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Punishment or Rehabilitation Essay

The criminal justice system is one of the leading sectors of the U.S. law, which is a set of legal norms and practices established by the highest authorities of the government that determine the crime and punishable acts that are hazardous to public relations in the USA. In addition, the U.S. criminal justice system is controlled by two main strategies, such as rehabilitation and punishment.

Thus, this paper introduces rehabilitation and punishment strategies in the criminal justice system. It presents the differences between these two competing strategies, and explains how rehabilitation and punishment strategies may be merged to create new methods for managing recidivism.

To start with, the rehabilitation of criminals is the main element of the U.S. criminal justice system.
It is necessary to mention that the main aim of rehabilitation strategies was to “reform the character of offenders” in the past. Nowadays, it is aimed at preventing recidivism.

There are different rehabilitation strategies and practices that help the prisoners reduce their aggressiveness and quick temper in behavior, and make aware of morality and ethics.

Punishment is a central institution of the criminal law. It fully and clearly manifests some content and direction of the criminal policy of the state, the value of the certain institutions of the criminal law and other criminal aspects of the fight against crime. It is the most effective criminal tool in the fight against crime because it interrupts the anti-social activities of individuals who commit criminal acts.

There is no doubt that there are some differences between rehabilitation and punishment strategies in the criminal justice system. Let us focus our attention on some of them.

This is a widespread fact that there were some debates about the problem whether the criminal justice system has to rehabilitate the prisoners or whether it has to pay more specific attention to their punishment.

According to Ramchand, Morral and Becker (2009), “The juvenile criminal system was established to rehabilitate juvenile offenders…” (p. 863). Consequently, the adult criminal system basically used punishment principles.

Punishment strategies focus on the fundamental idea that it will keep people from committing crime and reiterating some criminal acts. Incarceration, as one of the types of punishment, is a temporal solution to crime whereas the prisoner is isolated.

The supporters of rehabilitation state that this is a permanent solution that helps to deter people from repeating crime. Moreover, rehabilitation will have a more prolonged and effective impact on prisoners if they are engaged in gaining different trade and academic skills needed in order to adapt in the community. Rehabilitation programs will help criminals find their place in society and adapt to it.

Thus, “punishment and rehabilitation are a major part of the criminal justice system and will be effective in controlling crime if there is a way to incorporate the two factors to work together” (Larrabee, 2006, p. 5).
Talking about rehabilitation and punishment strategies, it should be mentioned that they may be merged to create new methods for managing recidivism. Rehabilitation and punishment strategies should be combined together for the purpose of dealing with individuals more effectively. It is possible to combine rehabilitation and punishment strategies together with the help of putting rehabilitation with punishment (e.g. prison) together. For instance, a person may be in jail, but at the same time, he can pass the course of rehabilitation.

Both rehabilitation and punishment strategies should provide and promote skills training, including job ones because the inability to find a job is a main thing in criminal recidivism. Moreover, it is important to support character education with the help of some teaching aspects, such as responsibility, moral qualities and respect for others.

In conclusion, it is possible to state that rehabilitation and punishment are the important and essential methods of the criminal justice system that provide effective and reasonable tools in the fight against crime.



Larrabee, A.K. (2006, November 28). Punishment vs. Rehabilitation in the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/89124/punishment_vs_rehabilitation_in_the_pg5.html?cat=17
Ramchand, R., Morral, A., & Becker, K. (2009). Seven-Year Life Outcomes of Adolescent Offenders in Los Angeles. American Journal of Public Health, 99 (5), 863-870.