Probation And Parole Essay, Research Paper
Prison inmates are some of the most “maladjusted” people in society. Most of these inmates have had too little discipline or too much, come from broken homes, and/or have little or no self-esteem. They are very insecure and are ” at war with themselves as well as with society.” (Szumski 20) Most inmates did not learn moral values or learn to follow everyday norms. Also, when most lawbreakers are labeled criminals, they enter the phase of secondary deviance. They will admit they are criminals or believe it when they enter the phase of secondary deviance. (Doob 171) Next, some believe that if we want to rehabilitate criminals we must do more than just send them to prison. For example, we could give these inmates a chance to obtain job skills; which will improve the chances these inmates have in becoming productive citizens in the community. The programs must aim to change those who want to change. Those who are taught to produce useful goods and to be productive are ” likely to develop the self-esteem essential to a normal, integrated personality.”(Szumski 21) This kind of program would provide skills and habits and “replace the sense of hopelessness.” That so many inmates have. (Szumski 34)
Another technique used to rehabilitate criminals is counseling. There are two types of counseling in general, individual and group counseling. Individual counseling is much more costly the group counseling. The aim of group counseling is to develop positive peer pressure that will influence its members. One idea expressed in many sociology textbooks is that group problem solving has definite advantages over individual problem solving. The idea is that a wider variety of solutions can be derived by drawing from the experience of a group of people with different backgrounds. Also,
one individuals problem might have already been solved by another group member and can be suggested. Often if a peer proposes a solution it carries more weight than if the group counselor were to suggest it. (Bennett 20-24)
Also, in the idea that sociology and criminal justice work hand and hand, one of the major theories of delinquency is differential association. (Cressey 1995) This means some people learned their ways from “undesirable” people who they were forced to be in association with and that this association “warps” their thinking and social attitudes. “Group counseling, group interaction, and other kinds of group activities can provide a corrective, positive experience that might help to offset their earlier criminal behavior.” (Bennett 25) On the other hand, it is said that group counseling can do little to destroy the power of labeling. The differential association theory emphasizes that a person is more likely to become a criminal if the people who have the most influence and greatest impact on them are themselves criminals. (Doob 25)
Most of today’s correctional facilities lack the ability and programs to rehabilitate the criminals that are placed in them. One can predict that a prisoner held for two, eight, or 20 years and then released back into society, without an education, will not fair well in the normal functioning social community. One example of this is a released convict might not be as open or show emotion because they want to appear “tough.” Also, one might not express their opinions openly because they do not want to come off like a “snitch”. It is clearly evident to anyone in the correction business that without these
resources, a prisoner re-introduced into society will have an extremely difficult time adjusting to the norms of society.
Another type of correctional center used for rehabilitation is known as halfway houses. Halfway houses are usually located in residential areas and are aimed at keeping offenders in the community. The rationale behind these types of houses is that criminal activity originates in the community, so the community has a responsibility to try to correct it. Also, sending a person who has deviant behavior and who had been associated with criminal influences, to prison would just make the problem worse (Fox 61). “The best place for treatment is in the community; this prevents the breaking of all constructive social ties” (Fox 61). Programs in halfway houses usually involve work release or study release and group sessions for therapy and counseling. Most programs vary greatly depending on the administrator. Generally, the purpose is to “reintegrate” members back into the community. There are three systems generally used in programs and in the process; “change by compliance, client-centered change, and change by credibility in that it makes sense.” (Fox 73). The compliance model is designed to make good work habits. The client-centered model focuses on a high understanding of the person. The credibility model emphasizes making decisions and getting back into the community. These programs are made to avoid institutions as much as possible (Fox 73). On the other hand, many inmates think the government does not want to rehabilitate criminals. The reason behind this thinking is that prisons supply thousands of jobs to the economy. Also, the construction of new prisons brings millions of dollars into the economy each year and if
there were no new prisons needed it would mean the loss of thousands of jobs (Szumski 24-26).
In conclusion, things need to be done to improve rehabilitation in America. Improvement in job training, counseling, and halfway houses for rehabilitation must be brought to the forefront by citizens. If we do not get involved and try to make changes, our crime problem could worsen beyond control.