Even the briefest glimpse into the realm of our country’s criminal justice organization reveals that efforts for criminal correction and rehabilitation constitute a significant portion of this country’s government and legal system. And while several different theories and approaches exist when it comes to considering how to provide a solution to the dilemma of repeated criminal activity, there is little doubt that criminal correction and rehabilitation is an essential component in maintaining a positive and crime-free society.
The most basic and integral concepts that drive the system of criminal correction and rehabilitation can be divided into three main categories: community safety, community restoration, and prevention of re-offense. When someone has committed a crime that has damaged a community and threatened its residents, the greatest priority is to re-establish a sense of security to an environment and send a message –to both citizens and would-be offenders – that no crime will go unpunished.
Things get a bit more complex when dealing with the principal of correcting and rehabilitating criminals. The greatest dilemma in trying to decide what is the most effective way to deal with criminals once they’ve been caught is the relative mystery in the world of criminal justice as to why certain individuals demonstrate criminal behavior in the first place. For every school of thought that stands strongly behind a method in correcting and rehabilitating criminal behavior (whether through psychological investigation, imprisonment, or more experimental techniques), there exists a vocal detractor of said approaches.
It is not without reason that the topic of criminal correction and rehabilitation is such a highly debated topic. Recent studies have revealed that one in every 31 adults (roughly 7.3 million Americans) is in prison, on parole, or on probation. The cost of criminal correction spending was at $47 billion in 2008, and greatly outpaced budget growth in other areas such as education, transportation, and public assistance. These studies also indicated that the increased number of individuals in some form of correctional control also correlated with crime rates that had declined by roughly 25 percent during the past two decades.
Education has played a significant role in helping to drive these numbers. Through the implementation of education, society as a whole has learned the importance of keeping the laws as well as promoting less discriminatory behavior towards ex-criminals. Education within prisons has also ensured that prisoners are able to stay sharp and develop skills that are applicable to the outside world while they serve their sentences. This is maintained through rehabilitation that promotes literacy, psychological counseling, and assessment.
While criminal correction and rehabilitation remains a controversial topic within the criminal justice system, it remains an essential facet in keeping our society safe and free of crime.