There are two main philosophies regarding crime and corrections: rehabilitation (trying to help reform prisoners so they don’t reoffend) and punishment (giving consequences to those who offend as punishment and also a deterrent against future criminals). Based on what the book says, would you say the US has historically had a rehabilitative or punitive approach to crime? Do you see this continuing or changing, based on current issues and trends? Defend your position with at least 3 historical policies and one current trend.
I have the slightest clue when it comes to corrections, but what I do know, is that prisons are getting more people than what the facilities can keep up with. Based on what the book says, at first it seems the US had a punishment approach to crime and corrections. The book draws this inference back to the eighteenth century. If acts of hate/evil occurred, in return, the person would get crucial punishments for them. However, the way crime was being handled changed with time. People began to grow conscious of preventing crimes from happening again rather than focusing more on punishing those for the crime. Thus, prisons were for the purpose of putting away the “bad” people as a way to prevent the crime from happening again. Crime and corrections took a change during the nineteenth century when a man named John Augustus thought of a great idea to help those in prison. Augustus developed what we know as probation today. This sought to help those in prison get fair justice based on the extent of the crime, bail, and seek help such as rehab. So it seemed the crime and corrections system was taking a turn for the better. However, society looked at these people as objects when they experimented with them through sterilization. There was also a growing concern that the trend of prisoners were minorities, colored people, and women and children. So now, it’s back to the punishment approach to crime. In today’s time, I feel there is a balance with the approach to crime just because there are more resources offered today for rehabilitation purposes.
Based on current issues and trends, I think policies are good to have because it provides structure to society. However, I also feel that policies give too much structure and clash with the various systems going on. This could explain why correction facilities are being overfilled with people. I truly believe when someone does something horribly wrong then they should lose their rights, but I believe there should be some consistency in punishment. There is a trend going on with the number of people in jail increasing as the years increase and the problem with that is the cost significantly increases.
Karger, H. J., & Stoesz, D. (2013). American social welfare policy: A pluralist approach (7th ed.). New York: Allyn & Bacon.