Rehabilitation Should Be a Goal of the Criminal Justice System

Topics: Crime, Criminal law, Criminal justice Pages: 18 (5681 words) Published: January 25, 2013
Rehabilitation should be a goal of the criminal justice system







2.0 Rehabilitation as a means of upholding criminal justice3

3.0Effectiveness of rehabilitation4

4.0 Ineffectiveness of rehabilitation11



1.0 Introduction

Criminal justice deals with mitigation of crimes, upholding social controls, punishing, deterring, and rehabilitating law offenders. In general, there are four theories of punishment in criminology. They include deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and retribution (Torres & Callahan 2008, p.379-384). Deterrence can be specific or general. General deterrence is aimed at punishing offenders to discourage others from committing crimes. Deterrence is aimed at punishing the offender in order to discourage him from reoffending (Rex 1999,p.366). Incapacitation keeps the society safe from criminals by incarcerating law offenders. The rationale of incapacitation is locking offenders in jail keeps them away from committing crimes (Torres & Callahan 2008, p.383). Rehabilitation is aimed at deterring offenders from criminal activities and supporting their reintegration back into the society (Brown & Ross 2010, p.32). Retribution is punishing the offenders according to the magnitude of their crimes(Logan & Gaes 1993). This paper focuses of rehabilitation as a form of upholding criminal justice.

2.0 Rehabilitation as a means of upholding criminal justice

Criminal justice can also be divided into retributive and restorative justice (Walgrave, 1993,p.14). Retributive justice proposes subjection of offenders to punishments that fit the magnitude of crimes committed. Proponents of this theory argue that different crimes require different punishments to ensure effective deterrence from recidivism. For instance, a person who is convicted of two charges of murder should be subjected to a more severe punishment compared to one charged with a single case of murder. Such severe punishment may include a longer incarceration period. On the other hand, restorative justice theory aims at ensuring equal justice for the victims of the offense and the offenders (Bazemore 1998,p.768). Equal justice ensures that the victim of the offense is given a just compensation for the loss/harm suffered, just hearing of the case, and protection from the offender (Walgrave 1995, p.231). The offender is also entitled to certain rights and support to enhance his reintegration back to the society without marginalization(Bazemore 1998,p.769). Rehabilitation is an embodiment of restorative justice. The following is the discussion on the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of rehabilitation as a theory of upholding criminal and social justice.

3.0Effectiveness of rehabilitation

According to Farrall and Maruna (2004,p.359), research on desistance as a way of upholding criminal justice and mitigating crimes dates back in the 1930. Prior to this, severe punishment such as long prison sentences with extreme torture was widely believed as the most effective way of abating crimes. However, drastic increase in recidivism and the number of offenders in incarceration led to a rethinking in criminology. A research conducted in 2007 showed that the United States of America had the highest incarcerated population in the world (Andrews & Bonta 2010,p.39-41). These statistics indicate the possible failure of the traditional punishment approach to deterrence of crimes. According to Dowden and Andrews (2000,p.451), 63% of the inmates in North American jails in 1999 were subsequent reoffenders. Downden and Andrews(2000,p.452) attributed this scenario to failure of prison sentences to address the cause of criminal behaviors in the offenders. They also argued that incarceration brings novice and dumper/ hardened criminals...

References: Vale, S & Humphrey, D 2002, American Prisons as Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers:A Twenty-Year Reflection, 1980 to 2000. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, vol 20(3-4), pp.83-105.
Ward,T, Yates, P & Gwenda, W 2012, The Good lives model and the Risk Need responsibility Model A Critical Response to Andrews, Bonta, and Wormith (2011) . Criminal Justice and Behaviour, vol 39, no.1 , pp.94-110.
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