Treatments and punishment

  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 13-05-12 13:21

Treatments and punishment of crime essay

The decision to treat or punish a criminal is based on the cause of the crime. If the cause of the crime is dispositional, meaning there is something wrong with the criminal, then the offender's disposition needs to be changed. This is the idea behind treating offenders and is based on the concept of rehabilitation. If there is no dispositional reason behind the crime and it is in fact the criminals personal choice to commit the crime then people tend to favour punishment, being based on the concept of deterrence.
Carroll et al, in 1987 found that in a survey of attitudes towards sentencing found two broad approaches; conservative and liberal. The conservative approach favours punishment, as they believe criminals choose that career in some way, where as the liberal approach favours the idea of rehabilitating the offender, in order to treat them.
The main aims behind treatment and punishment is deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation and retribution but the big question is which one is most effective in dealing with crime?

An approach used to punish criminals is time in prison and it is used as an attempt to prevent offenders from committing another crime. In UK prisons there are four main functions that a prison serves and that is to one, incapacitate, two, rehabilitate, three, punishment and four, deterrence.
The main aim of a prison is to protect members of the publish from criminals, particularly those who have committed violent crimes and could be a threat to others around them. Peterson et al stated that since 8% to 10% of criminals commit around 50% of all crimes, it makes sense to have a system of selective imprisonment, concentrating on serial offenders and dangerous offenders. Prison also encourages the use of education, training and treatment to restore prisoners into a useful life in the outside world whilst being a effective deterrent by making criminals not want to re offend as they fear punishment.

P - A criticism of imprisonment as a punishment is that due to processes like criminalisation Bartol in 1999 stated that “the more time one spends in prison, the more likely one is to re-offend”.
E - This suggested that prison is not a way of preventing re-offending but in fact encourages it.
C - Therefore, prison is not an effective punishment as it does not work as a deterrent which is one of its four key functions.

P - Another criticism of imprisonment was made by Lipsey.
E - Lipsey found that imprisonment, boot camps and intense surveillance resulted in a 25% in re-offending rates on average. Therefore stating that one quarter of prisoners, re-offend.
C - This therefore suggests imprisonment is not an effective deterrent and therefore suggests it is not an effective way of dealing with crime.

P - A weakness of the research done into imprisonment is that most research is done in mock prisons and students.
E - For example, Zimbardo's study is a very influential study


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