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Prisons Essay Research Paper REHABILITATION OF CRIMINALS

Prisons Essay, Research Paper REHABILITATION OF CRIMINALS IN AMERICA Prison inmates, are some of the most maladjustedX people in society. Most of the inmates have had too little

Prisons Essay, Research Paper

REHABILITATION OF CRIMINALS IN AMERICA

Prison inmates, are some of the most maladjustedX

people in society. Most of the inmates have had too little

discipline or too much, some come from broken homes, and

have no self-esteem. They are very insecure and are at war

with themselves as well as with societyX (Szumski 20). Most

inmates did notlearn moral values or learn to follow

everyday norms. Also, when most lawbreakers are labeled as

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 instance, we could

give them a chance to acquire job skills; which will improve

thechances that inmates will become productive citizens upon

release. The programs must aim to change thosewho want to

change. Those who are taught to produce useful goods and to

be productive are |likely todevelop the self-esteem

essential to a normal, integrated personalityX (Szumski 21).

This kind ofprogram would provide skills and habits and

|replace the sense of hopelessnessX that many inmates

have(Szumski 21). Moreover, another technique used to

rehabilitate criminals is counseling. There is two types of

counseling in general, individual and group counseling.

Individual counseling is much more costly thangroup

counseling. The aim of group counseling is to develop

positive peer pressure that will influenceits members. One

idea in many sociology text 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 fromthe experience of several people with different

backgrounds. Also one individuals problem might havealready

been solved by another group member and can be suggested.

Often if a peer proposes a solution itcarries more weight

than if the counselor were to suggest it (Bennett 20-24).

Further, in sociology, one of the major theories of

delinquency is differential association(Cressey 1955). This

means some people learned their ways from |undesirableX

people who they were forcedto be in association with and

that this association |warpsX their thinking and social

attitudes. |Group counseling, group interaction, and other

kinds of group activities can provide a corrective,

positiveexperience that might help to offset the earlier

delinquent associationX (Bennett 25). However, it issaid

that group counseling can do little to destroy the power of

labeling (Bennett 26). The differential-association theory

emphasizes that a person is more likely to become a criminal

if thepeople who have the greatest influence upon them are

criminals (Doob 169). Most of today+s correctional

institutions lack the ability and programs to rehabilitate

thecriminals of America. One can predict that a prisoner

held for two, four, eight or ten years, thenreleased , still

with no education or vocational skills will likely return to

a life of crime. Oftentheir life in crime will resume in

weeks after their release. Although the best prisons and

programs inthe world will not cure the problem totally,

improvements still must be made (Szumski 20). Prison

inmates, are some of the most |maladjustedX people in

society. Most of the inmates havehad too little discipline

or too much, come from broken homes, and have no

self-esteem. They are veryinsecure and are |at war with

themselves as well as with societyX (Szumski 20). Most

inmates did notlearn moral values or learn to follow

everyday norms. Also, when most lawbreakers are labeled

criminalsthey enter the phase of secondary deviance. They

will admit they are criminals or believe it when theyenter

the phase of secondary deviance (Doob 171). Next, some

believe that if we want to rehabilitate criminals we must do

more than just send themto prison. For instance, we could

give them a chance to acquire job skills; which will improve

thechances that inmates will become productive citizens upon

release. The programs must aim to change thosewho want to

change. Those who are taught to produce useful goods and to

be productive are |likely todevelop the self-esteem

essential to a normal, integrated personalityX (Szumski 21).

This kind ofprogram would provide skills and habits and

|replace the sense of hopelessnessX that many inmates

have(Szumski 21). Moreover, another technique used to

rehabilitate criminals is counseling. There is two types of

counseling in general, individual and group counseling.

Individual counseling is much more costly thangroup

counseling. The aim of group counseling is to develop

positive peer pressure that will influenceits members. One

idea in many sociology text 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 fromthe experience of several people with different

backgrounds. Also one individuals problem might havealready

been solved by another group member and can be suggested.

Often if a peer proposes a solution itcarries more weight

than if the counselor were to suggest it (Bennett 20-24).

Further, in sociology, one of the major theories of

delinquency is differential association(Cressey 1955). This

means some people learned their ways from |undesirableX

people who they were forcedto be in association with and

that this association |warpsX their thinking and social

attitudes. |Group counseling, group interaction, and other

kinds of group activities can provide a corrective,

positiveexperience that might help to offset the earlier

delinquent associationX (Bennett 25). However, it issaid

that group counseling can do little to destroy the power of

labeling (Bennett 26). The differential-association theory

emphasizes that a person is more likely to become a criminal

if thepeople who have the greatest influence upon them are

criminals (Doob 169). Most of today+s correctional

institutions lack the ability and programs to rehabilitate

thecriminals of America. One can predict that a prisoner

held for two, four, eight or ten years, thenreleased , still

with no educationling, there is disadvantages. For instance,

members of the group mightnot be as open or show emotion

because they want to appear |tough.X Also the members might

not expresstheir opinions openly because the others might

see it as |snitching.X For the group to work it takes

adedicated counselor (Bennett 22-23). Another type of

correctional center used for rehabilitation is halfway

houses. Halfway housesare usually located in residential

communities and are aimed to keep offenders in the

community. The name comes from the fact that they are

|halfway between the community and the prisonX (Fox 60). The

|rationaleX behind halfway houses is that criminal activity

originates in the community, sothe community has a

responsibility to try to correct it. Also, sending a person

who has deviant behaviorand who has been associated with

criminal influences, to prison would just make the problem

worse (Fox61). |The best place for treatment is in the

community; this prevents the breaking of all

constructivesocial tiesX (Fox 61). Programs in halfway

houses usually involve work release or study release and

group sessions fortherapy and counseling. Most programs vary

greatly depending on the administrator. Generally,

thepurpose is to |reintegrateX 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 inthat it

makes sense.X (Fox 73). The compliance model is designed to

make good work habits. Theclient-centered model focuses on a

high understanding of the person. The credibility model

emphasizesmaking decisions and getting back into the

community. These programs are made to avoid institutions

asmuch 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 nonew prisons needed

it would mean the loss of thousands of jobs (Szumski 24-26).

Henry Abernathy andinmate in Texas said |just think what a

catastrophe it would cause if all cons across the country

decidednever to commit another crime.X Richard Cepulonis, an

inmate in Massachusetts said just the title|Department of

CorrectionsX is a |misnomerX he said |they don+t correct

anything.X In conclusion, things need to be done to improve

rehabilitation in America. Improvements in jobtraining,

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.

Works Cited

Szumski, Bonnie. America+s Prisons Opposing Viewpoints.

Greenhaven Press, Inc.: 1985.

Doob, Christopher.Sociology: An Introduction. Harcourt Brace

& Company, United States: 1994.

Bennett, Lawrence. Counseling in Correctional Environments.

New York: New York, 1978.

Fox, Vernon. Community-Based Corrections. Englewood Cliffs:

New Jersey, 1977

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