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NCJ Number: 52153 Find in a Library
Title: PRISONS - THE CRIME OF TREATMENT
Journal: PSYCHIATRIC OPINION  Volume:11  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1974)  Pages:5-16
Author(s): L COLEMAN
Corporate Author: Opinion Publications Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Opinion Publications Inc
Framingham, MA 01701
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TREATMENT PHILOSOPHY OF PRISONS AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING ARE ADDRESSED, AND IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION PROGRAMS FOR INMATES BE IMPROVED.
Abstract: AS A FIRST STEP IN PRISON REFORM, CLOSE ATTENTION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO PRINCIPLES OF CORRECTIONAL TREATMENT PHILOSOPHY, INSTITUTIONS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED TO AFFECT THESE PRINCIPLES, AND THE IMPACT OF THE TREATMENT PHILOSOPHY OF PRISONS ON INMATES. A TRULY MOTIVATED PRISONER, UNDER A SYSTEM WHERE EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON THE MAN RATHER THAN ON THE DEED AND WHERE RELEASE FROM PRISON IS GEARED TO A PERSON'S RESPONSE TO TREATMENT, CAN WORK ON HIS PROBLEM AND IMPROVE HIMSELF WHILE SPEEDING UP RELEASE. IN THIS MANNER, GREATER INFLUENCE CAN BE EXERTED BY PSYCHIATRISTS AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. EVIDENCE SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT EXISTING THERAPEUTIC ENDEAVORS HAVE BEEN INEFFECTIVE, AND CONSIDERATION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE OVERALL IMPACT OF THE PHILOSOPHY RESPONSIBLE FOR REPLACING PUNISHMENT WITH TREATMENT. TREATMENT PROGRAMS HAVE MADE LITTLE DIFFERENCE, BUT THE PHILOSOPHY OF TREATMENT IS OF MAJOR CONSEQUENCE. MOST STATES HAVE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING. THE THEORY OF AN INDEFINITE PERIOD OF REHABILITATION INEVITABLY FOLLOWS FROM HUMANE CONSIDERATIONS OF THE EXISTING TREATMENT MODEL. IT IS NECESSARY, HOWEVER, TO ASCERTAIN THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S LIFE BEING COMPLETELY IN THE CONTROL OF OTHERS DURING THE PROCESS OF REHABILITATION. THIS IS PARTICULARLY THE CASE DURING PAROLE WHEN PAROLE OFFICERS HAVE A LARGE AMOUNT OF AUTHORITY OVER RELEASED PRISONERS. INHUMANE CONDITIONS IN PRISON (ISOLATION, IDLENESS, LOSS OF LOVED ONES, AND DAILY DEGRADATION OF PRIDE AND SELF-ESTEEM) ARE FACTORS IN EVALUATING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING. ALTHOUGH PRISONERS SEE REHABILITATION AS A MEANINGLESS CONCEPT, THEY RECOGNIZE THAT PLEASING ADULT AUTHORITIES WILL ENHANCE THEIR CHANCE OF RELEASE. IN CALIFORNIA, THE RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE HAS BEEN MORE PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. ADJUSTMENT CENTERS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE STATE AND SERVE AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE HARM RESULTING FROM THE TRANSPLANTATION OF PSYCHIATRIC IDEALS INTO THE PRISON SETTING. BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION UNITS ARE EMERGING FROM FEDERAL AND STATE PRISON SYSTEMS WITH INCREASING REGULARITY. UNCHECKED POWER IS THE BASIS OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BRUTALITY OF CONTEMPORARY PRISON LIFE. JUSTICE REQUIRES A SYSTEM OF FIXED SENTENCING, WITH THE TERM SET AT THE TIME OF CONVICTION AND RELATED TO THE NATURE OF THE CRIME. THE PAROLE SYSTEM SHOULD BE ABOLISHED, PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES SHOULD BE AVAILABLE BUT ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS, AND EDUCATIONAL AND JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS SHOULD BE EXPANDED.
Index Term(s): Incarceration; Indeterminate sentences; Inmate Programs; Inmates; Psychiatric services; Reform; Rehabilitation; Treatment
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52153

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