U.S. Correctional Systems Function Essa

Punishment within US prisons is based on the premise that individuals who have never committed crimes will be discouraged from doing so once severe penalties are put in place. Alternatively, this punishment role is also propagated by the need to deter already convicted lawbreakers from committing crimes again (Diiulio, 1990). Usually, the correctional system employs three major platforms to punish individuals and they include: incarceration, probation and the death penalty. Incarceration refers to the instatement of offenders in a correctional facility to serve time after conviction. Probation focuses on introducing the same limitations found in correctional facilities outside such settings. On the other hand, the death penalty is administered by taking away an offenders life.

There are several reasons why punishment is still seen as a central role in the countrys correctional systems. Proponents argue that the longer and the harsher prison time is made, the more effective that method will be in correcting criminal behavior. Furthermore, these same proponents believe that punitive measures such as the death penalty should continue to be administered against any hard criminals because this kind of treatment easily fits the magnitude of very heavy crimes. To them, this is a form of payback and hence justice for victims who have been wronged. In fact extreme supporters of this type of correction claim that prison reforms tend to lessen the level of retribution that criminals go through; consequently, they believe that conditions in prison should be made as difficult as possible. This is an outlook that has been in place for many decades and continues to exist today. Punishment is also seen as a method of keeping dangerous members of society away since they cannot commit any crimes against general society while locked in prison (Fuller, 2003). Therefore, the main force behind punitive roles in correctional facilities is the need to settle scores.

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The aim of rehabilitation in correctional systems is to ensure that individuals can become positive members of society upon exiting prison systems. Usually there are several platforms that are employed and they include counseling convicted offenders, offering them training in vocational skills or taking them through rehabilitation programs once it has been established that they committed drug related crimes. Sometimes education for illiterates may be used to rehabilitate. Religion may also be another avenue.

Counseling works by analyzing and possibly reversing past psychological and emotional issues that may have driven one into criminal behavior. Vocational and non vocational training focus on equipping convicts with the necessary skills needed to earn a living legally. Rehabilitation systems may , and hence associated crimes. Education prepares criminals for formal employment while religion focuses on instilling moral sense in convicted offenders.

Proponents of rehabilitation believe that many people commit crimes as a survival tool. These types of people were not prepared for the challenges of life, and giving them practical skills on how to do so may remove them from the criminal lifestyle (Garland, 2002). Alternatively, some criminals backgrounds may have pushed them into such behavior and it is therefore necessary to show them that there is another alternative. Rehabilitation aims at changing the mode of thinking of criminals, their behaviors and other cognitive aspects.

Rehabilitation is a more effective method for crime reduction than punishment because it has a better chance of reducing recidivism rates. Andrews and Bonta (2002) did a study in which they contrasted the effectiveness of over prison sentences in reducing future offenses. It was found that over 7% more recidivism rates were reported in the 100 studies. Additionally, it was found that longer prison sentences do not actually deter crime, but are likely to increase its occurrence. Crime rates went up by three percent after prolonged prison stays. It was also noted that recidivism rates went down as a result of rehabilitation; in fact, they reduced crime by the same 3 %. It was shown that rehabilitation recorded even better results for people who were hardened criminals over their counterparts who had been minimally exposed to . In the former groups i.e. the high-risk groups, recidivism rates were reduced by ten percent which was three times more successful. Individuals tend to commit more crimes if they have been previously convicted. In other words, greater incarceration causes persons to become hard core and to embrace the criminal lifestyle. It has also been shown that recidivism is associated with age as young people are more likely to be rearrested than older ones yet a vast majority of criminals happen to be young. Clearly, the punishment system does not meet the needs of the US offense profile.

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