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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78280 Find in a Library
Title: Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal - Penal Policy and Social Purpose
Author(s): F A Allen
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 138
Sponsoring Agency: Yale University Press
New Haven, CT 06520
Sale Source: Yale University Press
92a Yale Station
New Haven, CT 06520
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Reasons for the decline of the rehabilitative ideal in American penal policy are identified and discussed, and future prospects for the rehabilitative model are considered.
Abstract: Although judgments may vary about precisely how far support for rehabilitative theories of penal treatment has eroded in the 1970's, the decline of the rehabilitative ideal is clearly substantial and precipitous. Some support this decline out of frustration with the prevalence of crime and a resulting desire to punish and incapacitate offenders. The more responsible and rational attacks against the rehabilitative model, however, have rested on three principal propositions: (1) the rehabilitative ideal constitutes a threat to the political values of free societies; (2) the rehabilitative ideal has revealed itself in practice to be vulnerable to debasement and the serving of unintended and unexpressed social ends; and (3) either because of scientific ignorance or institutional incapacities, a rehabilitative technique is lacking. Still, the decline of the rehabilitative ideal cannot be completely explained as the consequence of the rational cases arrayed against it. The diversity of the attacks on the rehabilitative ideal, their conflicting assumptions and motivations, and the suddenness of the decline suggest that broader social and cultural influences are involved. For the rehabilitative ideal to flourish, society must cradle a faith in the malleability of human nature and a working consensus about the goals of rehabilitation. The current social climate manifests a diminished faith in positive behavioral change, particularly through American institutions. Cynicism and controversy surround the values and competence of all American institutions traditionally looked to as the perpetuators of the consensus of moral values in American society. While remnants of penal rehabilitationism will abide in the remaining years of the 20th century, they are likely to be peripheral rather than central to the administration of criminal justice. A total of 74 notes and an index are provided.
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Custody vs treatment conflict; Penology; Policy analysis; Rehabilitation; United States of America
Note: Storrs lectures on jurisprudence series.
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