Punishment And Rehabilitation

Punishment And Rehabilitation

CJ 101 Unit10 Assignment


Punishment and Rehabilitation

In any country, a correctional system is an integral part of the criminal justice process. It is tasked with the role of punishing and rehabilitating convicted offenders. After a judge makes a ruling, those found guilty are transferred to the correctional facilities. The penitentiary system protects the general population from criminals through imposing punishments such as probation or incarceration. When in prison, delinquents cannot engage in criminal offenses that have negative impacts on the community. In the past, the system only relied on punishment to reform lawbreakers which lead to overcrowding thus prompting the introduction of more rehabilitative programs (Campers, 2012). Nowadays, the system is required to rehabilitate offenders to help in their re-entry into society when they are released. There are several ways in which the system punishes and rehabilitates criminals.


The most common way of reforming offenders in the correctional system is punishment. It is a way of ensuring that the offender pays the price of violating the law. The mode and severity of penalty vary depending on the offense committed. One of the punishments in the system is confinement whereby an outlaw is sentenced to be locked up in prison for a particular time. When an individual is imprisoned, they are denied their constitutional right of movement. Every constitution provides that all citizens should be free to move from one location to another. However if a person is found guilty of a crime, their right is revoked, and there are confined in a correctional institution where they cannot subject the public to nuisance or crime. In prison, a substantial number of inmates are those who have committed violent crimes (O’Connor, 2014). It can be attributed to the fact that aggressive criminals are a danger to society since they commit heinous crimes. Traditionally the only form of conferment involved being locked up in prison, but nowadays there is house arrest. It is a form of confinement that prohibits the offender from leaving their house. Probation is an alternative to imprisonment where an offender is put on a test to prove they can lead a crime-free life under the supervision of a probation officer (Canton, 2013). During the probationary period, a lawbreaker is supposed to follow specific guidelines to avoid incarceration. For example, there are expected to report to the probation officer on a monthly basis. In case of an infringement of the set regulations, the offender can be aligned in court for additional punishment.

The criminal justice system also devised parole as a type of reprimand. Parole is the early release of inmates before completing their sentence under the supervision of parole officers (Alarid, 2016). There required to comply with regulations presented by the correctional system. For example, parolees need to have a legal job and should report to the parole officer on a regular basis. In case the default on the regulations they can be imprisoned. Inmates receive parole for their excellent conduct while serving their sentence. It also helps to reduce the cost of confinement since taxpayers bear the burden of maintaining the correctional system. Furthermore, it allows post-release supervision offenders during their bid to re-enter society. The most severe punitive measure in the system is death which applies to people sentenced for capital crimes. The death penalty has been a controversial sentence which has led to its abolishment in some nations. In the US 18 states has eliminated capital punishment in favor of life confinement without parole (O’Connor, 2014). All these forms of penal policies are implemented to discourage people from engaging crimes due to the severity of the consequences.


According to Aiello (2013), punitive reforms have led to the unprecedented incarceration of offenders which has prompted the consideration of implementing rehabilitative measures in the system. Offenders can be reformed through education and vocational training. Statistics have shown that over 41% of inmates have not completed their high school course (O’Connor, 2014). The juvenile system is keen on rehabilitating delinquents since they are young and deserve a second chance in life. Most juvenile offenders are high school dropouts and result to crime to sustain their livelihood. By offering them an education they can acquire skills that can help them in their endeavor to seek employment after confinement. However, the system should also invest in educating adults since most will eventually be released. The system can train them in a trade that can be useful after confinement. There are inmates in the correctional systems who have committed crimes due to substance abuse; they can be reformed through counseling. Individuals with drug abuse issues often resort to crime to obtain money to support their habit. Most of the addictive substances are expensive, and it is improbable for a drug addict to retain a job to earn money to purchase the drugs. These prisoners should be provided with substance abuse treatment during confinement to ensure that they do not revert to crime after completing their sentence.    

Furthermore, psychological counseling should be offered to criminals with mental illnesses or problems during detention. People with mental illnesses are stigmatized and shunned by society. These individuals cannot fend for themselves and end up engaging in petty offenses. The correction facilities need to reform them through counseling. Some inmates have underlying psychological problems that cause them to participate in crime. A psychiatrist can assist them to resolve the emotional issues. Additionally, some criminals were previously subjected to trauma and result to crime as a coping mechanism. Such inmates should also be counseled since the only reason they committed crimes was to escape their fears or pain. Rehabilitation aims at reforming intimates to ensure they do not revert to wrongdoing after incarceration.


Punishment or Rehabilitation?

            The most efficient measure of reducing crime is rehabilitation. The only way to ensure that an offender does not slip back to indiscretion is by instilling change. The severity of punishment in the correctional system has increased since 1970 to date in the US which is evident by the population of criminals in prison (Berenji, Chou & D’Orsogna 2014). However, the rate of crime or recidivism has not reduced. Confinement institutions have neglected to implement rehabilitative measures for offenders since punishment is prevalent in the system. Rehabilitation prepares the intimates to re-enter society. Re-entry into the community can be difficult, and reformation ensures that the offenders are equipped to be law-abiding people. The social stigma of being imprisoned may prompt an offender to revert to crime if they are not reformed. Moreover, the cost of funding the correctional system is tremendously high and a massive burden to taxpayers. In 2007, the expenditure of financing the criminal justice system amounted to an estimated $74 billion in the US (Berenji et al., 2014). It is beneficial for intimates to be rehabilitated since it will reduce the rate of recidivism.



Aiello, B. L. (2013). We Incarcerate to Set Free: Negotiating Punishment and Rehabilitation in Jail. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology, 1(2), 292-316.

Alarid, L. F. (2016). Community Based Corrections. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Berenji B., Chou, T. & D’Orsogna M. R. (2014). Recidivism and Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders: A Carrot and Stick Evolutionary Game. PLoS ONE 9(1).

Campers, S. M. (2012). A Failing Correctional System: State Prison Overcrowding in the United States. Pell Scholars and Senior Theses. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1079&context=pell_theses

Canton, R. (2013). Probation: Working With Offenders. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

O’Connor, R. (2014). The United States Prison System: A Comparative Analysis. Graduate thesis and dissertation. Retrieved from: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6282&context=etd