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The Goal Of The United States Criminal Justice System

940 words - 4 pages

Within the United States Criminal Justice System, it is not only goal to simply punish those who break the law, but to also reduce the level of criminal activity. In order to fulfill this important aspect of the Criminal Justice System, offenders must be rehabilitated and motivated to refrain from engaging in further criminal activity so that they do not return to prison. Since the early 1990’s, our country’s crime rate has been declining. Studies such as the Pew Safety Performance Project point out that this is an important goal for correctional systems to keep in mind, but it is not the only one. Pew Safety believes that ensuring the taxpayer dollars are spent effectively is also an ...view middle of the document...

Further research has been made in regards to prisoner rehabilitation and recidivism, which focuses on types of treatment that may contribute to the successful reduction in recidivism, or recidivism behaviors. A study such as Samuel Himelstein’s Meditation Research: The State of the Art in Correctional Settings, explores and reviews empirical research “regarding the effects of meditation-based programs in correctional populations.” In other words, Himelstein takes into account different forms of treatment aimed at rehabilitating prisoners so that they refrain from recidivism and are not placed back into jail. Himelstein looks at treatments such as Transcendental Meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Vipassana Meditation, and looks at insights and results from researchers such as APA member and professor of Psychology Craig Hanley, professor of Psychology Ruth A. Baer, and more insightful results from numerous researchers. Himelstein’s article analyzes how “inmates who participate in meditation-based programs displayed decreased anxiety, aggressiveness, hostility, substance use, and recidivism of incarceration, and examines an increased social, interpersonal, and overall psychological well-being in inmate participants” (Himelstein, 647).

In the Pew Safety Performance Project, researchers analyzed the returns to prison for 33 for inmates who were released in 1999, and analyzed a separate group of inmates from 41 states that were released in 2004 (two cohorts). The fact that Pew analyzed returns in this way, it was considered the most comprehensive analysis of returns to prison ever done. In fact before this study, there was nothing of a substantive and national nature except for the Bureau of Justice Statistics study. Pew analyzed these states through a survey of each state’s department of corrections. The survey asked the states to provide recidivism rates for the duration of 36 months after an offender was released from prison and...

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