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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193114 Find in a Library
Title: Virtuous Prison: Toward a Restorative Rehabilitation (From Contemporary Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice: Essays in Honor of Gilbert Geis, P 265-286, 2001, Henry N. Pontell and David Shichor, eds. -- See NCJ-193102)
Author(s): Francis T. Cullen; Jody L. Sundt; John F. Wozniak
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall Publishing
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice Hall Publishing
Criminal Justice and Police Training
1 Lake Street
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay discusses issues related to the operation of more humane and effective correctional institutions by providing "restorative rehabilitation" in what are called "virtuous prisons."
Abstract: The fundamental goal of the "virtuous prison" is to foster "virtue" in inmates, which is usually defined as "moral goodness" or "moral excellence." The mission of the virtuous prison is to use offenders' time of incarceration to cultivate moral awareness and the capacity to act virtuously. This approach rejects the progressive view held by many criminologists that nothing productive can be accomplished in prisons. It also rejects the notion of the painful or austere prison, because such prisons obstruct the development of virtue in inmates. Two principles form the foundation of the virtuous prison: restorative justice and the rehabilitative ideal. Restorative justice is based on the premise that the harm from crime is morally wrong and that its effects must be remedied. Offenders are thus called upon to announce and publicly accept blame for their offenses. They are then expected to act virtuously by restoring victims they harmed. Offenders also must recognize that breaches of the law damage the common welfare; therefore, restoring the community through service activities is often mandated. The precise nature of this restorative justice remedy is reached at a conference where the offender, victim, family members, and concerned others meet to express their disappointment and hurt and proceed to develop a way for the offender to remedy the harm he or she inflicted. Prisons serve this effort by creating a "virtuous milieu." This involves surrounding inmates with positive moral influences. Features of the virtuous prison are the elimination of idleness, inmate activities with a restorative purpose, encouragement of contact with virtuous people, participation in rehabilitation programs based on criminological research and the principles of effective correctional intervention, and a high standard for inmate living. This essay concludes with a brief description of a Texas "faith-based" prison, which focuses on inmates becoming Christians and reflecting Christian values in their attitudes and behavior. 67 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Moral development; Prison conditions; Prison management; Rehabilitation; Victim-offender reconciliation
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