The U.S. criminal justice system is dominated by two competing strategies: rehabilitation and punishment. The rehabilitation strategy often allows offenders a variety of services and programs aimed at changing their criminal behavior, whereas punishment strategies require offenders to pay for their harm to society. In both cases, offenders are held accountable for their crimes, but the approach used to address their criminal act is very different.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the philosophy of punishment dominated U.S. criminal justice and rehabilitation programs were seen as ineffective. Then in the 1990s, evidence emerged that certain rehabilitation programs, under certain conditions and with certain offenders, could be effective in reducing recidivism.
Punishment and rehabilitation are typically viewed as polar opposites, but they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, recent initiatives have succeeded in blending rehabilitation and punishment strategies into effective crime-control strategies. The extent to which rehabilitation and punishment continue to be integrated in the future remains to be seen.
To prepare for this assignment:
Review Chapter 11 of the course text, The Psychology of Criminal Conduct. Follow the discussion on rehabilitation programs reducing recidivism. Review the theoretical perspectives guiding rehabilitation strategies.
Review Chapter 13 of the course text, The Psychology of Criminal Conduct. Focus on the discussion of effective punishment programs reducing recidivism. Review the discussion of restorative justice and why it may be an effective crime-reducing program.
Reflect on the main differences between punishment strategies and rehabilitation strategies. Consider ways in which strategies of punishment and rehabilitation may be fused together to create new crime-control policy.
The assignment (1–2 pages):
Explain the differences between rehabilitation and punishment strategies in the criminal justice system.
Explain how rehabilitation and punishment strategies may be merged to create new methods for managing recidivism. Be specific and use examples.
Explain at least one insight or conclusion that you gained from your analysis.
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