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NCJ Number: 209178 Find in a Library
Title: Corrections in the USA at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Author(s): Dieter Bindzus; Robin O. Debie
Date Published: December 2003
Page Count: 13
Document: PDF
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Document
Language: German
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: This paper presents a brief overview of the American correctional system and a critique of the system’s move from rehabilitation to punishment.
Abstract: The modern American correctional system finds its origin and roots in Pennsylvania, specifically from the Quaker criminal code or the Great Law of 1682. This stated that the majority of serious crimes should be atoned through imprisonment with hard labor in a house of corrections or prisons. A transition came about in the first quarter of the 20th century. An era of progress and reform arrived with a move away from the brutal environment of prisons or corrective institutions towards one of work and training. However, since 1960 there has been a surge in criminality and violence and a gradual return to getting tough on crime and looking to a more punitive justice model. This paper describes the evolution of the use of criminal sanctions in the American correctional system including imprisonment, probation, intermediate sanctions, and the death penalty. It discusses and describes the system and organization of corrections including the goal of corrections, the legal position of prisoners, corrective institutions (prisons and jails), corrections staff, prisoners, juvenile corrections, economic activity of prisons, and costs of corrections. The aims of corrections in the United States have changed significantly over the last 30 years. The enthusiasm for social therapy programs has vanished since the beginning of the 1970's with research indicating its ineffectiveness. Yet, today social therapy efforts are regaining importance slowly with restrictions on the type of offender. It is becoming understood and recognized that more secure prisons and long punishments are not controlling crime and increased efforts in rehabilitation are necessary.
Main Term(s): History of corrections
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections effectiveness; Criminal justice system analysis; Effects of imprisonment; Punishment; Recidivism; Rehabilitation
Note: This paper was translated from Zeitschrift fur Strafvollizug und Straffalligenhilfe, December 2003, p. 332-344.
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