View this PageEdit this PageUploads to this PageHistory of this PageHomeRecent ChangesSearchHelp Guide

Ouf103 Position paper - Rehabilitation as a better solution

The meaning of rehabilitation is a treatment directed towards changing the offender in order to prevent future criminal behaviors. This topic of rehabilitation was always a major concern in our approach towards prisoners.

Evaluations and studies made thorough the last century showed different opinions that shaped the way we think about rehabilitation.
One of the major critics of rehabilitation is Robert Martinson, a sociologist who published several articles against rehabilitation and was the first one to suggest the idea that it is not possible to rehabilitate prison inmates and reform any criminals in general.
His famous articles (was published in the journal The Public Interest, (1974)) entitled ‘What Works?’ was the first one to suggest the idea that it is not possible to rehabilitate prison inmates and reform any criminals at all. His role in the debate over correctional rehabilitation gave legitimacy to the movement that argued replacing rehabilitation as the dominant correctional approach toward criminals. What seemed to be a matter of opinion had became a matter of facts, as opponents of rehabilitation claim that science had shown offender treatment to be a fraud. Later on Martinson (1979) also argued that the empirical status of rehabilitation wasn’t final and in fact was an issue that demanded farther study, reappraisal, and “rewriting”.
This lead to the farther studies on the subject that lead to new approaches in the matter such as therapy that have been extremely efficacious.

Rehabilitation should be the main goal of the correctional criminal justice enterprise although there are two main problems:
First, Van Voorhis (in his book “high cost to ignoring rehabilitation”, 1987) mention that there is no real evidence that rehabilitation will actually going to reduce recidivism and our only chance for reducing recidivism is to involve them in rehabilitation programs that have therapeutic integrity. This approach is not just a “better” for the actual offender but it will also serve to public by protecting its safety, in other words, rehabilitation have the potential of reducing recidivism and thus prevent the victimization of citizens.

Second, and just as important, the American public is punitive and that won’t support the rehabilitation of offenders. This thesis is not fully true - although polls do show that the public is punitive but those surveys mainly demonstrate that Americans will prefer not to have a correctional system that will either inflict “penal harm” or warehouse offenders. Citizens will prefer a correctional system that will both punish and at the same time try to rehabilitates. A survey done by Applegate, Cullen, and Fisher
(1997) on ohio resident showed that more than 80% of them agreed that “rehabilitation” was an “important” or “very important” goal of imprisonment. This level of support of the American public would have the potential to grow, if intervention programs would be more effective.

For the last three decades, the US had a correctional system that has decidedly tilted as strict. I believe that the new century should offer a propitious moment to fashion a new penology. The alternative of keep on doing the same thing and using the same system arguing that offender can’t change and there for we should get tougher and tougher seems like a dark future for our culture. On the contrary, reaffirming rehabilitation seems like a wiser and a happier way to pursue.


I see what your point is, but I think with some further revision, it will be more evident what exactly you mean to say. You seem to be hitting both the positives and the negatives of rehabilitation over punishment, but most of your information is straight from other sources. In order to make your point clear, you need to add in some of your own opinions, and then back them up with other sources. Adding in your own opinons first makes your paper more unique, because the reader can see why you think the way you do, and then what other more note-worthy sources have to say.
Also, the best way to make your position clear is to clearly define your thoughts in an introductory thesis. Builiding on your thesis keeps things on a direct path, so your point is clearly made and spelled out.
Added by Percy

Comment by Whyllus

ouf103 Position Paper

Link to this Page