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NCJ Number: 156425 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Penal Harm Movement
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:32  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1995)  Pages:338-358
Author(s): F T Cullen
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 21
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the nature, effects, and management of the "penal harm" philosophy of corrections and proposes an alternative policy of "utilitarian" rehabilitation.
Abstract: The "penal harm" movement holds that the essence of the penal sanction is to so harm or hurt offenders that they will stop offending to avoid a continuation or a repeat of penal harm. This movement has led to the increased use of imprisonment as a sanction and a reduction in the privileges and comforts of prison life. There is little evidence, however, that increasing the suffering of offenders while they are under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system modifies their behavior when that jurisdiction ends or is diminished. It also has differential effects based on types of crimes committed, which can also be differentiated by the race of offenders. African-Americans disproportionately experience the effects of a penal harm policy that focuses on "street crime." It is difficult to restrain the penal harm movement, because no alternative philosophy has gained the confidence of the citizenry. The alternative proposed in this article is "utilitarian" rehabilitation, which offers treatment programs based in positive benefits for successful performance and negative consequences for failure to act responsibly. This approach has the promise of modifying behavior in a positive way while holding offenders accountable for harmful behaviors and controlling them sufficiently to ensure public safety. 73 references
Main Term(s): Corrections effectiveness
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Deterrence effectiveness; Punishment
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