Rehabilitation entails the process of restoring an individual’s character and reputation (criminal offender) be it a juvenile delinquent or a youth or adult offender, with the main aim of making him or her acceptable in the society as well as being transformed to a productive member of the society. Rehabilitation is not a new concept of correction and it has been practiced in various justice systems in different countries.
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It came up in the 19th century when there was a discovery that there exist a direct relationship between the environment and indulgence in criminal activities and hence those who become criminals due to the environment or upbringing could be reformed through proper rehabilitation programs. According to Miller (1989), rehabilitation was in existence in United States but on the 18th day of January, 1989 the US Supreme Court approved its abandonment and it was not a stern consideration in sentencing of offenders.
Prisoner’s rehabilitation programs are aimed at reforming the criminal offenders from engaging in crime in the future. Effective rehabilitation programs are ideal to the prisoners and also to the society at large since the prisoners now become good people who do not harm the society in any way. The prisoners undergo various counseling sessions where they are able to understand the benefits of living a normal life free from crime.
They are also equipped with relevant skills through training to ensure that they become productive through engaging in decent living. There are however many arguments towards the application of rehabilitation as a corrective method as it is believed that the criminals do not actually change but they find themselves engaging in crime after their release from the rehabilitation institutions because the institutions do not offer the best. It is nonetheless believed to be the best in terms of punishment as compared to retribution, social protection and deterrence if only the practices are improved. It should be considered before other measures are given a thought.
To improve prisoner rehabilitation, the rehabilitation programs should be designed in such a manner that they focus on the root cause of engaging in crime. The programs should also allow the criminals to learn from their mistakes and hence make personal decisions of deviating from crime and living normal lives (Allpoetry, n.d).
Parole is the early release of criminal offenders prior to the termination of their imprisonment term. It is usually accompanied by supervision and the prisoner usually makes promises of keeping some conditions as set by the parole board. It is associated with various benefits for instance it is cost effective, the individual on parole can contribute to the society, and the fact that it is a form of rehabilitation as it offers guidance in conjunction with supervision when the prisoners are released to the society.
Mandatory release on the other hand is the required release of a prisoner from imprisonment after a certain period, usually equal to his or her full sentence, minus time the individual has been considered to maintain good behaviour as stipulated by the parole guidelines or law. Parole allows for the appropriate and gradual reintegration of the offender into the society. The parole process entails some members of the parole board deciding who to be released depending on the seriousness of the offence committed, behaviour while at the institution among other factors. The parole system should allow for more effective tracking and supervision of the parolees to ensure that they behave accordingly (Mississippi Department of Corrections, 2011).
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Probation is a legal punishment that is provided as part of a sentence where the convicted offender is expected to report to a probation officer regularly instead of being jailed as it is for other forms of sentencing. The offender is however subject to critical examination and supervision. It is the period an individual goes through before he or she is entitled to freedom and in case he or she violates the stipulated conditions more strict rules may be imposed on the offender or worst still he or she may be subjected to imprisonment.
Probation and parole systems are different although they both involve supervision of the criminal offenders. Probation is for instance taken over by a judge while parole is granted by a parole board, and probation is also an alternative for prison while parole is a release of the criminal offenders from prison (Duelin, 2010).
Community corrections entail the different supervision practices that are undertaken towards the non violent criminal offenders. The principal goal of community corrections is usually to reintegrate the offenders into the society. It involves some judicial procedures that offer some alternatives to confinement for example parole, probation diversion program among others. It plays a very crucial role in the reduction of prison population hence making the management of prisons easier and efficient.
Community corrections often affects the society in which it is practiced in various ways for instance, it allows for easy absorption of the criminal offenders into the community avoiding any conflict that could arise where the society fear them and may even tend to treat them inappropriately out of fear. Community corrections also help in the reduction of crime in the society and people are able to live in harmony with each other since the law is under control. The hypothesis I would make in regard to community corrections and its overall effectiveness within the correctional system is; ‘Community corrections is a very crucial element of the correctional system and helps in the reduction of crime and prison population through effective handling of the criminal offenders (Hanser, 2009).
Different countries apply different prison systems and the systems in foreign countries are quite distinct from that in the United States of America. Prison systems in other countries are not as sophisticated as that in the US in terms of the prisoners handled and the types of crimes that are punishable. The US for instance has the most number of criminals behind bars. The prison system in other countries is not as effective as that in the US and the conditions for the prisoners are not conducive.
Other countries view imprisonment as a very negative aspect where people are meant to suffer for their mistakes rather than learning from them and the prisoners are treated in inhumane manner. Most alternatives to incarceration for instance community corrections are lacking leading to congestion in the prisons. If the United States was to adopt another country’s prison system, it would bring about conflicts and in most cases it wouldn’t work effectively for instance due to differences in the rates of crime and the seriousness or violence of the offences (Liptak, 2008).
Allpoetry (n.d). The Effects of Retribution, Deterrence, Rehabilitation, and Social Protection on American. Web.
Duelin, D. (2010). Concept of Probation in the Criminal Justice System. Web.
Hanser, D.R. (2009). Community Corrections. New Delhi: SAGE Publications Inc.
Liptak, A. (2008). Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations. Web.
Miller, G.J. (1989). The Debate on Rehabilitating Criminals: Is It True that Nothing Works? Web.
Mississippi Department of Corrections (2011). Guide for Victims of Crime – The Parole Process. Web.