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Essay on Rehabilitation Vs Incarceration Research

Arrest, prosecution, trial, sentencing, and punishment are the distinct phases of the criminal justice system. Rehabilitation and therapy are near the end of this sequence of events. Rehabilitation in the criminal world is the idea of curing’an offender of his or her criminal behaviors and habits in hopes to alternate their outlook and personality to prevent committing future crimes. It seeks to prevent a person from re-offending by taking away the desire to offend. Depending on one’s belief of the just right to healthcare as a human, prisoners should be allowed to receive full access to any healthcare provision, despite their incarceration.

Prisons are placed to protect and improve society. Therapy and rehabilitation are offered to prisoners to do just that and also improve the wellbeing of the individual. Depending on the offence, therapy programs are mandatory after trial. However, many people believe that therapy is only effective, if the individual is willing to make the effort voluntarily. Those that are against the idea can have more than one stance. Some say Rehabilitation in prison is a no all together.

A couple general arguments that I have collected in my research is that rehabilitation programs are not reliable enough and that it is too hard to tell if it has actually worked. The belief that the programs only work for the offenders that were likely to change by themselves anyway, while the others do not. There are many programs that cannot overcome, or reduce, the tendency for some offenders to follow up on criminal behavior. Arguments against therefore concludes that rehab is a false promise that is dangerous and used as a front to justify keeping offenders imprisoned for longer than they deserve.

The topic brings up the question of whether or not it works and if it does, how and when can you tell if it worked. Although there are people that are against mandatory therapy, but still believes it is for the better. With a specific offence, like sex offenders, Casstevens and Cisse argue against the use of mandatory treatment. In the journal entry, Sexual Offender Treatment from a Choice Theory, a large portion of the article stresses the falsehood of myths related to sexual offending behavior and the behavior development. Treatment begins with a “creation of a firm, fair, and friendly environment” (Cisse 24).

The safe environment will make and leave a feeling of hope which is important to maintain throughout the process of treatment. After the person is charged with sexual abuse and court ordered, mandatory treatment begins. Court ordered treatment makes it difficult to avoid External Control Psychology” (Cisse 25). Gillian Fournier explained that control psychology or locus of control, is the extent to which people believe they have the power over events in their lives. External control psychology, external locus of control, is when someone blames outside forces for everything.

They believe strongly in the Choice Theory, internal motivation. The self motivation is the best way to “unpack” their behavior and thoughts. A followup report, written by Sheldon Zhang and others, of an experiment involving Californian inmates that received therapeutic treatment for drug dependency and behavior. In the report, there was no significant difference in criminogenic behavior or drug usage of the inmates studied. More than half of the inmates in the experiment that was given therapy and later released, relapsed into recidivism.

Therefore, therapies are not guaranteed to impact positively in a criminal’s life. Which is the reason for the questions of if it actually works and are the mandatory programs worth it. The movement to push toward mandatory treatment is also strong. On a psychological standpoint, the mental health needs of prisoners need to be attended to just as much as anyone else. However, it is important to address the issues in psychological therapy today. There are significantly high comorbidity rates and higher incidence of mental health problems among prisoner, compared to the general population (Adamson 185).

Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT), a UK government based program, emphasized the potential for health and economic benefits. According to the evaluation, reported by Adamson, there was a study completed over the course of three years, prior to 2014. Patients were referred to an IAPT, depending on their issue and the outcome is as followed. Many prison staff were found to struggle in identifying specific mental health problems, which suggests that mental health awareness and knowledge with the prison staff should increase (Vidyah 196).

Due to the ongoing comorbidity rates in the prison population, the less qualified staff struggled to identify the prisoners problems. On top of that, during the study, many patients were released mid-treatment without finishing the course. There are not enough mental health professionals in prisons, so part of the problem may also include limited resources. A suggested future development is for prison mental health services to learn and acknowledge the full range of mental health issues in order to treat prisoners adequately. To produce better results and prove that rehab and therapy can work.

Western Galilee College did a research study and examined ten of twenty-two sex offenders going through mandatory therapy in a rehabilitation in Israel. The objective for the inmates was clear, to find their values, redefine reality, maintain a positive identity, and to realize how accountable they were for their actions. The therapy included interaction between victim and offender. Those convicted of rape often have the sexual norms more related to patriarchy and those convicted of child molestation are classified as sexual liberals.

The offences committed cannot be understood in isolation like many clinical settings do. Therefore the interactions between the offender and victim played a large role in bettering all those affected. From an economic view, treatment programs can be less expensive and more cost effective than a term of imprisonment. The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment of the US Department of Health Human Services reported a study evaluating the effect and improvement of treatment services, including economic results in 1997 (McVay 5).

Treatment was found to be cost effective, particularly when compared to incarceration, which is usually the alternative. During the time, treatment costs were approximately $1800-$6800 per client. In Brooklyn, New York, the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) program allows drug addicted defendants to plead guilty to an offense and start a residential, therapeutic community treatment system that can last up to 2 years as an alternative to a prison sentence.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that the program achieved significant results in reducing recidivism and drug use which increased the likelihood of finding employment, and saved money over the cost incarceration. The average cost of putting a defendant in DTAP, including the costs of residential treatment, vocational training, and support services was $32,974. If they had been sent to serve the average term of imprisonment for participants, 25 months, the average cost is $64,338. The cost of treat is half the price of being incarcerated.

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) raises the question of cost and benefits for the state policy makers. What is the benefit of each dollar in criminal justice programming spending from taxpayers by program costs, and for crime victims by lower crime rates, and less recidivism? Drug treatment in prison yielded a benefit of between $1. 91 and $2. 69 for every dollar spent on them. By contrast, therapeutic community programs outside of prisontypically work release facilities—yielded $8. 87 of benefit for every program dollar spent.

The large difference is due to higher program completion rates and lower recidivism than in prison. Imprisoning offenders may provide comfort to some in terms of public safety, it does little to reduce a cluster of issues that are bound to follow. These people will cycle in and out of the nation’s corrections system and eventually with the addition of newcomers, it will result in prison crowding. Instead of building more prisons, the National Center of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found a less costly and more effective way to reduce recidivism.

They found that reconnecting ex-offenders to the world of appropriate employment is essential to maintaining recovery and reducing criminal behavior in the future. Drug treatment can be more effective than cycling people in and out of prison. Underemployment and joblessness limits the ability to leave the drug crime lifestyle in order to support a family and successfully transition for the treatment program into the community. Most offenders lack the educational, social or vocational skills required to find employment.

With repeat felony offenders, they are often times ineligible for federal education grants and memberships in some trade unions and government jobs along with public assistance programs. Forcing offenders to attend a self help group, is not going to provide them with the stated skills. A more mandatory intensive type of treatment program is needed that includes vital prevention programs like basic literacy training, job skill development, life skills training, mental health assessment and treatment, and possibly help with basic needs like arranging short-term child care and transportation (McVay 18).

Thoughtful policymakers are obliged to find the most effective ways to get offenders onto the straight and narrow path, to keep them from re-offending and to get them to become solid, contributing members of society. Creating programs and services that aid offenders, does not mean that the state is favoring them or being soft on crime, but moreso protecting the general public by using the most effective means available to prevent criminal activity, drug abuse, and recidivism The Justice Policy Institute suggested three recommendations through which drug treatment alternatives, could accomplish (McVay 19).

First, abolish mandatory sentences for drug offenders and allow judges to determine whether incarceration or treatment is a more effective sentence in individual cases. Second, change non-violent drug offenders from prison into treatment and considerably reduce probation and parole violations for their drug use. Third, use the savings from the previous two recommendations to fund programs that are aimed at reducing substance abuse continuously.

A person’s beliefs or thoughts are the outcome of experience, in which case many offenders have negative experiences. The process of therapy and rehabilitation are to help “fix” or “cure” the negative thoughts. Intensive mandatory rehabilitation programs should be placed in prisons because it is important to help the mental health of inmates and protect society in an effective manner. If completed appropriately with efficient resources, the benefit of the program will consist of a very positive and long term effect.

A safe, stable environment where prisoners can develop or relearn the skills that will enable them to follow up with a life of employment and no crime is also an essential service program for the therapy and rehab process. It will allow them to integrate properly back into society. Excluded individuals with very little help during voluntary therapy sessions or that are given no treatment mentally that need it, are more likely to reoffend; therefore, mandatory aid is the best method.

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