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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72773 Find in a Library
Title: Some Reflections on Social Work in the Corrections - One Man's Confession of Faith
Journal: Journal of the Otto Rank Association  Issue:2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:18-26
Author(s): E Silverman
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Social work has a continuing and enduring contribution to make to corrections through advocacy, the constructive use of authority, public administration, and counseling.
Abstract: As early as 1787 social work and corrections enjoyed collaboration in assisting inmates. In the 20th century, social work influence manifested itself through ongoing prison visitations, offering personal services, and counseling. As the concept of rehabilitation grew in the corrections field, social workers played an ever more important role in helping prisoners use correctional services to discover constructive, more satisfying lives. Social work operations contributed to probation, parole, and aftercare programs. For a time, however, social work oversold itself, and the community placed too much responsibility on social work services for offender rehabilitation. Social work did not provide the solution to crime, nor were its results particularly impressive, so that social workers in the criminal justice system have been held increasingly accountable for the failure of rehabilitation. Further sociological doubts have been cast on the ability for success of any approach to crime which concentrates on the individual offender and fails to account for the social and cultural forces that generate unlawful behavior. Public administration officials have taken over the control and management of social work operations, substituting managerial competence for a commitment to social work philosophy. If social work is to be revived in corrections, social workers must further develop their offender advocacy role wherein social services act as referrals to resources in the community. In addition, authority-based counseling can offer a unique type of service not available elsewhere in the community. Social work will continue to maintain a responsible place for itself by identifying and affirming what it does competently and well, enabling offenders through their expertise, to examine and evaluate why they have violated the law. Sixteen references are provided.
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (adult); Counseling; Inmate Programs; Social work; Social workers
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Otto Rank Association, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, October 20, 1979
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