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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50858 Find in a Library
Title: PENOLOGY AND IDEOLOGY - ETHICS AND CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
Journal: FEDERAL PROBATION  Volume:42  Issue:2  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:9-15
Author(s): K S SHRADER-FRECHETTE
Corporate Author: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Washington, DC 20544
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Publisher: https://www.uscourts.gov 
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE 'RETRIBUTIVE' AND 'HUMANITARIAN' PHILOSOPHIES OF CRIMINAL TREATMENT ARE EXPLAINED AND CRITICIZED, AND A PHILOSOPHICAL RESOLUTION IS PRESENTED.
Abstract: THE 'RETRIBUTIVE' PHILOSOPHY OF CRIMINAL TREATMENT IS BASED ON THE VIEW THAT PEOPLE ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR, AND THAT BEHAVIORAL CHOICES ARE FREELY MADE ACCORDING TO PERCEPTIONS OF THE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS LIKELY TO FLOW FROM A PARTICULAR COURSE OF ACTION. THEREFORE, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SOCIETY TO SO STRUCTURE THE PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES OF BEHAVIOR DEEMED CRIMINAL THAT PEOPLE WILL FREELY CHOOSE THE ALTERNATIVE OF LAW-ABIDING BEHAVIOR. ADDITIONALLY, RETRIBUTIVE THEORISTS FREQUENTLY ARGUE PRAGMATICALLY THAT REHABILITATION DOES NOT WORK ANYWAY. THE 'HUMANITARIAN' THEORISTS ARE PRESENTED AS VIEWING HUMAN BEINGS AS BEING PRIMARILY THE PRODUCT OF INVOLUNTARY RESPONSE TO THE EMOTIONAL AND SOCIOECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH EACH LIVES. WHEN THAT ENVIRONMENT LACKS THE INGREDIENTS REQUIRED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF NORMATIVE BEHAVIOR, THEN 'SICK' PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR INEVITABLY THRIVE. FROM THIS PHILOSOPHY FLOWS THE CORRECTIONAL PHILOSOPHY THAT ADVOCATES THE CREATION OF APPROPRIATE REHABILITATIVE ENVIRONMENTS THAT STIMULATE THE CORRECTION OF THOSE BEHAVIOR PATTERNS CONDITIONED UNDER PREVIOUS DEPRIVED ENVIRONMENTS. THE AUTHOR CONSIDERS THAT EACH OF THESE PHILOSOPHIES IS BASED UPON ONLY A PARTIAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE FULL RANGE OF FACTS ABOUT HUMAN NATURE AVAILABLE FROM RESEARCH. HE VIEWS HUMAN BEINGS AS CONSISTING OF A BLEND OF VOLUNTARY CHOICES AND INVOLUNTARY CONDITIONING WHICH IS SO COMPLEX THAT IT HAS THUS FAR ELUDED ANALYSIS THAT CAN LEAD TO GUARANTEED REDUCTIONS IN CRIME AND RECIDIVISM. CRIMINAL PATTERNS ARE COMPARED TO THE SYMPTOMS OF CANCER, A DISEASE WHOSE CAUSES ARE NOT YET KNOWN. PREVENTIVE MEASURES ARE VIEWED AS THE MOST FRUITFUL APPROACH. AS A MAJOR PREVENTIVE MEASURE, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE DYNAMICS OF TEACHING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BE EXPLORED SUCH THAT PATTERNS OF CRIMINAL THINKING WILL BE THWARTED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Medical model of offender treatment; Punishment; Rehabilitation; Theory
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