About the Author: Dr. Gary Deel is a Faculty Director with the School of Business at American Military University. Abandoning all hope for rehabilitation becomes a very slippery ethical slope. The problem, however, is that at present rehabilitative justice just doesn’t work. If you find this movement lacking, I would suggest that it remains a difficult undertaking to get taxpayers and state and federal decisionmakers to allocate scarce resources to these endeavors. We might just need to change the way we approach incarceration and punishment to improve the recidivism rate. Also, more than half of those were arrested in their first year following release. For example, Norway currently has one of the world’s lowest recidivism rates at just 20 percent. This deterrent effect may or may not in fact play out in different circumstances, but it’s important to point out that its purpose is specifically aimed at society outside the walls of prison. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details. Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. in Law and a Ph.D. in Hospitality/Business Management. In incapacitation, the goal of criminal law is to effectively protect the public from the criminal acts of the defendant. But I refer you to research on the enlightened rethink and supportive legislation of the 1960s and 70s here in the U.S. that moved punishment to a secondary objective in favor of standardized correctional administration and reduction of recidivism through targeted vocational training and education. The study looked at recidivism rates over a nine-year period following their release. Imagine someone murders one of your loved ones. Is this a symptom of a bigger problem that is a reflection of the inadequacies of the criminal justice system? Protecting Vulnerable Older Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Florida Governor Introduces New Anti-Riot Legislation, New Soft Skills May Reduce Police Use of Excessive or Deadly Force, Podcast: Human Trafficking is on the Rise in Rural America, Demystifying the Law: Accountability in Negligence Cases, Solving the Law Enforcement Retention and Recruitment Problems, Leading the Battle Against the Drug Traffickers of Colombia, Ability to Make a Decision Gives Officers Advantages for Future Careers, Specialized Training Helps Chaplains Provide Care for First Responders, Cracking Down on the MS-13 Gang, Threat to the Homeland, a study following more than 400,000 prisoners from 30 states who were released in 2005, Recidivism in the United States has been a huge problem for decades, How the VADOC has Reduced Recidivism Using the Cognitive Community Model, Norway currently has one of the world’s lowest recidivism rates at just 20 percent, Belize Prison’s Rehabilitation Programs Raise Morale, Lower Recidivism, Prison Reform Measures to Balance Socioeconomic Disadvantages, between 2 and 10 percent of all criminal convictions are wrong, 165 people have been exonerated from death row in the last 50 years or so, Rethinking the Purpose of the Criminal Justice System - Part I - In Public Safety, Social Media for Public Safety Professionals, Law, Terrorism and Homeland Security Blog, Do Not Sell My Personal Information - CA Residents Only, InPublicSafety.com is brought to you by American Military University, Online Degrees for Public Safety Professionals, Degrees for Intelligence Professionals from AMU. Unless you or someone you know has been convicted and sentenced under the United States criminal justice and penal system, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about the design or logic of the system. Who decides? But if you allow yourself to ponder for just a moment how we attempt to deal with offenders, it’s hard to avoid the stunning realization that we have made some grave errors in how we handle crime and punishment. You may withdraw your consent at any time. I also 100% agree with your comments on “fair discipline” to the extent that it is aimed at rehabilitation. So perhaps rehabilitation could work, and most offenders could become productive, law-abiding citizens again, if only our approaches were more enlightened. As much as we might be tempted to seek revenge when we are wronged in order to “get even” and experience satisfaction from the offender sharing our pain, we know this is a petty emotion driven by childish motives. Many people mistakenly believe that, if they are a victim of a crime, they can choose whether charges are filed against the perpetrator. We might be tempted to argue that maybe some people are beyond rehabilitation. In the second part of this series, we’ll look at the alternative perspective: rehabilitation. Rethinking the Purpose of the Criminal Justice System: Reducing Recidivism. With regard to victim compensation, justices determine if and in what forms victim compensation is warranted. Whether or not the system restores victims or discourages others from committing crimes, it’s important to consider what purpose incarceration serves for people who have been convicted and are serving their sentences. You also state that ‘we made grave errors’ in creating the ‘penal’ system. And what about murder victims? [Related: Prison Reform Measures to Balance Socioeconomic Disadvantages]. Every second all over the world, crimes are committed against persons, property, or even against statutes themselves. Gary teaches human resources and employment law classes for American Military University, the University of Central Florida, Colorado State University and others. When prosecutors file charges against offenders and try them in court, the actions are always on behalf of society as a whole. You may withdraw your consent at any time. - In Public Safety, The Implication of the Absence of Free Will on Criminal Justice - Part I - In Public Safety, Social Media for Public Safety Professionals, Law, Terrorism and Homeland Security Blog, Do Not Sell My Personal Information - CA Residents Only, InPublicSafety.com is brought to you by American Military University, Online Degrees for Public Safety Professionals, Degrees for Intelligence Professionals from AMU. This goal seems much more worthwhile and morally defensible than retribution. [Related: How the VADOC has Reduced Recidivism Using the Cognitive Community Model]. In those cases life sentences or executions carried out by the penal system might serve a different purpose, that of incapacitation. I discuss this as a far better motive in the second and third parts of this article series. My background is degrees in Criminology and Correctional Administration supported by experience as a Corrections Officer and Educational Researcher with the Texas state prison system followed by extensive careers in law enforcement and police administration. So how might we better address this issue and recidivism in the criminal justice and penal system? One is called retribution, or retributive justice. While they may seem light at first glance, they nonetheless serve their purpose.

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