skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 99402 Find in a Library
Title: Pit and the Pendulum - Correctional Law Reform from the Sixties into the Eighties
Journal: Villanova Law Review  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(February 1984)  Pages:1-20
Author(s): D W Dowd
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 20
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review of corrections policies from the 1960's into the 1980's shows a swing of the pendulum from an emphasis on rehabilitation to an emphasis on punishment and incapacitation; a policy is needed that balances benefits for the offender with benefits for society.
Abstract: The corrections rehabilitative emphasis of the 1960's promised society that offenders would be turned into constructive citizens leading to crime reduction. The system that emerged neither rehabilitated offenders nor treated them justly according to the severity of their crimes; thus, neither society nor the offender benefited from an obsessive concern with offender rehabilitation. Under disillusionment with the effectiveness and fairness of the rehabilitation model, reformers turned toward a more humane and just treatment of offenders. This policy was manifest in the 1970's as courts and legislatures sought to make sentencing and corrections conditions fair and humane for offenders. In the 1980's, however, the pendulum has swung from an emphasis on offender benefits to a focus on public protection by means of punishment and incapacitation. Mandatory sentencing and incarceration emphasis have contributed to prison overcrowding, eroding humane prison conditions and rehabilitative influences. It is time for the pendulum to swing to a more balanced emphasis on offender benefits and public safety. This would involve setting a minimum standard for the humane treatment of offenders, making correctional decisions consistent with the public's abhorrence for crime and need for safety, and providing offenders opportunities to improve their lives. Forty-nine footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections policies; History of corrections; Punishment; Rehabilitation
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Paper delivered as the Seventh Annual Donald A. Giannella Memorial Lecture at Villanova Unitersity School of Law, April 15, 1983.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.