rehabilitation


On January 18, 1989, the abandonment of rehabilitation in corrections was confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Mistretta v. United States, the Court upheld federal “sentencing guidelines” which remove rehabilitation from serious consideration when sentencing offenders. Defendants will henceforth be sentenced strictly for the crime, with no recognition given to such factors as amenability to treatment, personal and family history, previous efforts to rehabilitate oneself, or possible alternatives to prison. The Court outlined the history of the debate: “Rehabilitation as a sound penological theory came to be questioned and, in any event, was regarded by some as an unattainable goal for most cases.” The Court cited a Senate Report which “referred to the ‘outmoded rehabilitation model’ for federal criminal sentencing, and recognized that the efforts of the criminal justice system to achieve rehabilitation of offenders had failed.” – source: an excerpt from The Debate on Rehabilitating Criminals: Is It True that Nothing Works?, by Jerome G. Miller, D.S.W. – Printed in the Washington Post, March 1989

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