Does Prison Rehabilitation work better than the punitive system in decreasing the number of repeat offenders? Prison Rehabilitation is focused on reintegrating prisoners back into society to make sure they don’t reoffend.
This system is based on the belief that the decision to commit a crime is to be determined or heavily influenced by a person’s social surroundings, psychological development, or biological makeup. So a person’s choice to commit a crime is not a matter of free will, there are other factors that influence the choice to commit a crime. Prisoners are given the opportunity to participate in activities such as reading and writing. These activities are supposed to help shape the prisoner into a different person. Then, when they are released, they can contribute to their community. In 1994, Bill Clinton passed The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
This bill took 6 years to make. The law implemented many things, including a “three strikes” mandatory life sentence for repeat offenders, money to hire 100,000 new police officers, funded $9.7 billion for prisons, and expanded the list of death penalty-eligible offences. It also issued $6.1 billion to prevention programmes heavily influenced by experienced police officers.
This bill applies only to those charged with federal crimes. Did this bill reduce the crime rate? The crime rate was already in decline by the time this bill was passed and it declined until the early 2000s. Therefore, this law was not the main reason for the decline in crime. This law took measures that were more punitive than rehabilitative and the three strikes mandatory life sentence makes a statement that some people are “unfixable.” The punitive system has the same goal as the rehabilitation system but it works in a different way. The punitive system is based on the belief that punishing a criminal will prevent that criminal from attempting to commit that crime again.
The United States has a punitive system but countries like Norway have a rehabilitation system. The United States has the highest incarceration in the world along with Russia and China. The prisons in these countries are also overcrowded. Norway, along with Finland and Sweden have the lowest incarceration rates in the world and the lowest recidivism rate, which means that most prisoners that are released don’t return. Rehabilitation should be used in our prisons because it works better than punishment. Punishment only makes criminals more violent, it does not change the prisoner at all. Of course, prisoner should be held accountable for their actions, but we don’t want the criminal to reoffend. Leaving our prisoners unchanged when they are released is harmful to society.
The crime rate is going to remain the same or increase. Why do criminals re offend? Criminals reoffend because they feel like society does not want them back. They’re barely able to get a job because of their criminal record or because they lost time that they could have used to learn useful skills. Sometimes they reoffend because they don’t have any remorse for what they did and the consequences don’t matter to them. People with drug addictions can live a successful life when they get released if they are given enough support while in prison.
Addictions are almost impossible to overcome alone. However, rehabilitation only works if that person really wants to change. “Why spend taxpayers’ money to rehabilitate criminals when it is the victims who should be compensated for the damage that has been done to them,” stated in a NY times section titled, “CHATTER; Rehabilitation in Prison?” We should spend money to rehabilitate criminals because it helps prevent criminals from targeting more victims. Victims should be compensated but prisoners should be over punished.
Punishing a criminal too much is not compensation, it’s just revenge and most of the punitive system is based on revenge. The National Institute of Justice reports that over 75% of released inmates are re-incarcerated within five years of discharge from prison. In Sweden the recidivism rate is much lower at 40% and has 4500 prisoners out of a population of 9.
5 million. The reason why Sweden has a lower rate might be because the prisoners in Sweden are treated like people. Prisoners in Sweden have a cell that looks similar to a college dorm which looks better than most of the cells in other countries. Although Sweden is trying to help its prisoners, they are giving them too much things that they don’t even need such as table tennis, pool tables, steel darts and aquariums. In an article titled, “The Economic Impact of Prison Rehabilitation” Jacob Reich claims, “Although prison rehabilitation programs initially cost prisons money to implement, studies have shown that these programs decrease the recidivism rate, decreasing the prison population, thus decreasing the money needed for prisons to operate.” Some examples of rehabilitation programs include high school courses, which most prison already have, and college courses which only 27% of prisons have. “While almost all federal prisons have alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, they don’t provide prisoners with alcohol and drug dependency, counseling, and awareness programs.
” In order to improve these programs, there needs to be more personalized support to fit an individual’s needs. Reich states, “Prisoners in New York who earn a college degree while incarcerated are almost half as likely to get arrested after release compared to inmates who do not earn a degree.” What this means is that education can have a great impact on prisoners’ lives. With an education, they can come back to society prepared with the most important skills. What this means is that education can have a great impact on prisoners’ lives.
With an education, they can come back to society prepared with the most important skills. In summary, Prison Rehabilitation works better than punishment and should be used in our country’s prisons in order to keep ex-convicts away from prison and keep our community safer. We should abandon the punitive system because it dehumanizes criminals and makes them more violent. It is a system based on revenge and not change. Having a system based on Rehabilitation does not have to mean spending a lot of money on table tennis, pool tables, steel darts and aquariums. It is about providing our prisoners with education so they can become responsible citizens that contribute to their communities. With education, they realize their full potential. With a lower incarceration rate, the government won’t have to spend so much to operate their prisons.