This paper will give a definition and the origins of rehabilitation in prison. It will give a definition of parole and how if differs from mandatory release. There will be a definition of probation and how it compares to other forms of sentencing, as well as a definition and the options of community corrections. As well as the critiquing of the current rehabilitation options, such as is there a better solution to the current parole process? Is there a better solution to the current probation system? Are there better solutions than the current community corrections options? All these issues will be discussed and addressed.
Rehabilitation is a programmed effort to alter the attitudes and behaviors of inmates and improve their likelihood of becoming law abiding citizens. (Seiter, 2011, p562) The Quakers of Pennsylvania, which were accredited for opening the first penitentiary which was the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia in 1790, for the purpose of purpose of housing the sentenced offenders. During the 1950’s, the penal system progressed to the point that rehabilitation of the offenders was to be the replacement for punishment as the primary objective.
Parole is the conditional release of inmates by a parole board prior to the expiration of their sentence. (Seiter, 2011, p 561) The parolee must comply with certain conditions of behavior. Mandatory release is sometimes referred to as conditional release; in some states they have legislation that mandates the supervised release be under specific conditions, such as the completion of a percentage of the prison sentence. More often the violent and sexual offenders are excluded from the consideration of conditional release.
Probation is a prison sentence that is suspended on the condition that the offender is to follow certain prescribed rules and commits no further crimes. (Seiter, 2011, p562) The offender has supervised release instead of being incarcerated, because often the suspended sentence holds a motivation for the offenders. If the release requirements are violated then it can result in the imposition of the original sentence.
Some of the other forms or types of probation can include work release, half-way houses, electronic monitoring, and community service. Work release is when the offenders still reside within the confines of the institution, but is allowed to go into the community each day to a job. Half-way houses are temporary living situation that provide a way for the newly released offenders to ease in to living in the outside world. It provides them supervision and social support in helping to make the transition into a new world of self-responsibility. Electronic monitoring is a device that can provide constant electronic documentation of a parole’s location. Community service provides the opportunity for the offenders to pay back society for their offenses, in a supervised and safe manner. (CJI Interactive, 2011)
Community corrections are those criminal sanctions that involve community supervision of the offenders. It makes use of the correctional and program resources that are available in the community, and requires offenders to abide by specified conditions to remain in the community. (Seiter, 2011) Some of the options for community corrections would be the work release program, community service and half-way houses.
A better solution to the current parole process would be that the parole board would view the files a little stronger, and take in consideration more strongly the victims say, before making a decision to release someone on parole. Make sure they have all the information they need provided to make a fair decision. Not to parole inmates just because they need to make room in the prisons. To consider the crime that was committed and if they have been rehabilitated enough to be a benefit to society.
A better solution to the current probation system would be that there are more probation officers with a smaller group that each supervised. By doing this then each probation officer could monitor those probationers a little closer. This would enable them to enforce the rules or revoke the rights of probation for those that are choosing to violate their probation.
The current community corrections options that are in place now seem to be working fairy well now. Even though it may not be without issues, no options are going to be without its problems. I believe that it is a good thing and make the parolees accountable to more than an individual but to a community of people that also supervise them as well.
(Seiter, 2011,p562) CJI Interactive. (2011). Chapter 12. Retrieved from http://https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/UC/CJ/index.html
Seiter, R. (2011). Corrections: An introduction (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.