The United States correctional system supervises over six million convicted offenders in rehabilitation programs a day. There are approximately two million in jail who receive rehabilitation treatment and four million are on parole or probation. With so many people under its control, a central policy issue is what the correctional system hopes to accomplish with those it places behind bars or on community supervision. A simple response might be that the purpose of these correctional sanctions is to “punish” the criminally wayward.
Since the inception of the American penitentiary in the 1820s, however, corrections has embraced as an important goal the transformation of law breakers into the law-abiding—that is, “rehabilitation” or “treatment. ” While probation and parole are both considered community corrections and involve supervision in the community, they differ in other respects. Probation is a sentencing option available to local judges. Convicted offenders are released by the court to serve a sentence under court-imposed conditions for a specified period.
It is considered an alternative to incarceration. In most cases the entire probation sentence is served under supervision in the community. The court retains the authority to supervise, modify conditions, cancel probation and resentence if the probationer violates the terms of probation. The responsible agency for overseeing probation can be either state or local. There are currently more than two thousand separate probation agencies in the United States. There are many types of programs offered to offenders which fit their type of crime.
Some of these programs are designed for substance abusers, sex offenders, those whose requires educational counseling, and also programs that teach life skills. Substance abuse rehabilitation happens when the offender undergoes counseling for a dependence on a physically addictive substance, such as drugs or alcohol. Usually, rehabilitation is assigned to those offenders convicted of crimes related to drug abuse or who have admitted to drugs playing a factor into crimes they’ve committed.
This treatment involves several forms of therapy such as the commonly know 12-step programs. Also, successful completion of the substance abuse rehabilitation program to be a requirement of parole or probation. Those convicted of sex offenses including rape and child molestation, will undergo special rehabilitation designed to improve the chances that they will not commit another sexual crime. These programs also take different forms, most are specifically for the offense committed.
An example would be for those convicted of child molestation, they may undergo counseling designed to help them control urges or change their thought process. For rapists, rehabilitation may involve anger management classes, relationship counseling, or therapy in which they work out their frustrations towards women. Inmates and recently released ex-offenders receive basic education and necessary skills to obtain a job. This type of treatment is classified as educational counseling.
The most basic of these programs focus on teaching elementary math and reading skills. More advanced programs help offenders prepare for vocational tests as well as job trades. In addition life skills are taught to inmates in order to become a functioning member of society, such as making a budget or preparing a resume. With learning these simple tasks and learning how to manage finances offenders may possibly not commit crimes involving money.