Rehabilitation Issues within the Criminal Justice System
This research investigates the importance of rehabiliation as a central theme in criminal justice systems. Specifically, the research adrresses the question about whether rehabiliation is important in the first place, and the issues that prevent delivery of timely rehabiliation services to offenders. The research notes that while it is important to keep the public safe from offenders, it is also of critical importance to ensure that the offenders get a fair treatment within the confines of prison and come out of prison with the right mindset without slipping back to doing the crimes they used to commit. This research opinines that rehabilitation is not only necessary for its altrustic and moral importance, but also necessary for the benefits it brings to the individual offenders and the society at large.
Bratton, Jessica. "Current Issues in the Rehabilitation of Convicted Felons in Florida." 6 May
2013. Saratosa.usf.edu. Retrived on 21 November 2013 from
In this article, Bratton examines the rehabilitation efforts made in the state of Florida, and the issues that prevent smooth rehabilitation of convicted felons within the state. The author also gives an explanation on why rehabilitation needs to be given serious attention within the state. The author backs her case with statistics showing that 65 % of the convicted felons in Florida are repeat offenders, thus suggesting that felons released back to the society are not able to freely adapt to the life outside prison.
This article is appropriate to the study topic because it highlights some of the challenges that convicted felons encounter once released from prison. For example, the author shows that many of the felons lack proper education that would give them gainful employment outside prison. Again, the felons face job discrimination because their convictions make employers see them as high risk. This makes it hard for them to cope with life outside prison, and pushes them engage in other criminal acts. Therefore, it would be appropriate for the rehabilitation programs within the state, as well as other areas facing the same problem, to focus on increasing content knowledge of the convicted felons and give them the self-confidence that they need to overcome stigma.
Lastly, the article is unique in the sense that it is well-researched and balanced. For example, although the author advocates for serious emphasis on rehabilitation programs, she is also aware that the government has in the recent years lain off rehabilitation officers because prisons budget was becoming more than other priority areas such as education. In addition, the use of updated statistics buttresses the author’s argument.
Crow, Iain. The treatment and rehabilitation of offenders. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage, 2001.
In this book, Crow examines the development of criminal justice policy over the years. The author is particularly concerned with the fact that recent criminal policies have focused more on retribution and punishment. This has left rehabilitation on the sidelines of criminal justice. However, the author is optimistic that recent evidence showing that some of the things taught in the rehabilitation programs actually do work would be useful in giving rehabilitation the seriousness with which it deserves in criminal justice.
This book is useful to the research topic because it not only examines rehabilitation and its associated challenges, but also examines alternative means of dealing with offenders such as retribution and punishment. In addition, the author suggests the use of evidence- based policy making instead of making criminal justice policies without taking empirical research into account. This would eliminate guesswork and sensationalization while making policy decisions. The new paradigm is in tandem with wider social needs, which focus on reintegration rather than social exclusion.
This book is unique to the research topic because it presents a puritan and humane perspective to treating offenders. The author asserts that penal policies that concentrate on punishing offenders instead of offering treatment and rehabilitation are, indeed, unjust and amount to unfair denial of human rights. The emphasis on the use of evidence-based policy making differs slightly from other moral and evangelical dimensions that informed the use of rehabilitation in the early 20th century.
Ganong, Peter N. "Criminal rehabilitation, incapacitation, and aging." American Law and
Economics Review (2012): 14 (2), 391-424 .
In this journal article, the author examines the interesting relationship between aging, rehabilitation and incapacitation. From his study, the researcher finds that arrest rates decrease from the age of 17 onwards. Interestingly, contrary to the expectations of many people, the research findings indicate that increasing the prison time reduces recidivism rate. These findings support the new parole guidelines in Georgia that increased prison term for parole-eligible offenders. However, the researcher is quick to point out that increasing the prison terms for parole-eligible offenders may not prevent crime in future, but only serve to defer the crimes. Moreover, the researcher is keen to point out that the although an extra year in prison reduces recidivism by 6 percentage points, the cost of reducing recidivism is far much outweighed by cost of the additional incapacitation.
This article is useful to the research question for two reasons. First, the author goes beyond the moral motivation for locking up parole-eligible offenders to examine the cost implication of the extra period served in prison. Secondly, the researcher uses an econometric framework for examining the relationship between aging, incapacitation and rehabilitation.
In addition, this research article is unique and important to the study question on two aspects. First, the researcher uses a study methodology that is balanced, and does not overstate the benefits of incapacitation – unlike other methodologies used in previous studies. Secondly, the researcher uses a large sample, substantial variation in time served and micro-level cost data on recidivism, thus making the research gain validity and wide generalization.
Gebelein, Richard S. "The rebirth of rehabilitation: Promise and perils of drug courts."
Sentencing & Corrections 2 May 2000: 1-8.
In this article, the author examines the metamorphosis of rehabilitation in the criminal justice system over the second half of the 20th century. In the 1950’s rehabilitation appeared to be the primary goal of criminal justice systems. The reasoning behind this was that felons needed help (some needed medical help while others needed to develop skills that would enable them to get gainful employment). However, the enthusiasm of rehabilitating felons lost its luster beginning the 1970’s because the rehabilitation centers rehabilitated offenders without knowing why they had initially committed the crimes. As a result, crime and recidivism rates increased while at the same time correctional systems made efforts to rehabilitate offenders. These snarls up saw incapacitation take precedence over rehabilitation. According to the author, it was not until the 1980’s and the 1990’s when rehabilitation found its way back into centre of the criminal justice system. Recidivism among drug addicts was on the increase, and there was need to decongest the prison.
This article is suitable to the research because it gives an historical overview of rehabilitation, and why it is necessary to the current criminal justice system. More importantly, the article traces both the high and lows of the rehabilitation system during the second half of the 20th century.
Lastly, the article is unique and hence appropriate to the research topic because apart from giving a historical perspective of rehabilitation, it gives a functional example of the Delaware drug court. From the successes and failures of the Delaware drug court, other drug courts can be established using the model, albeit with adjustments to minimize failure.
Howells, Kevin and Andrew Day. "The rehabilitation of offenders: International perspectives
applied to Australian correctional systems." Australian Institute of Criminology May 1999: 1-6.
In this article, the researchers examine the motivation behind the resurgence of rehabilitation as a viable alternative to incarceration. The researches argue that there is a growing body of evidence that shows that rehabilitation can be effective in reducing recidivism. However, they are quick to caution that some rehabilitation programs work better than others. The researchers argue that there are three main components that contribute to effective rehabilitation outcomes. These include the characteristics of the program, characteristics of the offenders and the setting of the rehabilitation service. On the program characteristics, the authors argue that programs that are grounded in psychological theory and research stand to offer better outcomes than those that do not. In addition, the research argue, the program should be focused on the criminogenic needs of the offender. On the offender characteristics, the authors argue that programs that confer with the target areas of the offender are more likely to be successful than those that do not. Lastly, the authors advocate for the establishment of rehabilitation programs in community settings because they deliver better outcomes than those delivered in institutions.
This article is convenient for the research topic because the authors go beyond the debate about whether rehabilitation is appropriate or not to examine the best way to maximize rehabilitation outcomes. Moreover, the authors take time to explicate each of the three main factors that influence rehabilitation outcomes. In addition, the article is unique to the research topic because it takes into account the criminogenic needs of the offender that may lead to recidivism in future.
Murray, Iain. "Making rehabilitation work: American experience of rehabilitating prisoners."
2 December 2002. civitas.org.uk. Retrived on 21 November 2013 from
In this article, the researcher examines the differences between U.S. and Britain in terms of rehabilitation. It is evident that the two countries treat rehabilitation efforts differently. While Britain recognizes the role of rehabilitation in reducing recidivism, the same thing cannot be said about the U.S. Many states remained non-committal on the establishment of rehabilitation programs. Probably, this could be as a result of the “Nothing Works” study carried out by Robert Martinson in 1967. According to the study, Martison showed that rehabilitation had no significant effect on recidivism. This study was followed by another one that did not dispute or endorse Martinson’s research. The net effect of this research studies was that rehabilitation programs in the U.S. were either established due to altruistic reasons or because the prisons were becoming overcrowded day by day.
First, this study is appropriate to the research topic because it considers the recognition of rehabilitation in criminal justice system in two countries: the U.S. and Britain. Secondly, the study provides statistics on recidivism rates in the U.S. For example, in the year 1994, 67.5 % of the felons were re-arrested for committing new offences. Moreover, 47 % of the former felons got reconvicted for new crimes. For car thieves, 79 % of those released committed similar crimes, for dealers in stolen property, 77 % of the felons committed the same crime within three after release, and for burglars 74 % of them committed the same offense after release from prison. The research is unique in the sense that it advocates for rehabilitation programs that would consider individual motivation for committing crimes rather than generalizing recidivism.
Raynor, Peter and Gwen Robinson. "Why help offenders? Arguments for rehabilitation as a penal strategy ." European Journal of Probation (2009): 1 (1), 3-20 .
This article traces the debate surrounding the two main antagonists in the development of international penal systems. On one hand, there is a shift in many countries towards a system that advocates for retribution as a means of satisfying the perceived public demand, while on the other hand there is another group that advocates for probation services as a means of helping offenders out of crime. Proponents of the former focus on the use of retribution and punishment because anything short of that is tantamount to being soft on crime. On the other hand, opponents of such moves opine that human rights of the offenders should also be prioritized – in line with global prospects of maintaining law and order without placing unnecessarily punishing the citizens. For this reason, the researchers argue that there is need for a utilitarian approach to criminal justice, which will focus on the societal gains that can be made from dealing with offenders in a manner that is likely to reduce their offending and contribute to the general good of the society.
This article is of importance to the research topic because it makes a case for rehabilitation using a utilitarian approach, which is a relatively new perspective in the criminal justice system. In addition, the article considers rehabilitation as a human right in line with rights, needs and treatment of convicted offenders. When all these things are put into consideration, the researcher argues, it is only logical to establish rehabilitation services for the benefits the services offer to potential victims and the wider community as a whole.
Robinson, Gwen and Iain D Crow. Offender rehabilitation: Theory, research and practice.
Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage , 2009.
In this book, the authors establish some clarity on what rehabilitation entails, how it has been applied and with which consequences. The authors also examine where rehabilitation stands in the early years of 21st century, together with the theoretical, historical, and methodological contexts of rehabilitation. The authors argue that rehabilitation gets out of fashion depending on the politics of the day. Another issue that the authors bring to light is the fact that rehabilitation means different things to different people. For example, some people observe rehabilitation as a form of punishment while others see it as an alternative to punishment. To others, rehabilitation is something that follows punishment. Despite of these conflicting points of views, one thing is common: rehabilitation is a process that involves restoration of an individual to the normal level. However, it is interesting to note that criminological theories view the offender in a different light. Most criminology theories view the offender as someone who bears responsibility for the choices and decisions that they make. This in effect means that criminological theories advocate a retributive criminal justice system that punishes the offender.
This book is appropriate to the research topic because the authors trace the rapid changes of rehabilitation and criminal justice policy. Additionally, the book gives a contemporary practical application to rehabilitation. The model transcends other medical models of rehabilitation, although it is grounded on the history of rehabilitation and criminal justice. Moreover, the book is appropriate to the study topic because the authors have longstanding experience in the fields of criminal justice and social policy.
Samaha, Joel. Criminal justice. Stamford, CT: Cengage , 2005.
In this book, the author examines the ideological controversy involved in the establishment of rehabilitation programs. The author traces the controversy to different pieces of research, which advocate for and against rehabilitation. On one side of the debate, retributionists argue that rehabilitation does not work, while on the other side of the debate, rehabilitationists argue that treatment actually works. Those against rehabilitation borrow a lot from Robert Martinson’s research of 1967 that suggested that rehabilitating prisoners does not reduce recidivism rates. They, therefore, advocate for incapacitation, which keeps the prisoners’ busy while at the same time keeping them out of more trouble. However, those advocating for rehabilitation argue that such measures do not guarantee that the prisoners would turn to be law abiding citizens. Therefore, the proponents of rehabilitation advocate constructive measures that would better the lives of the inmates in a manner such that they would not turn into crime in the near future. However, those against rehabilitation oppose such measures arguing that offenders should be punished and removed from the streets.
They argue that rehabilitation is an attempt to act soft on crime. On the contrary, proponents of rehabilitation argue that such measures would fill up the prisons, lead to congestion within the prisons and cost the public more money. Moreover, the incapacitation would not deal with the root cause of the crime and deal with it. Incapacitation as a means to deterring crimes, they argue, is not enough.
This book is helpful to the research topic because the author examines the historical perspective of rehabilitation, and both sides of the debate. The author goes back in time to the 19 century when parole became an established part of the criminal justice system all the way to the World War II when probation centers were established to forgive minor offences.
Ward, Tony. "Good lives and the rehabilitation of offenders promises and problems."
Aggresion and Violent Behavior (2002): 7, 513-528.
In this article, the author notes that there has been a fundamental shift in the manner in which rehabilitation is viewed nowadays. Centuries ago, the common position was that nothing works, and rehabilitation does not reduce recidivism. However, this position has changed in the last couple of years, and now there is a consensus that some treatment strategies indeed reduce recidivism. The author notes that the treatment approach is particularly dominant in the correctional facilities. The success of this approach is partially attributable to the fact that the dynamic risk factors associated with recidivism are targeted using the treatment approach. Additionally, the treatment approach assesses the offender level of risk, and this informs the type of treatment delivered to the offender.
This article is useful to the research topic because the author proposes a new model that has the conceptual resources to deal with the four issues that many rehabilitation models do not look at. These four issues include: the benefits of adopting positive approach to treatment, the association between risk management and good lives, the preconditions involved in therapy and the impact of the therapist’s attitude towards offenders. The Good Lives Model proposed by the author has the capacity to deal with the issues listed in a clinical useful and theoretically coherent manner.