Background of Rehabilitation
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The rehabilitative model of crime control developed as a result of the challenges that were associated with the initial crime control model. The crime control model was characterized by severe punishments and long serving sentences for offenders. The objective of that model was to implement swift, certain and severe penalties on offenders so as to enhance crime deterrence. However, the cost associated with this approach was very high compared to the results that this model produced. Seiter (2011) cited that Justice Kennedy discredited the deterrence and incapacitation approach, as its contribution to crime reduction was minimal. This led to the introduction of the rehabilitative model that was focused on addressing psychosocial, economic, mental and medical factors, which were perceied to cause criminal behavior.
Decline of Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation programs were based on the medical model that focused on diagnosis and treatment approach of offenders through counseling, behavior modification techniques, vocational training and general empowerment of offenders (Seiter, 2011). However, this approach did not last long before it was declined. The arguments advanced for its replacement were that there was no clear evidence linking rehabilitation to reduction of recidivism. Crime rates remained high and in some cases even worsened under this model. The public increasingly became intolerant to criminals and expressed their dissatisfaction with the rehabilitation approach, forcing elected officials and policymakers to revert to the deterrent model of crime control with lengthy period of incarcerration.
Rebirth and the Future of Rehabilitation
Rebirth of rehabilitation refers to the return and revival of the support for the medical model of crime control through correctional programs (Seiter, 2011). This occured after the realization, that if carefully implemented, the programs can reduce criminal recidivism. Based on this, rehabilitation should continue in the prisons as a correctional goal. Seiter (2011) contended that such programs could include job training, drug rehabilitation, family support, and provision of mental health services. Therefore, the legislators and the policymakers should not totally ignore rehabilitation as a correctional goal but consider implementing the programs that are cost effective. Rehabilitation is thus experiencing a rebirth since it is still relevant, if carefully implemented.
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