Criminal Justice Policies and Theories Essay


D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education, DARE) is a that was initially meant for elementary school, which made it unique. Despite not being exceptionally effective, it is one of the most widely adopted substance use prevention programs in the US (Kumar, OMalley, Johnston, & Laetz, 2013, p. 590). Through DARE, Police officers inform children about the dangers of substance abuse, teach them respect the law, help them raise self-esteem and develop the skills that should allow them to resist the pressure of their peers.

From the goals of the policy, it is obvious that its primary theoretical ground includes the strain theory (helping children resist the pressure of society) and social learning theory. Another theory that appears to have influenced DARE is the social control (SC), or, possibly, the that stems from SC (Williams & McShane, 2014). DARE corresponds to SCs claim that training and socialization are necessary to improve ones self-control. The attempts at raising the childrens self-esteem appear to be aimed at self-control improvement in a direct way; the rest of the measures help children with socialization as they explain social norms and values. Finally, given the social orientation of the policy, it can be suggested that the differential association theory has also had its influence on DARE (in the same way as the SC). In this respect, it can be added that the police officers involved in the program can be regarded as role models.

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DARE was deemed ineffective; evidence was found that the self-esteem of older (20-year-old) drug abusers who had gone through the program was lowered. As a result, DARE is creating a curriculum aimed at older students (Siegel, 2015, p. 454).

Prison Rehabilitation Programs

Modern and future criminological theory and criminal justice policies appear to be influenced by the recognition of the necessity of rehabilitation (Williams & McShane, 2014). Prison rehabilitation programs (PRPs) have had a long history: between the 1950s and 1970s, the rehabilitative ideal was born. Through the following years of trial and error, a more pessimistic approach arose, and rehabilitation was deemed dead, as the criminological society agreed that nothing works in this respect (Phelps, 2011, pp. 36-37). As time passed, though, the literature on what does work began to accumulate (Harding, 2014). There is a variety of PRPs, although the most popular ones are educational and vocational programs. Harding (2014), for example, describes therapeutic communities that are based on counseling, support, and role models. Some of the PRPs that had been proposed in the past are now considered inappropriate (for example, prison labor). In general, PRPs are aimed at avoiding recidivism and helping the social reintegration of the inmates.

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