Correctional program is a planned undertaking which addresses factors connected/related to offender’s criminal behavior. It helps in assisting in the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as responsible citizens who are law are abiding. This can be achieved by making them provide programs in the prison and in the community. (Bonta 2007)
Some of the correctional programs are community based. They are supervised to deal with convicted people and does not base its operation in cases of confinement of the prisoners. Some of the commonly used methods of community correction include Parole and probation. There has been an expansion in the way the program is run to include systems like day fine programs, electronic monitoring, boot camp prisons, curfews, drug checks and alcohol checks. However, all these methods must involve some form of trust between the offenders and the people involved in the correction program. The community based correction programs helps in reducing congestion in jails and also isolating people convicted with minor cases from the hard core criminals. This will help prevent the light offenders from indulging in activities which can have an impact in their overall life both in prison and after prison. (Bonta 2007)
The community based correctional programs was first tried in the 1970s. They offer an alternative to confinement within the prison locality. This was attributed to the fact that many offenders did not need confinement in the high security walls of the prison cells. The facilities located in neighborhood gave the offenders a chance to reunite with their family members and at the same time undergoing s rehabilitation program. This system also assisted in changing the behavior of the offenders as counseling, training and general instruction in basic living skills was integrated into the program. (Levenson 2000)
The community based supervision program gives the offenders a chance to live at home and serve their jail terms from home but with some form of restrictions. The restrictions can be low, medium or maximum depending on the nature of offence and the king of offender that is being dealt with. In most cases, the offenders taken care of under this system are the non-violent offenders who are not likely to cause harm to the society when serving their jail terms. The community based alternatives to conviction in prisons has proved to be more effective than the traditional prisons that most offenders are subjected to. They are also known to be cheaper to the government than the prisons and jails. (Hare, 1995)
In many countries the reliance on community based correctional programs have been on the increase. This has been attributed to the fact that there is a rising offender population and the prisons are becoming overcrowded day by day. This initiative is therefore taken by the governments to ensure decongest the prisons. Rehabilitation is the primary legislative mandated goal of the community based corrective institutions.(Pat 1997)
Models used but the United States for community corrections
The United States uses two models for community based corrections. The models are:
i. Integrated community corrections program
This model (also known as front end) uses both sentencing guidelines and judicial prudence. There is also a series of parole and probation options that come along with this model. This system helps reduce congestion in the prisons. (Lony,2002)
ii. Using alternative sanction.
This system gives the correctional officials the power to direct already sentenced offenders into alternative sanction options. This system helps reduce congestion in prison as the terms are served in alternative locations.
Goals of community based corrections program
The community corrections program seeks to achieve the following goals.
i. Protecting public safety: This is to ensure that whenever the offenders are brought to the society, they do not cause any form of public mayhem or unrest.
ii. Increasing community service work: The offenders are involved in community work thus bringing about development to the community in which they are operating in.
iii. The offender is punished and held accountable for the offence committed: During the time the offender is jailed, he/she will be made to realize the mistakes committed as he/she is engaged in the corrective measures.
iv. Increase in collection of court costs due to the agreements with the offenders who remain in their present jobs while serving their jail terms: The offenders will be able to continue dong their current jobs as they serve their term. This will give the courts a source of revenue a the offender will be paying some set amount of money during the time he/she is serving the term.
v. Local communities and the victims receive compensation from the offenders who work in their present jobs: Whenever a person commits a crime, the offended or the victim is likely to be compensated by the offender as he will still be in work.
Community corrections services
These services are provided for by the Regional Health Authorities to young people who have committed a crime against the law or are at a risk of committing the same.
Functions of the Youth Correction Social Workers
i. Provide supervision to youth serving a variety of court ordered sentences: They will ensure that what the offenders do is in line with the requirements of the law.
ii. Preparation of reports used by the Youth Justice Court: They will give a guideline to the courts on the current situation and help in determining cases for the offenders.
iii. Get involved in professional social work assessments: They will be assessing the work performed by the offenders if they are up to standards and at the same time help in determining if there is any form of correction being received by the convicted criminal.
iv. Service planning: They are charged with the responsibility of assigning jobs to the offenders.
v. Organizing for individual, family and group counseling: During the rehabilitation program, they will conduct counseling services to the offenders and try to persuade them to change their wicked ways of life.
vi. Assist in community mobilization: they help to mobilize the community on the kind of services to be offered and at the same time help to inform the community at large on the problems caused by being involved in wayward behaviors.
vii. Assist in program development: They are charged with the responsibility of scheduling activities during the rehabilitation program.
Some of the sentences served by offenders in this program include:
i. Work for community also known as community service order.
ii. Work for a victim also known as Personal service order.
iii. Custody and supervision order.
iv. Supervised probation.
v. Deferred Custody and supervision order.
The staff charged with the responsibilities of taking care of the probates can also help in offering counseling services to the youths who may be at a risk of having some conflict with the law.
Objectives of the community based correction programs
i. Ensure that the offenders who are under court order are constantly and sufficiently supervised while considering the safety of the public. This is to ensure that they do not do anything to harm the public.
ii. Ensuring that the principle of the least restrictive level is observed when administering the sentence.
iii. Ensure that the family of the offender is involved at all stages during the intervention process.
iv. Ensure that the sentence of the offender is fulfilled according to the youth justice court. The sentence should be constantly reviewed as the circumstances of the young person may change.
v. Provision of custodial resources and community based resources which are used to meet the sentencing needs of the youth justice courts.
vi. Ensuring the availability of community based and custodial services in the nearby locality.
Rehabilitation is the process of helping a person to gain his/her original level of lifestyle. It can be aimed at achieving the highest level of independence and quality of life. Rehabilitation has been used as a corrective mechanism to offenders especially the young ones so that they can have a better life. Rehabilitation does not reserve or undo a damage caused by a particular kind of action but tries to make the individual adapt to the new changes hence living a responsible and an admirable life. (Pat 1997)
Rehabilitation is a very important aspect in the community based corrective program. It helps in correcting the behavior of the offenders in a very effective way. During rehabilitation, offenders are subjected to some conditions that will help them stop their wicked ways of life. Rehabilitation helps in taming wayward behavior and at the same time helps in making the offender responsible people in the society.
Youths are always found on the wrong side of the law due to the high number of crimes that they cause. Rehabilitation is usually used to correct behaviors like drug and substance abuse, sexual addiction and other minor offences that may be a routine practice to an individual.
The United States is known to have established the highest number of rehabilitation centers in the world. People do not live in the institutions providing the rehabilitation services but they live in their community. The rehabilitation process is done when they are in their communities so as to have a smooth form of integration between the people being rehabilitated and their communities.
During rehabilitation, criminals are electronically monitored, placed on strict curfews and forced to undergo mandatory rehabilitation exercises. The offenders can be subjected to strict conditions including:
i. Mandatory involvement in the rehabilitation and educational programs in the institution which will ensure that they transform their behavior.
ii. Restrictions on associations: Whereby associations is prohibited especially amongst people with similar history of offense.
iii. All time electronic monitoring which will ensure that none of the offenders posses any threat to the community that they are living in.
iv. Restrictions on travel and behavior: This will ensure that an offender does not escape the wrath of the rehabilitation exercises by moving away from the place he has been assigned to.
v. Completion of some given part of community service work: This will help the offender become responsible people in the community who can be involved in providing services to the community. It also helps in bringing about developments to the community as free community services are offered by the offenders.
vi. Ban on alcohol consumption: this will help in rehabilitating drug addicts so that they can learn on how to live without the influences of the alcohol.
vii. Random breath tests and urinalysis: This will help determine the presence of alcohol in the system or if a given offender is using some form of banned drugs during the time they are in rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation is very important when it comes to community based corrective activities. It helps the individuals have a better way of handling issues in their daily activities. However, rehabilitation has the following shortcomings.
i. There are no evident scientific research to show how different individuals may react to the same rehabilitating methods. This means that the reactions are likely to be different.
ii. It may depend on an individual’s psychological background for his/her motives of committing a crime
iii. A rehabilitation program may prove to be very costly to undertake thus making its successful implementation very hard.
iv. It must refer to sociological findings which may be very complex to relate with and give a comprehensive report.
There are several ways of reducing crimes in the society. Crime is better prevented than controlled. It is therefore upon the government to put up mechanisms that can be used to ensure that crimes are controlled before they erupt. (Ryan, 2009)
The main function of this aspect of reducing offending includes:
1. Promoting a less criminal society: Achieved through preventing the development of criminality and putting up mechanisms for situational crime prevention in order to prevent any crime related opportunity.
2. Preventing crime in the community:: This is achieved by acting on the social conditions which may sustain crime in the residential communities. This can be through implementing police strategies for reducing crime
3. Criminal justice interventions: This through extending the use of effective interventions with offenders and the drug addicts.
Community based corrective programs is a very useful initiative which comes with a handful of advantages. It is better than the traditional prison confinement as it gives the offenders an opportunity to become responsible people in the society as a result of the community services that they have to offer. This system is also friendly as opposed to the harsh conditions in the prisons. Some prisoners end up dying while in prisons. Many governments and local authorities are switching to this kind of system as it not only brings development to the community but also reduce congestion in the prisons. Rehabilitation programs also help the drug addicts to overcome the vice without facing problems during the transition period. (Harris, 2006)
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