Ethics Of Incarceration Ethics

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Homework Assignment # 11 – Ethics in Criminal Justice How has penal philosophies shifted within the last few decades? The past two decades have produced a profound and historic shift in the use of imprisonment within the United States. The philosophy towards incarceration and its purpose has shifted from one of rehabilitation between the turn of the century and the middle of the 20th century to a philosophy of deterrence and, more recently, retribution. At one time, it seemed that prison was reserved for violent offenders who posed a threat to public safety and to those who were repeatedly convicted for felonious acts. More recently, a heightened fear of crime among the voting public coupled with economic prosperity has created a criminal…show more content…
The majority of studies examining incapacitation effects demonstrate a small but positive effect in reducing crime. However, this crime prevention effect is associated with significant increases in prison populations. Crime can be reduced if the career criminals were identified and incapacitated. This selective incapacitation strategy would identify the offenders who were predicted to commit serious crimes at a higher rate so they could be incarcerated for long periods of…show more content…
In the 1970s, the strong emphasis on rehabilitation that had existed since the turn of the century gave way first to a focus on equality and fairness in sentencing, and then to an increased focus on incapacitation, deterrence and restraint strategies of crime prevention. Today, incapacitation is the primary justification for imprisonment in the U.S. criminal justice system. While this analysis of crime prevention focuses on how effective these different strategies are in reducing crime, it is important to remember that each strategy has impacts other than crime reduction. For example, analysis of the costs and benefits is critically important in any examination of policy relevant issues. This has been the focus of much of the incapacitation discussion because of the large impact associated with policies that increase the need for building, operating and maintaining the prisons necessary for incapacitation. On the other hand, with the exception of some drug treatment analyses, there are fewer discussions and less research examining the costs and benefits of rehabilitation. Yet, such analysis is important. A high quality, intensive treatment program for offenders can be relatively costly. The advantages of the program must be weighed against the costs. Such issues, among others, are important in policy

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