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INTRO. TO CORRECTIONS. Chapter 1 The Goals of Corrections Policy. Corrections. The term used to describe a set of agencies created to control the behavior of people accused or convicted of a criminal offense. Social Control. Any set of methods designed to encourage people to obey norms

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intro to corrections


Chapter 1

The Goals of Corrections


  • The term used to describe a set of agencies created to control the behavior of people accused or convicted of a criminal offense.
social control
Social Control
  • Any set of methods designed to encourage people to obey norms
  • Crime control is only one area of social control.
  • Informal social controls
  • CRJ system is the last resort
correctional agencies
Correctional Agencies
  • Four types
  • Jails
  • Prisons
  • Probation
  • Parole
efficiency and fairness
Efficiency and Fairness
  • Long struggle for society
  • Efficiency concerns focus on how to keep society safe at the lowest cost
  • Fairness is a fundamental value that is basic to our morality and sense of justice
defining the study of corrections
Defining the study of corrections
  • Content- Four agencies
  • Context- Politics
  • Goals- Efficient Crime control, low
  • recidivism, Public Safety
  • Fair and thorough treatment for
  • each person and case
never extremely efficient
Never extremely efficient
  • Democratic values stress fair and equal treatment over efficient social control
  • Social control- Informal
  • CRJ System designed for occasional failures of family and community
  • Democracies- Not guilty unless proven
burden of proof
  • Criminal- Beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Civil- Preponderance of the evidence
probable cause
  • Arrest Warrant- A reasonable person would agree that a crime has or will be committed and the person to be arrested committed the crime
  • Search Warrant- A reasonable person would agree that a crime has or will be committed and evidence will be found in the place to be searched
corrections has little control
Corrections has little control
  • Police and prosecutors decide on offenders
  • Legislatures set rules for courts
  • Executive Branch appoints policymakers
  • Correctional systems then handle offenders
legislative control
Legislative Control
  • Design sentencing structures for the courts
  • Describe each agency’s legal powers and duties
  • Setting the state agency’s budget
defining modern goals
Defining Modern Goals
  • Control and punish offenders
  • Attempts to change offenders’ behavior are secondary
  • Control makes the public feel safer
  • Punishment appeals to current sense of
  • values
  • Reform is more cost effective
  • Inflict a penalty for wrongdoing by deliberately causing someone to experience pain
do not think like an inmate
  • Sometimes punishment changes behavior
  • Usually offender resents punishment and results in bitterness toward those felt to be responsible
  • People act on the basis of their own perceptions rather than on the basis of what society perceives
  • Training designed to assure obedience to a set of rules
  • Instills self control that assures law-abiding behavior
  • Creates long term thinking and appreciate the needs of others
honesty and respect
Honesty and Respect
  • Honesty is crucial to self-discipline
  • Respect is most easily achieved when loyalty and warmth toward the source of the rules are the dominant emotions
  • HARD to be warm and respectful to that which is the source of inflicted pain
  • Parental discipline
offenders view
  • Government is the oppressor that denies their dignity and freedom
  • Principle of least eligibility
moral and utilitarian views
  • Moral arguments focus on the search for fairness and try to compensate for the wrongs done by crime
  • Utilitarian arguments focus on the practical goal of reducing crime while spending as little as possible
moral utilitarian goals
Moral/ Utilitarian Goals
  • Moral- Efficiency is of secondary concern- primary goal is fairness- Pay for the crime
  • Utilitarian- Look to the future safety of citizens and the costs of corrections action
philosophies of punishment
  • Infliction of pain that is equal to or slightly greater than the harm than that done to the victim
  • Vengeance or legalized revenge
just deserts
  • Punishment should be used to assure a sense of fairness
  • Stresses social justice rather than revenge
  • Emphasis is on punishment certainty and consistency
  • Focused on society’s sense of fairness rather than the status of victim or offender
  • Threat of punishment to influence how people make decisions
  • Attempt to minimize crime by influencing rational, conscious choices
effective deterrence
Effective deterrence
  • Certain
  • Swift
  • Severe
  • Maximum effect is achieved when most criminals are quickly caught and punished
  • Offenders’ perception/ not objective reality
deterrence retribution assumptions
Deterrence/ RetributionAssumptions
  • 1. Crime results from a rational calculation of the expected costs and benefits of various acts
  • 2. This calculation can be affected by legal penalties
  • Offenders believe that others will be caught rather than themselves
offender mentality
Offender mentality
  • Present orientation of person’s thinking causes resistance to deterrence
  • Common criminal state of mind
  • Criminals think they have “Street Smarts”
two types of deterrence
Two types of Deterrence
  • General deterrence punishes one offender in an effort to discourage others from committing crimes
  • Specific deterrence suggests that punishing a particular offender will discourage that individual from committing crimes in the future
boundary setting
  • Societies have always defined some behavior as criminal
  • Members of society cannot feel united as “we” unless there is a readily identified “they”
  • By defining actions as criminal the group sets itself apart from others
  • Repays the victim for material and financial losses
  • State Victims compensation
  • Used to punish minor crimes

Community service

  • Prevents re-offending by making the offender physically unable to commit other crimes
  • Primarily by imprisonment
  • Warehouses offenders until age and/or deterrence discourages re-offending
  • Surest means of safeguarding society
legal approaches to incapacitation
Legal Approaches to Incapacitation
  • Habitual offender laws
  • “Three-strikes” laws
  • Life without parole
prediction problems
Prediction Problems
  • Presumption that repeat offenders can be predicted

Few offenders commit most crimes

Some types of offenders are more likely

Gross increase in imprisonment with little or no effect on crime

treatment reintegration
Treatment- Reintegration
  • Correctional treatment is an attempt to convert offenders into law abiding citizens
  • Most treatment advocates believe that crime occurs because of some sort of mental, spiritual, educational, or vocational inadequacy of the offender
  • Correct the inadequacy/ crime ceases?
  • Crime is a symptom of individual’s problem
treatment vs retribution
Treatment vs. Retribution
  • Offends many citizens’ sense of justice
  • If crime is a result of social organization or inequalities, then society has the responsibility to help re-integrate offenders
  • Ignoring “Free will” is also problematic
  • May help change habits, lifestyle, and changeable personality traits
correctional decision making
Correctional Decision Making
  • Justice Model
  • Scientific or “medical” model
justice model
Justice Model
  • Started in 1700s
  • Basis of US Constitution
  • Deterrence basis
  • Regained popularity late 1970s
  • Current trend is justice
scientific approach
Scientific Approach
  • Courts should judge each offender as a unique individual
  • Can stress culpability, dangerousness, treatment needs, or other factors
  • Some are less able to avoid crime
  • Questions that crime is by free will
  • Supporters note that most will return to society
indeterminate sentencing
Indeterminate Sentencing
  • Broad range of sentence
  • Part may be in custody and part may be in community supervision
  • Based upon dangerousness and treatment needs of the criminal rather than the type of offense
  • Originally designed to make offenders work for release- Good time
the legal approach
The Legal Approach
  • Based upon the Justice Model
  • Laws should be used to cause people to make desirable choices by using punishment to deter crime
  • The seriousness of crime is the only relevant factor
  • Seriousness is defined in terms of offenders blameworthiness and harm
determinate sentences
Determinate Sentences
  • Penalties are determined solely by the person’s crime and prior record
  • Penalty may be in a range of years
mandatory sentencing
Mandatory Sentencing
  • Judges have no discretion
  • Sentences set when offender is convicted
  • Legislature sets sentences
  • Most cannot be suspended
presumptive sentences
Presumptive Sentences
  • Federal system used since 1987
  • Sentences set by a presidentially appointed panel of judges
  • Set based upon average of older sentences
basis of ranges
Basis of Ranges
  • 1. Seriousness of the offense
  • 2. Salient factors in criminal history that predict recidivism
  • Determination of ranges by research
  • Race and economic factors illegal
  • Variations must be explained by judges
truth in sentencing laws
Truth in Sentencing Laws
  • Mostly used with violent offenders
  • Most require to serve 50% of sentence
  • Some require two thirds of sentence
  • Economics are the problem
justice model impact
Justice Model Impact
  • Mandatory, presumptive, and determinate sentences are all attempts to assure equality in sentencing
  • Treatment is not considered
  • Punishment “fits the crime”
  • Average violent offender 85 months paroled in 50 months or less
impact continued
Impact- Continued
  • Justice model advocates believe that longer sentences are responsible for the drop in crime in the mid 1990s
  • Others credit numbers of young people, improved economic opportunities, better policing methods, greater community cooperation, and tougher gun laws- (I disagree completely with the gun laws)
  • Different sentencing develops out of different justifications for punishment
  • Polls indicate that treatment is favored
  • Deterrence, incapacitation, and retribution all favor punishment rather than treatment
  • Conflicts with treatment and reintegration
  • Most fundamental contradiction
  • Punishment drives offenders out
  • Treatment pulls them back into society
  • Retribution reduces offender status
  • Deprives in some way
  • Reintegration requires improvement
  • Least eligibility
  • Treatment helps offenders no recidivism