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Rehabilitation Or Retribution? Essay

967 words - 4 pages

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Rehabilitation or Retribution?The expectations of society for the criminal justice system are to punish and rehabilitate individuals who have committed crime. Punishment and rehabilitation are two acknowledged objectives of the criminal justice system, Retribution, which is based on "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" philosophy, simply means punishment and vengeance for what evils have done. While rehabilitation, as Nicholas Tan (1999) noted that "is the idea of 'curing' an offender of his or her criminal tendencies, of changing their habits, their outlook and possibly even personality, so as to make them less inclined to commit crimes in the future", the main aim of rehabilitation is to help prisoners to get some skills in prison, so that when they re-enter into society, they can adapt quickly to the new environment. Debates over these two notions have lasted for a long time, many would argue that the main purpose of prison systems is to punish people who have committed criminals. While this should be the secondary function of prisons, the most important function should be rehabilitating criminals back to the society, not just retribution. As a recent survey showed that over 60 percent respondents agreed that prison should reform prisoners, rather than punish them (Human Rights and Justice Studies, 2000). In this essay, it will argue that rehabilitation is a more efficient way to help prisoners rather than retribution by illustrating advantages of rehabilitation.Some theorists throughout history have argued that the primary purpose of prisons is to punish criminals for what they have done, criminals should get punished when they break the law. When they are sent into prisons, as punishment, they certainly do not have rights to watch TV, access to internet and so on. However, some people may disagree with this, because going into prison is already a punishment, criminals have already lost their freedom, they should not suffer extra punishment by being denied other human rights while in prison. After all, punishment is not the ultimate goal of prisons, redemption from sin is the basic aim of prisons. The root of all crime is due to the lack of education and training, if prisons prevent offenders from receiving education or learning information from outside, then after released, they may feel alienated from society and not be accepted by society, and employers will not employ those who do not have knowledge or job skills which will deteriorate the situation of recidivism. Therefore, rehabilitation should be the main purpose of prisons, for it promotes the humanizing belief in the notion that offenders can be saved and not simply punished (Nicholas. T.,1999).However, some people are afraid that if allow prisoners to receive education or access to internet may provide an environment to make better criminals. Whereas Dr Paul Fauteck (2006) argued that the prison education programs are not "coddling...

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