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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76822 Find in a Library
Title: Correctional Strategies in Conflict
Journal: American Philosophical Society Proceedings  Volume:118  Issue:3  Dated:(June 7, 1974)  Pages:248-253
Author(s): L E Ohlin
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Large penitentiaries should be replaced by cheaper and more effective crime control strategies, such as decriminalization, diversion, and deinstitutionalization, according to this historical and contemporary review of penal policies.
Abstract: The development of the rehabilitative model in corrections dates back to the 1870 conference of the National Prison Association and its repudiation of the silent, lockstep system of punishment, which emphasized rigid discipline and hard labor. Since then, correctional policies have pursued reforming the offender through retraining, rather than deterring the offender by severe punishment. However, good time allowances and parole eligibility, which are granted to all prisoners on admission, can be lost by bad conduct. This means that the grading system is in reality a means of custodial control rather than a source of motivation for self-improvement. Thus, the administrative discretion lodged in the indeterminate sentence and parole system has contributed to preserving large and costly penitentiaries. Furthermore, attempts to convert the production facilities of the prisons into vocational training and remedial education programs in accordance with the philosophy espoused in 1870 have failed, mainly due outdated machinery which has not been replaced because of the high costs. The 1967 Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice has proposed alternative correctional policies. Decriminalization involves change in the existing criminal code to exclude criminal sanctions for such offenses as drug abuse, sexual offenses between adults, and some child status offenses. Some problems could also be solved more effectively by diversion and referral to alternative social services or termination of proceedings. Deinstitutionalization involves creation of small, locally based residential and nonresidential treatment services for less dangerous offenders. The capacity to purchase services together with strong quality control procedures may tap more deeply the potential resources for service latent in all communities. Greater protection should be ensured for civil rights of offenders in the criminal justice process to promote greater respect for law through prisoner unions, etc. The accountability of the penal system should also be increased. With better applications of existing knowledge, changes may be made less costly. A total of 12 footnotes are included. For more information, see NCJ 76819.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community-based corrections (adult); Community-based corrections (juvenile); Correctional facilities; Correctional reform; Deinstitutionalization; Diversion programs; Effects of imprisonment; Indeterminate sentences; Parole; Rehabilitation
Note: Presented at the Symposium on Current Aspects of Penology, November 9, 1973.
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