The success of rehabilitation versus punishment has long been a dispute in progress. Two of the responsibilities of the Justice System are to identify the types of crimes committed and to establish appropriate punishments for the crimes committed. The Justice System focuses on deterrence, incapacitation, punishment, and rehabilitation as goals. The evaluation of punishment and rehabilitation will display the success of the programs, the effect on the victims, the control of the offenders, the bearing on the community, and the financial influence on the public. This paper will reflect the various types of management used for those incarcerated and those under municipal guidance.
Need essay sample on
"Rehabilitation versus Punishment" topic?
We will write a custom essay sample specifically for youProceed
Deterrence of crime
People Frequently Tell EssayLab specialists:
I'm not in the mood to write my paper. But I don't have the time
Custom Essay Writing Service ReviewsCheapest EssayWrite My Paper For Me ReviewsCheap Custom Essays
Deterrence is recognized as having two methods of discipline that are vital to the criminal justice system; general deterrence and special deterrence. The intention of general deterrence is to make the public aware of the penalty imposed by law if crimes are committed. The intention of special deterrence is to cause panic to lawbreakers in hopes that potential crimes will be prevented. Both methods are used as scare tactics since past strategies were thought to weaken convicts and instill justice within the community. The methods proved effective if the convicts were rendered helpless, but results had devastating effects on the convicts that lingered well after release. Although both the general deterrence and the special deterrence methods of punishment were widely used and believed to be beneficial, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that in 1994 a total of 272,111 convicts were released from prison in 15 states. By 1997, 67.5% of the same groups of convicts were again arrested for felonies or significant misdemeanors; 46.9% were again convicted, and 25.4% were convicted for a different offense (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007).
Due to a number of existing reasons, the punishment implemented for committing crimes has not been harsh enough to deter the percentages of illegal acts. Although punishment is enforced, the variety of opportunities made available to prisoners for early release creates a mere short-term solution for society. Convicts can receive early probation for good behavior, voluntarily participating in the educational and therapy programs made available, and attending church services. Even if convicted to serve a life sentence or placed on death row prisoners are given the chance to appeal. Because the death penalty can be a lengthy process the likelihood of convicts appealing has increased. Once taking these options into consideration, individuals contemplating crimes may think the risks are worthwhile (Hargreaves, 2009).
Rather than generating short-term solutions for society by applying criminal punishment, rehabilitation is used as an alternative. Perpetual crime prevention techniques are engendered through rehabilitation. With community supervision, rehabilitation can aid convicts by teaching them how to become a productive member of society. Through rehabilitation, an education and vocational training can instill everlasting knowledge that will enable convicts to become self reliant. Independence promotes confidence which is a steppingstone in becoming a respected individual within a community; subsequently refraining from perpetrating potential crimes (Banks, 2004).
Another type of rehabilitation for convicts is therapy. The primary purpose of therapy is to access the problems that some convicts may experience and provide the appropriate treatment. By reviewing the convicts personal history, physical condition, and mental condition, treatment such as psychotherapy, drug therapy, or a combination of both, can be administered. Understanding and treating the condition is the first step in the rehabilitation of how the convict thinks. Helping the convict discover and understand individual behavior patterns can aid in lessening the yearning or need to commit future criminal activities (2004, p.3).
Effect on victims and victims’ families
The effect on victims and the victim’s families can sometimes create feelings of insignificance. Since many laws cater to the defendant, the victim may feel discriminated against. The duty to enforce the defendant’s constitutional rights may dominate the victim’s rights. Defendants have the right to an immediate trail, the right to legal counsel, the right to meet and oppose witnesses, the right against self discrimination, and the right to accurate legal proceedings and complete righteousness (Rogers, 2006). What about the victim’s rights?
In the past, the rights of victim’s were perceived as less substantial compared to present day. Although victims should have been regarded as the key witness, often victims were considered an aggravation. In 2004, President Bush signed the Crime Victim’s Rights Act that was primarily developed to launch the rights of all victims of crime and all adolescent crimes. These rights are also meant to deliver specific modus operandi, institute particular responsibilities and exceptions, restrict convicts from obtaining revenue from certain events, prevent any unacceptable behavior toward victims, and take accountability for consequences and solutions. The actual rights that were created consists of the right to attend proceedings, the right to reimbursement of expenses, the right to be heard in issues effecting the victim and the family of the victim, the right to be notified of any data relevant to the victim, the right of protection, the right of receiving restitution for losses, the right to receive personal property being held, the right to a speedy trial, and the right to remedies of victims (National center for victims of crime, 2009).
Many victims and members of society believe that individuals convicted of crimes should be required to carry out sentences of punishment opposed to rehabilitation through community supervision. Actual punishment seems more justifiable when committing crimes, especially in regard to violent crimes. Completely ruling people out of society by incarceration without benefits of educational or vocational training is vital to the acknowledgement that criminal acts will not be rewarded but punished; also commonly referred to as just desserts. When convicts do not receive the proper ramifications the victims and families of victims are subject to distress and emotional strain. If the victims and victims’ families’ right to receive restitution is denied then the burden of finances can cause additional hardship (Banks, 2004).
Victims and victim’s families can also receive assistance though community supervision. If a convict is released on probation under stern regulation then monies received through employment are paid to the victims. Additional programs are available throughout various areas that aid in victim assistance. Such programs can offer emotional encouragement, comfort for the grieving, a better understanding of the courts course of actions, and referrals. Committees sponsored through these types of programs also perform outreach to promote awareness. The strategy to increase awareness and accept responsibility for actions is significant to deterring crime rates. The committee members speak directly to the defendants and initiate contact of the defendant with the victims and families of victims.
Effect on the offender
Upon conviction, criminals can undergo a variety of mixed emotions. Feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety are common when separated from family. The burden of incarceration on a family unit can be tremendous, being one of the primary reasons for divorce. The capacity of such adverse emotions and mental anguish caused by incarceration can result in feelings of abandonment, hostility, social ineptness, and the growth of recidivism. These issues do not automatically disappear once released from prison, but linger causing further life complications. Unable to socialize properly can have an ill effect on seeking gainful employment. Facing ridicule from the family and community can add to depression, feelings of isolation, and loss of support when dealing with challenges (Rogers, 2006).
If rehabilitation through community supervision is allowed, many concerns can be alleviated. By providing specific criminals a chance for probation in place of a lengthy incarceration, families can remain a unit. Under community supervision, guidance can be given to those requiring substantial employment which can be frustrating once a person is marked as a convict. Defendants falling under the category of committing nonviolent crimes, such as drug related crimes, would be foremost in the rehabilitation program instead of punishment. Criminals regarded as addicts would be more likely to benefit from a rehabilitation program rather than a serial killer.
Social impact on society
Both the acts of punishment and rehabilitation create a social influence that fluctuates. This is due to the rising cost of prisons, rehabilitation centers, the anxiety of convicts coming back into the community, readjustments to living environments, and family conflicts. How the community envisions the courts findings creates much impact within the legal system, political system, and other areas throughout the nation. The need for additional prisons has also been influenced by the punishment and rehabilitation controversies. If the method of punishment is not successful then there will be an increase in criminal activity proving the need for more prisons. If the method of rehabilitation is successful then there will be an increase in prison population that attends the training and therapy, also proving the need for more space. Encouragement from different viewpoints in regard to the enforcement of strategies within the criminal justice system remains an ongoing battle.
Fiscal impact on society
The punishment factor has a tremendous fiscal impact on our nation. Rehabilitation offers a systematic approach to help convicts reconstruct lives. Another purpose of this method is to prevent recidivism, which lowers the prison expenditures. According to a special report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “States spent $29.5 billion for prisons in 2001, about a $5.5 billion increase from 1996, after adjusting for inflation. In 2001, the cost of the prison system procedures exhausted 77% of the funds” (State prison expenditures, 2009).
In the justice system, the methods of rehabilitation and punishment are a vital part of the structure. Both types of strategies can be productive in governing crime if assimilated in an effective manner. Both methods should be based on the type of crimes committed, the history of the convict, and a complete psychological evaluation. By employing punishment along with community supervised rehabilitation the chances of deterring crime could positively increase. Perhaps the battle of punishment versus rehabilitation could be put to an end if officials were to confirm that this is a need for both strategies since different types of individuals commit different types of crimes.
- Banks, Cyndi. (January 30, 2004). The purpose of criminal punishment. Ethics and the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/5144_Banks_II_Proof_Chapter_5.pdf
- Hargreaves, J. (2009, July). Contemporary comments. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 21(1), 148-153. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center database
- National Center for Victims of Crime. (2009). Victim Law.
- Rogers, H. (2006). Defendant’s rights, know your rights! Law offices of Hubert N. Rogers III.
- U.S. Department of Justice. (August, 8, 2007). Criminal offenders statistics. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
A great many cases can be made in justifying for and against capital punishment. My view is that capital punishment is wrong in all circumstances as I believe in the most compelling argument of all which is based on: the risk of killing an innocent person, failure to recognize a person can repent and change and that disproportionate poor and ethnic minorities could be killed.
Committing a crime involves performing a social act that offends the laws of a society. This can range from stealing a packet of crisps from a shop, to murder. There are lots of reasons for which people commit a crime, whether it is because they are poor so they have to commit robberies to survive, or because they are mentally ill and do not realize the difference between right and wrong. At the present, drugs are a major reason for generating crime. Drug addicts need drugs to keep themselves functioning properly. So to do this, they need money to buy drugs. The only way they can get the money, if they have run out of their own, is by committing money making crimes and stealing. There are a variety of ways to punish the criminals but it is not, and should not, be all about punishing them. I believe the cause of the problem should be found out, and that this should be solved. For example if a man steals to feed his family, he should not be punished as this is the states fault for not providing for his family. Punishment can be used as a deterrent to stop the criminal committing crime. It can also be a form of “revenge” on the criminal for his actions. It makes them suffer for their crime. The punishment can also protect society from the criminal. The criminal could be dangerous, and it could be for the public’s wellbeing and the criminal’s welfare if he is punished. Punishment can also be used to give the criminal a chance to restructure his life, so they can change their ways and make him less likely to commit another crime.
The arguments for bringing it back can be entirely debated. One argument is that it deters potential murders. I believe this is untrue as it is proven that most murders are committed in a moment of passion so the alleged killer would not really be thinking about the repercussions. If a person is coldly killing people, I believe the person may have a problem, possibly mental health issues, and should see a psychiatrist rather that being locked up. Some say that capital punishment defends civilians and police from violence. But I ask what is jail for? The argument for, is deeply weighted, as it can then be argued, once the accused has served their prison sentence, they will be released again and therefore be a threat to society again, and will be able to re-commit more crimes. However, if they are put to death, they will not be able to re-offend and consequently not be able to be a threat to society any more. Some people for capital punishment tell me, it costs the taxpayer too much money to keep a criminal in jail and why should they be made to pay for this anyway. But, can you really put a value against human life? Is it not the most priceless and precious gift ever given to you? Also, upon doing research in America where capital punishment still exists, I found out in Texas it costs an average of $2.3m to prosecute and execute a convicted criminal each year, while it only costs $400,000 for life imprisonment. Innocent people will always be preyed on. You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and BANG, all your freedom is gone, or if capital punishment was brought back, your life. Since 1973, ninety-five of the inmates on death row in America have been fully cleared by the courts. One man, by the name of Kerry Sanders, a mental health patient, was picked up for sleeping on a bench during October 1993 in LA. A routine check showed that a Robert Sanders had escaped from a prison in New York that morning. This Kerry Sanders was obviously not Robert Sanders yet was still arrested. As he was had mental health issues, he signed a confession saying he was Robert Sanders because “he was told to”. He was sent to a maximum security prison where he was sexually assaulted by other inmates, all while his mother and sister were searching over the streets of LA for him. Only after the real Robert Sanders was arrested, was he set free. But, imagine had this man been sentenced to earth, you would not be able to bring him back to life.
Religion is the oldest argument in the book and can swing both ways. Jesus said “to turn the other cheek” thus saying do not use capital punishment as a form of revenge. It is also reported when a woman was going to be stoned to death for committing adultery, Jesus told the crowd that “he without sin “ should throw the first stone consequently saying that it is not humans here on earth right to judge and punish another person. In Judaism, they believe “an eye for and eye” and “a tooth for a tooth”, and in Islam, the laws state that for certain crimes, such as murder or adultery, the death penalty should be used. In spite of this, both religions have long traditions of justice and mercy, and Islam says, even if the execution is at that moment taking place, if the victim’s family forgive the accused, the death penalty should not be carried out.
I therefore believe capital punishment is wrong, and that under no circumstances should it be used. Yet, I also believe “life imprisonment” should mean just that, and not just 10- 12 years. In order to protect society, “life imprisonment without parole” should be considered. This would not only take into consideration the welfare of the innocent, but also if someone was wrongly accused, they would be able to be released whereas you cannot do this with capital punishment.
You can order a custom essay, term paper, research paper, thesis or dissertation on Capital Punishment topics at our professional custom essay writing service which provides students with custom papers written by highly qualified academic writers. High quality and no plagiarism guarantee! Get professional essay writing help at an affordable cost.
4.20 avg. rating (83% score) - 5 votes
Tags: capital punishment essay topics, capital punishment essays, capital punishment research essay, capital punishment term paper, sample essay