the goals of punishment as the theories: Retribution, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Social Protection, while others refer to the philosophies behind these goals of punishment: utilitarian, retributive, and denunciation theories.

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Presently, the U. S. conception of punishment is a combination of the utilitarian, retributive, and denunciation theories. However, the most widely accepted rationale for punishment in the United States is retribution. This is seen in the rationale for a conviction, as the sentence a defendant receives is always, at least in part, a form of retribution. However, a sentence may combine utilitarian principles with retribution.

For instance, an offender sentenced to prison for several years satisfy the public’s desire for vengeance, while simultaneously, have educational programs inside the prison that reflects the utilitarian goal of rehabilitation (Punishment – Theories Of Punishment, http://law. jrank. org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT. html). These theories use a combination of goals for punishment: Retribution, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Social Protection and Social Humiliation. How are the goals of these punishment or rehabilitative strategies different?

Utilitarian has the goals of both deterrence and rehabilitation. The utilitarian theory is “consequentialist” in nature. It recognizes that punishment has consequences for both the offender and society and holds that the total good produced by the punishment should exceed the total evil. In other words, punishment should not be unlimited. One illustration of consequentialism in punishment is the release of a prison inmate suffering from a debilitating illness. If the prisoner’s death is imminent, society is not served by his continued confinement because he is no longer capable of committing crimes.

Specific deterrence means that the punishment should prevent the same person from committing crimes. Specific deterrence works in two ways. First, an offender may be put in jail or prison to physically prevent her from committing another crime for a specified period. Second, this incapacitation is designed to be so unpleasant that it will discourage the offender from repeating her criminal behaviour. Rehabilitation is another utilitarian rationale for punishment, mainly to prevent future crime by giving offenders the ability to succeed within the confines of the law.

Rehabilitative measures for criminal offenders usually include treatment for afflictions such as mental illness, chemical dependency, and chronic violent behaviour. Rehabilitation also includes the use of educational programs that give offenders the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the job market (http://law. jrank. org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT. html). In contrast, retribution as a goal of punishment is an act of moral vengeance by which society makes the offender suffers as much as the suffering caused by the crime.

The counterpart to the utilitarian theory of punishment is the retributive theory. Under this theory, offenders are punished for criminal behaviour because they deserve punishment. Criminal behaviour upsets the peaceful balance of society, and punishment helps to restore the balance. The retributive theory focuses on the crime itself as the reason for imposing punishment. Where the utilitarian theory looks forward by basing punishment on social benefits, the retributive theory looks backward at the transgression as the basis for punishment (Markesinis, 2007).

Retribution dates back to biblical days as seen in the phrase: “an eye for an eye.? Criminal behaviour was seen as an offense against both society and God. Crime was seen as upsetting the natural order of the world as a whole. Thus, the punishment should echo the harshness of the crime (aka: “just desert” theory). The retributive theory focuses on the crime itself as the reason for imposing punishment. Since the offender has free will, a person who makes a conscious choice to upset the balance of society should be punished.

However, a person who is not mentally competent should not be punished. The problem with this belief is that is does nothing to make the offender a better member of society; nonetheless, this theory is still popular today  (http://www. springerlink. com/content/r48676483585859k/). Under the denunciation theory, punishment should be an expression of societal condemnation. The denunciation theory is a mixture of UTILITARIANISM and retribution. It is utilitarian because the prospect of being publicly denounced serves as a deterrent.

Denunciation is likewise retributive because it promotes the idea that offenders deserve to be punished (http://law. jrank. org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT. html). In sum, the three theories use several goals for punishment, such as goal of deterrence that attempts to discourage criminality through the use of punishment. On the other hand, rehabilitation as a goal of punishment used by the utilitarian theory is to rehabilitate the offended through creating a program for reforming the offender to prevent later offenses.

Another rationale for punishment is deterrence came about in the eighteenth century when society deemed that anyone capable of rational though would clearly not commit a crime if they knew that the punishment for said crime would outweigh any of the benefits of committing said crime. In other words they would not be dumb enough to commit a crime when they knew that they would get in to way more trouble than it was worth to commit the crime. Deterrence was meant to stave off harsher punishments such as death in hopes the imprisonment would scare them off from committing the crime in the first place (Macionis, 2006).

Also, social protection is used by the three theories as a rationale for punishment, which resulted from an attempt to protect society from violent criminals. However, the end result has been an increased in the number of offenders being incarcerated in the United States today. In fact, more than 2 million inmates are in the prison facilities resulting from the tougher laws and sanctions being enforced today. Citizens do not want these criminals on the streets and belief that the only option is to put them in prison (Macionis, 2006). Is there data to support one particular approach over another?

There is statistics and research suggesting that the War on crime has not worked that uses mostly retributive strategies, like prison, which is based on the rates of recidivism as a measure (see statistics below – see other statistics on-line at http://www. ojp. gov/bjs/welcome. html). Justifications for punishment such as retribution, deterrence and social protection do not rehabilitate offenders to help them become effective members of society; thereby reducing the effects of rehabilitation, even when combined with harsh retributive strategies.

However, the latter is better than no rehabilitation strategies. United States legal system demonstrates its observance to utilitarian models in the making of systems such as pre-trial diversion programs, PROBATION, and PAROLE. These systems seek to limit punishment to the extent necessary to protect society. The utilitarian philosophy is also reflected in the giving of different punishments for different crimes and the idea that the amount of punishment a convicted criminal receives should be in proportion to the harm caused by the crime. For example, murder demands imprisonment or even the death penalty.

However, a simple ASSAULT AND BATTERY with no serious injuries is usually punished with a short jail sentence or probation and a fine (http://law. jrank. org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT. html). In the courts, judges generally can has the discretion to approach punishment according to the needs of both society and the defendant (utilitarian tenets). However, judicial discretion in sentencing is limited. In some cases statutes, for example, judges are required to impose mandatory minimum prison sentences as punishment, and these laws reflect the retributive theory (http://law. rank. org/pages/9576/Punishment-THEORIES-PUNISHMENT. html). Write about at least two non-traditional correctional approaches and address the goal of each. Recently, Restorative justice has received extensive attention. Briefly, restorative justice sees crime as producing harm, which must be repaired. Its goal is to attempt to provide a balance among the needs of the victim, offender and community, each of which is involved in an active way in the justice process (Bazemore & Umbreit, 1999 http://www. bsos. umd. edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpages/reviews/strickland205. htm)).

Strickland (2004) discusses the “three faces? of restorative justice that are used as a correctional tool:  retributive accountability, rehabilitative healing, and deterrent crime prevention (p. 111, http://www. bsos. umd. edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpages/reviews/strickland205. htm). ; Based on the theory of restorative justice, some non-traditional correctional approaches include victim-offender mediation, community decision-making, restorative community service, restitution, and victim and community impact statements (Bazemore & Umbreit, 1999) and healing circles.

Theoretically, these activities are seen to promote accountability, competency and public safety in non-traditional ways. For example, questions regarding who is guilty, what law was broken, and what punishment should be imposed are replaced in the restorative model with questions such as, what harm has resulted from the crime, how can harm be repaired, and who is responsible for the repair (Bazemore & Umbreit 1999, http://www. bsos. umd. edu/gvpt/lpbr/subpages/reviews/strickland205. htm) Drug courts might also be a non-traditional correctional approach to consider here.

Rehabilitation goals of punishment might also be consider non-traditional, such as drug courts, boot camps, reformatories or houses of corrections. In other words, criminal behaviour that was learned could also be unlearned and the offender could be ‘taught? to confirm to acceptable societal norms. Reforming the criminal was a goal in reformatories and houses of corrections. Initially even probation or parole was considered non-traditional to imprisonments. Other offenders were sentenced to probation reporting to a probation officer and following certain rules to avoid incarceration.

Others were sent to military style ‘boot camps? thinking hard work and military style discipline would reform these throw-outs of society. On the other hand, the social protection goal is to render an offender incapable of further offenses temporarily by imprisonment or permanently by execution (Macionis, 2006). Do you think this approach is effective? According to many researchers, rehabilitation is the most valuable theoretical justification for punishment, for it promotes the humanizing belief that offenders can be saved and not simply punished.

According to the rehabilitative theory, the state has an obligation to help those who fall short of the standards of behaviour it has set. Often these offenders are those with the greatest social disadvantages basically assigning them to a life in crime. On the other hand, the just-desert (retributive) theory views punishment as an end in itself; punishment for punishment’s sake. These ideals have “no place in any enlightened society? (Tan, 1969, 2008, http://www. idebate. org/debatabase/topic_details. php? topicID=307). On the other hand,? the rehabilitative model does not ignore society or the victim.

In fact it is because it places such great value on their rights that it tries so hard to change the offender and prevent her or his reoffending. By seeking to reducing reoffending and to reduce crime, it seeks constructively to promote society’s right to safety and to protect individuals from the victimization of crime? (Tan, 1969, 2008, http://www. idebate. org/debatabase/topic_details. php? topicID=307) Drug courts have some proof of working as well (see http://www. unodc. org/pdf/drug_treatment_courts_flyer. pdf). Are some of these approaches more cost-effective than conventional incarceration?

Incarnation is the most costly, and according to one report: “More than one in 100 adult Americans are in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year, in addition to more than $5 billion spent by the federal government, according to a report released Thursday. With more than 2. 3 million people behind bars at the start of 2008, the United States leads the world in both the number and the percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving even far more populous China a distant second, noted the report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States (Washington Post, February 29, 2008, see http://www. enverpost. com/ci_8400051). However, probation, parole and drug courts are least costly, as it does not need to cover the living costs of offenders. Indeed, strategies that are rehabilitative in the community setting are least expensive, and over the long term also reduce recidivism, which is a great savings, as recent research demonstrates a reduction in recidivism (Tan, 1969, 2008 – see http://www. idebate. org/debatabase/topic_details. php? topicID=307). State why you believe so and support your answers with data on rates of recidivism, completion of academic and vocational programs in prison, etc.

The most recent statistics on recidivism (1983 compared to 1994 over the following three years) strongly suggests the retributive goals of punishment is not working based on this measure. Two studies come closest to providing “national” recidivism rates for the United States. One tracked 108,580 State prisoners released from prison in 11 States in 1983. The other tracked 272,111 prisoners released from prison in 15 States in 1994. The prisoners tracked in these studies represent two-thirds of all the prisoners released in the United States for that year. Rearrest within 3 years *67. % of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within 3 years, an increase over the 62. 5% found for those released in 1983 *The rearrest rate for property offenders, drug offenders, and public-order offenders increased significantly from 1983 to 1994. During that time, the rearrest rate increased: – from 68. 1% to 73. 8% for property offenders – from 50. 4% to 66. 7% for drug offenders – from 54. 6% to 62. 2% for public-order offenders – The rearrest rate for violent offenders remained relatively stable (59. 6% in 1983 compared to 61. 7% in 1994). Also, as a measure of success, considered the reconviction within 3 years: Overall, reconviction rates did not change significantly from 1983 to 1994. Among, prisoners released in 1983, 46. 8% were reconvicted within 3 years compared to 46. 9% among those released in 1994. From 1983 to 1994, reconviction rates remained stable for released: – violent offenders (41. 9% and 39. 9%, respectively) – property offenders (53. 0% and 53. 4%) – public-order offenders (41. 5% and 42. 0%) – Among drug offenders, the rate of reconviction increased significantly, going from 35. 3% in 1983 to 47. 0% in 1994. (http://www. ojp. gov/bjs/reentry/recidivism. htm) In comparison, does rehabilitation actually work?

The most recent studies show that rehabilitative programs do work. Such programs include cognitive-behavioural programs (say, trying to get a violent offender to think and react differently to potential ‘trigger? situations), pro-social modelling programs, and some sex-offender treatment programs. The most credible research (done by a technique called meta-analysis) demonstrates that the net effect of treatment is, on average, a positive reduction of overall recidivism (reoffending) rates of between 10% and 12%, which would promote a reduction in crime that is, by penological standards, massive Tan, 1969, 2008 – see full article available on-line at http://www. idebate. org/debatabase/topic_details. php? topicID=307). References Macionis, J. J. , (2006). Deviance. Society the Basics (8th ed. ) New York: Prentice-Hall. As Glenn C. Loury(2007) says in her article Race and the transformation of criminal justice , Why are so many Americans in Prison, Boston Review


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