Crime is a serious problem of modern society. People need safely surrounding for happy living and it is the duty of the state to provide their safety. A lot of attempts are made in order to find new ways of dealing with the growing crime rate. Correctional policies are designed in order to punish lawbreakers and prevent new crimes. Using differentiated approach when dealing with different types of crime can bring good results as it takes into account all peculiarities of each separate crime category. Despite there is a trend to modern society aiming to limit the use of imprisonment as correctional policy it stays one of the most effective and most widespread policies.
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Scientists provide a lot of theories trying to explain the origins and reasons of criminal behavior. Most of the theories turn to the ideas of inequality and trying poor people to get some compensation for their lower status and lack of possibilities in life.
Social Control theory regards all human creatures as naturally inclined to committing crimes and become surprised with those, who don’t. Despite these theories put all the guilt for the crimes committed on the society, it still serves the additional proof that only retributional policies can bring necessary result.
Rational arguments will not work with people, who feel social injustice. That is why preventive measures are not very likely to be effective in this case. At the same time there is a big hope that imprisonment can become a combination of preventive and punishing measure as it serves as a punishment to actual criminals and reminds about potential retribution to the potential ones.
There are four different theories on crime and punishment, which assume the use of different correctional policies. Justice theory is based on the Judeo-Christian idea of paying a debt for the crime committed. Idea of retribution is widely accepted in this system. Such a theory assumes that those who commit crimes will be punished and victim will feel better knowing about this. Second theory of the correctional policy is based on the principle of deterrence. This philosophy is based on the idea that “punishment should be sure, speedy, commensurate with the crime, and sufficiently conspicuous to deter others from committing crimes.” (Dye, p. 100) Incapacitation philosophy of correctional policy is based on the idea of protecting society from the threat caused by lawbreakers. This protection is provided by putting prisoners in prisons. The fourth theory is based on the principle of rehabilitation. It states that society is responsible for the criminal behaviour of individuals and, thus owns them rehabilitation in order to help them to come back to normal life.
If we study carefully all four approaches to correctional policy we will notice that not all of them are applicable in modern context. Judaeo-Christian philosophy of justice has some fallacies. First of all, it can be applied only in the cases when people believe in Judea-Christian moral and ethical norms and regulations. In this case they will perceive an idea of just punishment. In addition, it is not possible to count on this type of justice in all cases. Second theory canters on punishment and criminal’s responsibility paying little attention to potential danger that criminal can bring to the society. Rehabilitation theory can work well for those, who have already committed crime. At the same time it can not prevent from the committing of new crimes as potential criminals and lawbreakers will not be afraid of future punishment. In addition, rehabilitation theory does not exclude imprisonment as it correctional measure can be performed there. That is why I believe Incapacitation theory to be the most convenient and suitable for the contemporary situation. It combines punishment to the criminals with the protection of the society. In addition, it can be used together with such approach as rehabilitation and deterrence approaches.
Incapacitation theory corresponds to the demands of the contemporary society. Since the 1960s correctional policy makes an emphasis on two points: lawbreaker and the community. Offender and community are not separated by the contemporary justice and that is why correctional policy should be designed in such a way which would enable to punish offender and protect community.
Community is presented like a complex system of interconnected phenomena.
Correctional policy is generally aimed to defend community. In contemporary society correctional policy is designed in such a way that it combines retribution and rehabilitation. I believe prisons to be suitable place where these two policies can be successfully combined. In addition, as states Moore, in “correctional policy should be designed to help maintain the public safety at the lowest cost.” (Moore, 118) Till present moment prisons proved to be the most economically adequate correctional policy and there are no reasons to doubt this fact.
An accent, made on preventive measure during recent time, proves to be not as affective one as it was considered in the beginning. Growing crime rate proves ineffectiveness of such policy. It can be traced on the example of school violence, where imprisonment is not used at all or used very seldom. Growing crime rate becomes additional proof of the necessity of imprisonment as a correctional policy. The first and the main reason is the growing rate of school violence. The changing definition of the school violence has also become the subject of concern is. If only several decades ago chewing gun could have been considered as school violence, nowadays brining a gun to school is a usual thing. Schools, which aim to teach children not only basic knowledge on different subjects but also give them moral and ethical values and behavioral patterns, become the places where children meet violence and crime. Nowadays school authorities have to deal such serious problems as sexual assault, rape, drug and alcohol use, verbal threat and abuse, suicide, gun possession, assault with a gun or a knife and many others. “In 1999–2000, 20% of all public schools experienced one or more serious violent crimes such as rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Seventy one percent of public schools reported violent incidents and 46 % reported thefts”(Capozzoli, p.79,). All these facts and numbers become additional proof that preventive policy used alone without punishment are not effective enough.
I believe that all these arguments give enough proof to the idea that imprisonment is the best correctional policy which benefits both, criminals and society.—————————————————————————–
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