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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76821 Find in a Library
Title: Directions for Corrections
Journal: American Philosophical Society Proceedings  Volume:118  Issue:3  Dated:(June 7, 1974)  Pages:235-247
Author(s): L T Wilkins
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This critique of the medical model of corrections argues that crime control measures which now concentrate on the offender should address a larger context: victims, situations and environments, and the law itself.
Abstract: Currently, differential treatment effects of correctional institutions have not been isolated, despite wide differences in the treatment actually given. Probation and parole supervision, which play an important role in the treatment model, are in reality intrusive restrictions on personal autonomy. Moreover, the terms by which parole is granted ensure that any person can be returned to prison without access to the courts or counsel. Another problem with the medical model is its dependence on predictions of future behavior, which are often inaccurate. Even with the use of actuarial methods, mistakes are made. Thus, the corrections have failed to provide treatment. However, this should not have been attempted in the first place because the legal system concentrates on the moral problems of guilt, human rights, and the concept of responsibility, rather than on medical problems. If treatment is then indicated, the diversion of that case from the penal system is required. Prisons exist to serve the community, not the prisoner, prisons should have more humane conditions, both for the good of society and the prison staffs. Therefore, the article argues that crime should be handled as a social problem and not as sickness nor as separate unconnected events which are due to individual wickedness. The field of crime should be removed from the level of political slogans where a 'war on crime' can become a 'war on criminals.' Accountability of the penal system should also be improved in view of the high cost of prisons. This new approach does not exclude treatment and other prison programs, which can be offered on a voluntary basis. A discussion of the historical background of penal philosophy, 1 table, and 30 footnotes are included. For related articles, see NCJ 76819.
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Corrections effectiveness; Corrections management; Custody vs treatment conflict; Deterrence effectiveness; Models
Note: Presented at the Symposium on Current Aspects of Penology, November 9, 1973.
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