Correctional Facilities In The United States

2417 words - 10 pages

Throughout United States correctional history, it has been heavily debated as to whether or not prisons have positive effects on inmates and society. Today, many prisons attempt to have a positive impact on the lives of the inmates, while giving society the satisfaction on punishing criminals. The correctional system achieves this goal through the use of four techniques. The four techniques used by the correctional system include rehabilitation, deterrence, incapacitation, and retribution. These four methods work individually as well as collectively to produce felons who can be productive citizens of society.
Firstly, one main, effective method used by correctional facilities today is rehabilitation. Prisons aim of rehabilitation is to create productive law-abiding citizens through social and moral improvement. (Holt v. Sarver) An examination conducted by California Youth Authority researcher, Ted Palmer, in 1975, noted that after further inspection of data collected by Robert Martinson, rehabilitation results were partially positive. (Cei 2) Robert Martinson stated “Nothing Works” in regards to rehabilitating inmates. Palmer concluded that in Martinson’s research 39 or 48% of programs in the study were at least partially positive. (Cei) In 1978, Palmer continued on with his research on the positives of rehab and concluded that many programs do work. Palmer noted that we must not look at inmate as a whole but as individuals. He continued on to say, we must figure out what programs works for which type of offender, in a certain setting to gain increasingly positive results. (Cei) Furthermore, researchers Francis Cullen and Paul Gendreau expanded on the belief that rehabilitation programs work. After conducting 200 studies from 1973 to 1987, both researchers concluded that programs effectively showed a drop in recidivism from 10% to 30%. (Cei) The effects of rehabilitation programs are influential to other inmates as well. In “A Pleas For Help” an uneducated inmate realized that the effects would help him to never return to prison. The inmate was quoted saying, “Please give me some education, or a trade, because I don’t want to come back to prison.” (Cei) This show the positive effects of such programs will give this inmate a chance to be productive in society. Correctional facilities use a wide range of programs to effectively rehabilitate inmates. There are two categories for correctional programs, one category is habilitative services, and the other is treatment programs. Habilitative services aim to teach inmates basic skills needed for a productive life in society. These skills include education classes on reading and writing, vocational training, religious programs, and life skill development. Education programs are the most effective in prison because they help reduce recidivism by encouraging self-discipline, and promoting a sense of investment that discourages criminality. Also, recidivism is reduced through academic programs by...

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