The primary focus of prisons should be rehabilitation, not punishment.

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The primary focus of prisons should be rehabilitation, not punishment.

Pros
Cons
  • Prioritising rehabilitation is best for the community.

  • The offender will be less likely to commit further crimes if there is an emphasis on rehabilitation while in prison.

  • As the prisoner will re-enter the community upon completion of their sentence, it is necessary to focus on the holistic rehabilitation of the individual.

  • Prisons must prioritise rehabilitation because highly punitive sentences cause harms to the prisoners.

  • It is morally acceptable for prisons to focus on rehabilitation.

  • Rehabilitation ultimately would drive down the cost of imprisonment to the community.

  • In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is that you lose your freedom. If we treat people like animals when they are in prison they are likely to behave like animals.businessinsider.com

  • People are responsible for their crimes, societal problems cause the number of crimes. By foregoing the circumstances which lead to crime and instead punishing the guilty individuals short term revenge feelings are satisfied while long term societal problems are ignored.

  • With 1 to 2 million inmates, the US boasts the largest prison population in the world with a vicious re-entry rate (~68%). Disregarding the responsibility to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners - as sons/daughters, dads/moms, and most importantly, Americans - we ignore the core socioeconomic drivers of criminality. Providing medical, educational, vocational services to prisoners to encourage positive transition into society ensures prisoners are punished but not pulverized by their sentence.

  • As rehabilitation is harder to objectively measure than a reasoned length of punishment, it is necessary to focus primarily on the more concrete concept, ie punishment.

  • Rehabilitation would add additional operating costs that detract from the primary goal of a prison: incarceration.

  • Punishment is what is 'just' for those who wrong society through criminal conduct.

  • Rehabilitation does not always work to reduce criminal behaviour in certain individuals, however punishment is proven to be effective.

  • Punishment should be the primary focus of prisons because criminal acts must have consequences to be effective.

  • A system which does not punish for violation of rights does not promote the value of those rights.

  • Punishment exists on a spectrum: from criminal fines and suspended sentences in the community, to deprivation of liberty in prisons and then to capital punishment. The penal system should focus on these options to assess what is best for society and the community.

  • The most essential element of any prison system is that the convicted criminal is removed from society while they serve their time. As a result, it is not possible to construct a system that does not primarily focus on punishment.

  • Rehabilitation is a worthy goal, but prison is a poor setting for it. It is difficult for offenders to observe and practice positive interaction with society when they are isolated from society in a concentrated population of offenders.

  • Criminal justice systems should prioritize a victim's right to retribution in the form of punishment.

  • It's necessary to show respect to the victim as a government to make sure that the pain or death of him or her wasn't without any serious consequences

  • If we structure the problem this way, punishment or rehabilitation, we tacitly accept the need for prisons in our society. By creating this Hegelian dialectic the voters are easily divided up by race and class, proliferating false divisions. The prison system can be abolished without crime running rampant through communities. This topic also assumes the guilt of those within the system, that they deserve rehabilitation or punishment.

  • Punishing criminals is a proven effective way to dissuade prisoners from committing future crimes, as well as a deterrent to would-be criminals worried about punishment.