The Point of Rehabilitation
The focus on the offender, not the offense, is the key to the superiority of rehabilitation over other sanction forms. Rehabilitation deals with the reform of the offender by providing “group counseling, education, job training, substance abuse treatment, and behavior modification programs” which, ultimately benefits the greater societal good (Spohn, 2009: 15).
It can even incorporate deterrence and incapacitation but with a far greater end-result. The ability to commit crimes can be taken away from criminals who are sentenced to an in-patient type program; and at the same time, instead of further breaking down the inmate’s ability to relate to social norms that are not present, whether it be because his/her upbringing, community, addiction to a substance that limits mental capacities, or a chemical imbalance which prevents him/her from functioning at an ideal psychological state, rehabilitation can be a godsend as it can help reform the offender in a way that helps him/her more smoothly integrate back into the community.
Corrections can help reduce the recidivism rate by incorporating “‘well-managed, well-targeted [rehabilitation] programs” which have been shown to reduce the probability of reoffending (Tonry, 2005).
The lack of rehabilitative sentences enforced by legislators makes little sense when it can easily be seen that of the four different forms of utilitarian (incapacitation, deterrence, and retribution) and non-utilitarian (rehabilitation) punishments, rehabilitation is the one that most fairly addresses proportionality, uniformity, and justice for both offenders and law-abiding citizens.
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