Karol Lucken and Thomas G. Blomberg
This article outlines the corrections system of America. It traces the history of the corrections system and offers some observations on what led to the massive prison buildup. It considers the possibility that the core of the problem is the inconsistencies in practice and ideology, which helped create a system that is not only contradictory and volatile, but indecisive and regressive. This article concludes that a well-balanced justice system can be attained by better using criminological and scientific knowledge.
Christy A. Visher and Jeremy Travis
This article reports that rehabilitation for prisoners is still not dead. It reveals that prisoner reentry programs have been implemented nationwide for the past ten years, and that current knowledge on prisoner reentry is strong enough to determine the principles of effective programs. This article also suggests that future research in this field should focus on interdisciplinary and longitudinal studies of prisoner reintegration that uses multiple outcome measures, in order to be able to understand the complete effects of current social policies.
Doris Layton MacKenzie
This article studies the effectiveness of corrections-based work and academic and vocational education programs for offenders. It summarizes the present education, vocational, and work programs, as well as their goals and theoretical explanations for why they may affect recidivism, or a relapse into crime. It also reviews the research on the effectiveness of these programs. This article concludes with a theoretical proposal that states that effective programs are those that produce cognitive transformations.
Thomas P. LeBel and Shadd Maruna
This article focuses on the growing difficult realities of moving from prison to the community. It refers to several narratives of people who have experienced—and struggled—with the transition, and also sheds some light on the relevance of creating and supporting programs that promote family and community bonding. This article also emphasizes the importance of giving people the chance to redeem themselves and start over.
Edward E. Rhine
This article outlines the striking changes that have occurred in parole release and supervision over the last two and a half decades. It reveals that most of the prisoners are now released “mandatorily,” where they don't have to discretionally appear in front of a parole board to set their release dates. It then shows how parole boards make these decisions, as well as the implications of these decisions for parole agents. Finally, the article discusses the culture of supervision and public safety.
This article examines risk assessment, which is defined as the identification of “risk” and “protective” factors that make involvement in crimes more or less likely. It lists the available risk assessment methodologies, the empirical research on their legitimacy, and the ethical and legal issues related to their use. It considers the importance of risk assessment to sentencing, and then identifies the types and accuracy of risk assessment. This article also shows some uses of formal risk assessment in sentencing. Several concerns related to risk assessment are also addressed.
Francis T. Cullen and Paula Smith
This article explores the role of rehabilitation as a core purpose of American corrections. Section I argues that rehabilitation has been a fundamental sensibility of the correctional enterprise from its beginning stages. Despite the seeming hegemony of the punishment model for more than three decades, this abiding belief that the correctional system should not only punish but also “correct” remains strong. Section II traces the seeming collapse of the rehabilitation model in the 1970s. Section III presents what has become the dominant rehabilitation model, which is typically captured under the label of the principles of effective correctional intervention. Section IV concludes with a discussion of the future of rehabilitation as a core purpose of American corrections.
Edward P. Mulvey and Carol A. Schubert
The juvenile court was established to separate adolescent offenders from the potentially harmful effects of involvement in the adult criminal justice system. Due to glitches in this plan, there have been mechanisms for transferring particular adolescents to the adult criminal justice system and punishing them accordingly. The debate about the appropriate time and policy to incarcerate these adolescents in adult facilities still goes on. This article, under the person-environment “fit”, explores how the fundamental orientation and the operational realities of the adult versus juvenile system appear to affect young offenders in terms of both their prison experience and their life afterwards. Furthermore, it identifies unique issues of particular needs of adult prisons and jails when dealing with adolescents, highlighting the fact that addressing the issue of what to do with serious adolescent offenders requires more than simple political posturing. Finally, it considers the reentry issues associated with young prison releases.