Introduction to Corrections
The goal of rehabilitation came during the middle of the twentieth century when corrections adopted a medical model, in which crime was believed to be the result of an underlying pathology of offenders that could be diagnosed and treated (Seiter, 2011). Offenders were considered sick and in need of treatment to prepare them to return to the community as productive, law-abiding citizens. Correctional agencies implemented a variety of treatment programs to improve offenders and to provide them with the tools necessary to be successful members of society (Seiter, 2011). The need for rehabilitation of offenders was emphasized by the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, which noted a need for “substantial upgrading” of the correctional system and its reorientation “toward integration of offenders into community life” (Seiter, 2011). Throughout the years, many processes have been created to form the rehabilitation process of criminal justice. This process has reached out to many offenders and their families by allowing them to return to the community as changed individuals. Rehabilitation has many different process, but most, if not all have been proven successful in returning offenders to the community as changed individuals (Seiter, 2011).
Rehabilitation is defined as a return to a previous form. In criminal justice, rehabilitation is referred as a designed attempt to change attitudes and behaviors of inmates, concentrating on the prevention of an inmate's future criminal behaviors (Seiter, 2011). The emphasis of rehabilitation is clearly proactive and focused on preventing future crimes. Correctional officials believe this may be their most important function, protecting society in the long term by reducing recidivism (a return to crime). However, it is questionable whether the effectiveness of correctional programs should be judged solely by the recidivism rate (Seiter, 2011). No person or program can force offenders to change their behavior or to make good decisions to avoid crime, especially months after they leave the supervision of correctional officials. The situations and environments facing offenders differ from case to case. Even though recidivism may not be the most appropriate measure of the success of rehabilitation programs, it is likely to remain the one most often examined and used (Seiter, 2011). Corrections attempts to rehabilitate offenders in many ways. First, correctional programs are aimed at trying to reduce offenders’ motivation to commit further crimes. Although there are many reasons why people commit crimes, correctional agencies offer psychological counseling to help offenders understand the factors that trigger certain behaviors, anger management and other programs to help offenders recognize dangerous situations in which they may act wrongfully, and sensitivity training to get offenders to understand the impact of their criminal actions on victims and their families (Seiter, 2011). Second, correctional programs try to build competencies in offenders that may help them avoid problems that heighten their likelihood of committing crime. Such programs are designed to help offenders to increase their educational level, develop a vocational skill, or reduce the use of drugs or alcohol (Seiter, 2011). Finally correctional programs may simply have a goal of improving offenders’ decision making. Some correctional programs help offenders improve their decision making skills while considering the values and potential outcomes of their criminal actions. Prisons offer a variety of programs, including education, vocational training, recreation, religious, substance abuse, mental health, work, and a variety of other self-improvement modalities. These programs are valued, not only because they improve the