CAJ: Introduction to Corrections
The goal of rehabilitation came during the middle of the twentieth century when corrections adopted a medical model, in which crime was believed to be the result of an underlying pathology of offenders that could be diagnosed and treated (Seiter, 2011). Offenders were considered sick and in need of treatment to prepare them to return to the community as productive, law-abiding citizens. Correctional agencies implemented a variety of treatment programs to improve offenders and to provide them with the tools necessary to be successful members of society (Seiter, 2011). The need for rehabilitation of offenders was ...view middle of the document...
However, it is questionable whether the effectiveness of correctional programs should be judged solely by the recidivism rate (Seiter, 2011). No person or program can force offenders to change their behavior or to make good decisions to avoid crime, especially months after they leave the supervision of correctional officials. The situations and environments facing offenders differ from case to case. Even though recidivism may not be the most appropriate measure of the success of rehabilitation programs, it is likely to remain the one most often examined and used (Seiter, 2011). Corrections attempts to rehabilitate offenders in many ways. First, correctional programs are aimed at trying to reduce offenders’ motivation to commit further crimes. Although there are many reasons why people commit crimes, correctional agencies offer psychological counseling to help offenders understand the factors that trigger certain behaviors, anger management and other programs to help offenders recognize dangerous situations in which they may act wrongfully, and sensitivity training to get offenders to understand the impact of their criminal actions on victims and their families (Seiter, 2011). Second, correctional programs try to build competencies in offenders that may help them avoid problems that heighten their likelihood of committing crime. Such programs are designed to help offenders to increase their educational level, develop a vocational skill, or reduce the use of drugs or alcohol (Seiter, 2011). Finally correctional programs may simply have a goal of improving offenders’ decision making. Some correctional programs help offenders improve their decision making skills while considering the values and potential outcomes of their criminal actions. Prisons offer a variety of programs, including education, vocational training, recreation, religious, substance abuse, mental health, work, and a variety of other self-improvement modalities. These programs are valued, not only because they improve the offender, but also because they have been found to result in less idleness, disruption, and violence within prisons (Seiter, 2011). This more practical than altruistic emphasis continued for crime-prevention purposes.
Parole has gone through several changes and transitions in its support, operations, and processes (Seiter, 2011). Today there are at least three major methods (or statuses) in which inmates are released from prison. No consistent terminology is used to describe the three release statuses from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The first is the use of discretionary parole, or release from prison to community supervision by the decision of a parole board, after completing the minimum portion of an indeterminate sentence (Seiter, 2011). Parolees are required to meet certain conditions as a stipulation of their release and are subject to being returned to prison if they violate the conditions or commit another offense. A second status of inmate release is...