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NCJ Number: 64964 Find in a Library
Title: JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE PRACTICE OF SOCIAL WORK
Journal: SOCIAL WORK  Volume:19  Issue:5  Dated:(SEPTEMBER 1974)  Pages:556-566
Author(s): C H SHIREMAN
Corporate Author: National Assoc of School Workers
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: National Assoc of School Workers
Washington, DC 20005
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROBLEMS THAT WILL CONFRONT THE SOCIAL WORK PROFESSION AND ANALYZES HOW THESE PROBLEMS CAN BE OVERCOME.
Abstract: THE DIMENSIONS OF FUTURE PROBLEMS CAN BE INFERRED FROM PRESENT TRENDS. CRIME AND DELINQUENCY ARE INCREASING AS THE COSTS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE OPERATIONS ARE ESCALATING. THE LIVES OF OFFENDERS ARE BEING PERMANENTLY SCARRED BY CONTACTS WITH THE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM. PER CAPITA COSTS FOR YOUNGSTERS IN JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS CAN BE AS HIGH AS $10,000 TO $12,000 AND ARE RISING. THESE FACTORS SUGGEST THAT THE CENTRAL PROBLEM IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS A LACK OF CONSTRUCTIVE PUBLIC POLICY ON THE USE OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES. RATIONAL SOCIAL PLANNING AND PRACTICE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE ARE CONFOUNDED BY SELF-DECEPTION AS TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF OFFENDER TREATMENT, AND THE MISCONCEPTIONS THAT DOMINATE THINKING ABOUT OFFENDERS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO THE SOCIAL ORDER. SOCIAL WORKERS IN THE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM HAVE LONG MAINTAINED THAT HELPFUL TREATMENT OF THE OFFENDER--REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION INTO THE COMMUNITY--SHOULD BE ONE OF THE SYSTEM'S MAJOR FUNCTIONS. THE COERCIVE POWER OF CRIMINAL LAW AS A MEANS OF REGULATING HUMAN BEHAVIOR IS BEING INCREASINGLY QUESTIONED. THE DECADE AHEAD MAY MAKE IT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE MEANINGFUL SOCIAL SERVICES WITHIN A COMMUNITY SETTING TO AN INCREASED PROPORTION OF OFFENDERS, AND TO PRECISELY REDEFINE SOCIAL WORK PRINCIPLES. SOCIAL WORK SKILLS IN PROMOTING THE COPING AND ADAPTING CAPACITIES OF THE CORRECTIONAL CLIENT WILL REMAIN VITAL AND MUST BE ENHANCED. THIS TASK IS A DUAL ONE: (1) PRODUCING CHANGE IN THE WAY SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS CONFRONT THEIR CLIENTS, AS WELL AS (2) PROMOTING CHANGE IN CLIENT ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS. THE SOCIAL WORK CONCEPT OF PARTNERSHIP IN PROBLEMSOLVING WILL NEED TO BE REEMPHASIZED, AND WORKER AND CLIENT WILL NEED TO REDEFINE THE PROBLEMSOLVING TASK, FOCUSING ON THE NEEDS OF THE CLIENT. THE EMPHASIS MUST BE ON PROVIDING VOLUNTARY ACCESS (ON TERMS THE OFFENDERS CAN UNDERSTAND) TO QUALITY SERVICE. THE CONCEPT OF CRISIS-RELATED SOCIAL WORK WILL NEED TO BE DEVELOPED, AND CORRECTIONS COULD PROVIDE A MAJOR LABORATORY FROM WHICH TOMORROW'S UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORY AND STRATEGIES OF CRISIS INTERVENTION WILL EMERGE. SOCIAL WORK'S METHODOLOGICAL AND VALUE BASE WOULD SEEM TO PROVIDE A PROPER FOUNDATION FOR THE TECHNOLOGIES AND PROGRAMS NEEDED. NOTES AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Correctional planning; Correctional reform; Corrections effectiveness; Corrections management; Criminology; Social work; Social workers
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