Policy BP9

Policy BP9

There are two main philosophies regarding crime and corrections: rehabilitation (trying to help reform prisoners so they don’t reoffend) and punishment (giving consequences to those who offend as punishment and also a deterrent against future criminals). Based on what the book says, would you say the US has historically had a rehabilitative or punitive approach to crime? Do you see this continuing or changing, based on current issues and trends? Defend your position with at least 3 historical policies and one current trend.

Historically, the United States has been a promoter of punishment as a deterrent. (1) Early utilitarian philosophies promoted that punishment could be rationally and systematically decided based on severity of the crime committed. (2) American individualism has a harsh perspective on committing crimes and has little sympathy for the circumstances around a crime. (3) The United States currently incarcerates more people than most developed countries.

A current trend that exemplifies the philosophy of punishment is with the War on Drugs. Drug-related offenses make up most of incarcerations in the United States. There is little to no focus on rehabilitating those with additions.

Karger, H. J., & Stoesz, D. (2013). American social welfare policy: A pluralist approach (7th ed.). New York: Allyn & Bacon.

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