Developing a Penal Policy to Tackle the Problem of Recidivism – Term Paper Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper " Developing a Penal Policy to Tackle the Problem of Recidivism" is a good example of a term paper on educational.   Recidivism or repeat offending is a problem that affects all stakeholders in the prison system – prisoners because they get entangled in the system, prison officers/ administrators because their role is put into question if recidivism rates are too high and lastly society which is forced to the bear the brunt of more crime as more people become victimized. Therefore these stakeholders must seek a way forward to minimize occurrence of repeat offenses. Penal policy Education in prisons offers a unique platform for empowering prisoners while still in the confines of the system and also when given the opportunity to join the rest of society.

However, a number of researches that more often than not, prison educators tend to take up the wrong approach to the education of persons in prisons. Overemphasis is given on vocational aspects or functional parts of education yet there are so many more values that form the framework of a good education. In light of such facts, this penal policy will comprise a system of penal education that provides inmates with the capacity to gain literacy, know their world and also spark off interest in pursuance of further education when they are outside prison doors.

These objectives can be achieved by teaching inmates similar courses to those ones applicable in other conventional learning institution. Prison administrators must refrain from concentrating on special education programs for the prison population alone because these individuals need all the values and concepts that standard education teaches as much as students in conventional schools.

Prison administrators should also work hand in hand with adult educators in coming up with the most effective approaches for handling and teaching the prison population. (Warner, 1996) Still, under the umbrella of education, the prison population should be taught skills that facilitate interaction with the outside world. Such actions should be achieved by non-prison educators who can then revise their opinions on stereotypes about the prison populations. (Warner, 1996) Studies indicate that crime rates and rates of recidivism were substantially low before the mid-twentieth century. This is large because offenders would often be taken to other sections that fell outside of the penal system.

For instance, the female population would go to county homes especially when the concerned parties were first time offenders. These actions were taken under the assumption that a prison population already contained ‘ hardened’ offenders who would then influence these first-time offenders to become worse. (Kilcommins et al, 2004) It may no longer be feasible to uphold such a view within the criminal justice system because this level of rigor may not be compatible with the high crime rates now being witnessed.

However, evidence still shows that when prisoners are taken to less restrictive environments, they tend to show a higher capacity to change and this substantially reduces their recidivism rates. (Kilcommins et al, 2004) These points of view are further supported by studies carried out by Wilson and McCabe (2002) who analyzed the sentiments of prisoners or former prisoners who have undergone the therapeutic process. In their assertions, the latter authors did a case study analysis of a well known Irish prison – Grendon in order to find out whether therapeutic processes are effective.

This prison was an ideal location for the case study because it firmly supports the concept of a therapeutic community. Given the positive results of such a study then the proposed penal policy will advocate for the adoption of more therapeutic processes in prison rather than the punitive approaches. Prison administrators must make a radical shift from viewing inmates only as criminal elements who can understand nothing but the language of violence. Instead, stakeholders should view this system as a means with which individuals are being given an opportunity to reform and become law-abiding citizens.

At the core of such an approach are years of evidence showing how recidivism rates in countries such as the United States and England are on the rise because of the push for a get-tough approach. In these countries, the concern is given to strategies that are politically favorable. Individuals who have the capacity for prison reforms are usually politicians and most of them want to appeal to the masses by talking tough on crime. The problem with such a strategy is that it is misguided and not grounded in evidence.

The assumption that greater punishment and greater prison expansion has the ability to change recidivism rates has little support in criminal justice literature today. In fact, the reverse is often true as criminals tend to get more determined to rebel against such an unbearable system. (Warner, 1998)

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us