Correctional System Analysis

Kaplan University


This assignment will include a 700-1050 essay that uses examples and answers the following: (1) How does the correctional system punish offenders; (2) How does the correctional system rehabilitate offenders; (3) Which method is more effective in reducing crime; and (4) which method I prefer most–punishment or rehabilitation. Each of these issues will be supported by the literature, which will be cited. At least 3 references will be provided to support the assignment.

Correctional Institutions are comprised of individual components, that when added together comprise the Correctional System. These parts include law enforcement officials, criminal justice professionals such as Judges, Prosecutors, Public Defenders, Victim Advocates, Probation/Parole Officers, Correctional Officers and Councilors. Correctional facilities, whether governmentally or privately operated are designed to house both sentenced and un-sentenced inmates’ society has deemed either a threat or flight risk. The actual punishment is received after a defendant is sentenced through the judicial process. The most familiar form of punishment is incarceration. The defendant, once convicted of a crime can be sentenced to a predetermined length of incarceration. The time of incarceration is normally commensurate with the severity of the criminal act. Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by less than one year while felonious crimes are over one year. Correctional facilities punish violators by restricting their freedom of movement. Offenders have considerably less rights than the rest of society. Their daily life is extremely structured and controlled through means other than their own personal choice. Inmates are told how to dress, when to eat, when to sleep and where to be. Due to their behavior that society has deemed unacceptable these people have forfeited the rights guaranteed to society. They have little freedom of movement and considerably less fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. They have essentially become property of the state or federal prison system. Clearly this loss of liberty and freedom is a punishment designed to become a deterrent to future criminal behavior. If one values this liberty and freedom and wishes to maintain it, then the idea is that they will better understand the consequences of their actions in the future and choose to act in a manner society deems acceptable. Incarceration is designed to protect society against those who would do it harm. This is of particular importance involving crimes of violence against persons. Governments primary responsibility is to protect and defend its citizenry. Incarceration and forced confinement of those who commit such acts of violence are an acceptable way to protect citizens and punish offenders.

The other side of the correctional system is the rehabilitation of its offenders. Rehabilitation, by Merriam-Webster, is defined as the ability “to restore or bring to a condition of health or useful and constructive activity.” (n.d.). The purpose and use of rehabilitation in the correctional system, is to help inmates and those on probation to better assimilate back into society, in a good way, once their debt to it has been paid. The correctional system has, throughout the years, had many different ways to help rehabilitate those who are processed through the system itself. Some have failed, where as many programs have been met with success. Mental health problems have been among some of the most challenging dilemmas the rehabilitation process has to face. Mental health related issues, which have been largely ignored, are known to be some of the largest contributing factors to criminal related activity. Many correctional facilities, as well as courts, order offenders to attend psychological counseling programs. These programs aim to better treat the underlying mental issues that are related to criminal behavior, be alcoholism, drug addiction, or even PTSD.

When choosing which method is better, or which one is more effective and what I prefer, it is impossible to answer. The two systems, punishment and rehabilitation, need to coexist in a symbiotic relationship with each one dependent on the other. Neither can be successful without the other. When used in conjunction together, the correctional system has a better chance at providing protection to the public by incarcerating individuals too dangerous to be with the general population, and by allowing those who are not too far gone or beyond help to re-enter society and better themselves. Too much incarceration leads to a totalitarian state, where as too much rehabilitation leads to a system that is overburdened and thus ineffective.

This assignment has included a 700-1050 essay that used examples and answered the following: (1) How does the correctional system punish offenders; (2) How does the correctional system rehabilitate offenders; (3) Which method is more effective in reducing crime; and (4) which method I prefer most–punishment or rehabilitation. Each of these issues was supported by the literature, which was cited. At least 3 references were provided to support the assignment.

Schmalleger, F. (2015). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century, 13th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from;