The website of Federal Bureau of Prisons states that it’s mission is “to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, human, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and that provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming la-abiding citizens” (Federal
Bureau of Investigation, 2010).
Today there is much debate whether the prison system is a system of rehabilitation or a system of punishment. It is my belief that the prison system is more a system of punishment. When an offender is sent to prison for a crime and the offender is not rehabilitated as a productive citizen in society, the offender will not gain anything from the prison. If an offender is rehabilitated he/she will want to pursue a different lifestyle. “More than 40 percent of ex-cons commit crimes within three years of their release and wind up back behind bars, despite billions in taxpayer dollars spent on prison systems that are supposed to help rehabilitate them, according to a study released” (Bluestein). Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15 states in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years, 46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% resentenced to prison for a new crime (Federal Bureau of Investigation,
What is rehabilitation? Webster defines rehabilitation as “the process of restoring an individual to a useful and constructive place in society especially through some form of vocational, correctional, or therapeutic retraining” (Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, n.d). Our text book indicate that the rehabilitation model embraces the notion that, given the proper care and treatment, criminal can be changed into productive, law abiding citizens” (Siegel p. 570) Siegel
(p. 570) indicated that research evidence suggests that correctional treatment can have an important influence on offenders. “Programs that teach interpersonal skills and use individual counseling and behavioral modification techniques have produced positive results both in community and with correctional institutions” (p.570).
The rehabilitation model makes sense if the criminal behavior of the offender is caused and not merely a freely willed rational choice. If crime were a matter of free choices, then there would be nothing within particular individuals to be fixed or changed. If the crime committed is caused by various factors then reoffending can be reduced if the prison system has correctional interventions that are able to alter these factors (Logan and Gaes 1993; Myers 1980).
The lack of effective education and rehabilitation programs are contributed to the overcrowding problem in our society today. Prison overcrowding is a major contributor to problems including
“failure of rehabilitation resulting in increased reoffending” (Prison Fellowship