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Autor: anton 04 November 2010
Words: 1636 | Pages: 7
"The history of correctional thought and practice has been marked by enthusiasm for new approaches, disillusionment with these approaches, and then substitution of yet other tactics"(Clear 59). During the mid 1900s, many changes came about for the system of corrections in America. Once a new idea goes sour, a new one replaces it. Prisons shifted their focus from the punishment of offenders to the rehabilitation of offenders, then to the reentry into society, and back to incarceration. As times and the needs of the criminal justice system changed, new prison models were organized in hopes of lowering the crime rates in America. The three major models of prisons that were developed were the medical, model, the community model, and the crime control model.
The medical model is the model of corrections based on the assumption that criminal behavior is caused by social, psychological, or biological deficiencies that require treatment (Clear 53). This model of corrections aimed at treating the illness of criminals with hopes that once released, the offender will be cured of their ailment and will not re-offend. In 1929, the idea of institutions aimed at rehabilitation as the primary purpose were introduced into America. It was thought that this would be easy to achieve because prisons already existed and the only adjustment would be to add programs to diagnose and treat patients. In theory this model seemed to be a perfect solution. Unfortunately, this program was unsuccessful in the long run because of budget problems and the lack of proper testing.
This model of corrections had an excellent goal in helping criminals to recover from whatever caused them to commit crimes. The positive side of this program is twofold. First the program would help the ill to recover and secondly it was supposed to stop the criminal from re-offending. Although this program seems to be a great idea there are also downfalls to the idea. The main problem with this program is how you would evaluate the persons illness. For example, if someone was caught stealing or selling drugs, how do you determine that they have some sort of fixable problem or illness? Maybe they were just hungry or wanted money and there is nothing wrong with them that can be treated psychologically. Another example of a problem with this system is how would be how to examine when a serial killer was considered mentally ready to reenter society and not re-offend. Some people may not have a psychological disorder that put them in prison and others may never recover from their illness. This program is a good idea if combined with other forms of punishment as well.
The next big idea in the system of corrections was the idea of the community model. This model was created during the 1960s after movements such as the Civil Rights Movement, the war on poverty, and the resistance to the Vietnam war showed that social and political values have a major impact on the criminal justice system. The community model of corrections was based on the assumption that the criminal justice system should aim at reintegrating the offender into the community(Clear 56). This model of corrections focused on alternatives to incarceration such as probation or parole. Officials felt that prisons were to be avoided because they were artificial institutions that interfered with the offender's ability to develop a crime free lifestyle(Clear 56). Many thought that incarceration was a negative influence on criminals because it took away the skills needed to successfully become a part of society once released. Under this program, an offender would work with a counselor to find a job, and money so that they were not left to the streets. When their sentence was up, they may be put in a half way house for monitoring how well they were adapting to society. This system failed during the 1970s when determinate sentencing was reestablished. The idea may have been more of a success if it had been adequately tested. This idea is also a good concept if combined with other forms of punishment.
This model in theory is also an excellent idea. Many criminals re-offend after they are released because they were put back into society with no money and no job and no place to live. Gradually allowing criminals to reenter society and helping them to find jobs will put many on the right track. This program allows people a second chance and the possibility to change their lives around. This program seems to be a necessity yet it will not work for everyone. Not all criminals should be let out on the street again. Just because you give a murderer a job and some money and secure them a place to stay, you have no idea whether they have the desire to kill again . This program would work for those that were ready to reenter society and would be extremely beneficial to those who have nothing on the outside to help them.
The third aim at bettering the system of corrections in America was the idea of the crime control model. The crime control model was based on the assumption that criminal behavior can be controlled by more use of incarceration and other forms of strict supervision (Clear 57). This new model was designed with the intent to incarcerate prisoners for longer periods of time. Under this program the death penalty was reinstated in thirty-seven states. This model was thought to have worked best for violent offenders such as drug dealers and murderers. It seems as though this program was created to scare people from committing a crime because of the strict punishment that would occur. This system had no intention of rehabilitating a criminal or to assist them in reentry into society. For the most part, this system is currently used in America today. It was kept because crime rates began to drop and officials felt that the model of corrections was the cause.
This model of corrections has a positive affect in scaring some from committing crimes but not all. It may reduce the rate or crime but just how harsh is this policy. All people whether criminals or not deserve some basic rights. Will this program take away these people's right? Again, this program will only work for some people. It is a positive aspect to have harsh punishment for those who need it but it may not be necessary for all.
As we go through the 21st century we need to think about the best way to deal with crime in the world and what we can do to correct it. We need a new system in America. The best way to deal with issues involving criminal punishment would be to combine all three of these models of correction. Each system had some good ideas but combined together they would be most effective.
All prisoners should have the opportunity for some sort of therapy if they chose to have it. Some criminals may need help dealing with issues that caused them to commit crimes. Therapy and some sort of diagnosing should be given to every criminal. If they are diagnosed as a normal person then they would serve their time and then be released back into society. Those who need help should be given the help. Those who for instance are cold hearted killers and wish to receive no help should just be left in prison to suffer. If someone truly regrets the crime they have committed they will seek out help and that help should be available to them.
The community model should be a required program in all prisons. We have seen or heard stories where people ended up back in jail because there was no where else to go. Once time is served and proper treatment is given, inmates on the verge of release should be required to meet with a counselor to get a job and to find some money if they have no one on the outside willing to help them. If someone has a job to go back to and people to help support them while they are getting back on their feet, they should be required to check in with someone every now and then to make sure they are on the right track. Half way homes are also a good idea to keep so those who have no where to live can stay their to find a suitable place to live or to allow gradual reentry to those who have been locked up for extended periods of time.
We also need to keep the crime control model. Criminals need to be punished to some extent. Depending on the severity of the crime, the punishment should fit. This does not mean that we should lock up a murderer in complete solitude and never allow them someone to talk to or a counselor. Harsher crimes do deserve harsher punishments. This model would pretty much stay the same except that the other models of corrections would be intertwined with it to further improve the criminal justice system.
Both the medical model and the community model were great attempts to better our system of corrections. There major problems were that they did not consider all of the options and the problems that may occur. Combing these three systems seems like it would work because it gives people the opportunities they need while still satisfying the public's safety in incarcerating them to pay for their crime. Crime will never be completely abolished because people have a free will to act as they wish and some people are just evil. Even though crime will probably never be fully ended, we should may every attempt possible to rehabilitate those who have previously offended to prevent them from re-offending.
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