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TREATMENT OF CRIMINALS

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· Rehabilitative programs

· Psychiatric and case-study methods

· Bentham approach

· Neoclassical school

· Preventive approach

(1) Various correctional approaches developed in the wake of causation theories. The old theological and moralistic theories encouraged punishment asretribution by society for evil. This attitude, indeed, still exists. The 19th-century British jurist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham tried to make the punishment more precisely fit the crime. Bentham believed that pleasure could be measured against pain in all areas of human choice and conduct and that human happiness could be attained through such hedonic calculus. He argued that criminals would be deterred from crime if they knew, specifically, the suffering they would experience if caught. Bentham therefore urged definite, inflexible penalties for each class of crime; the pain of the penalty would outweigh only slightly the pleasure of success in crime; it would exceed it sufficiently to act as a deterrent, but not so much as to amount to wanton cruelty. This so-called calculus of pleasures and pains was based on psychological postulates no longer accepted.

(2)The Bentham approach was in part superseded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by a movement known as the neoclassical school. This school, rejecting fixed punishments, proposed that sentences vary with the particular circumstances of a crime, such as the age, intellectual level, and emotional state of the offender; the motives and other conditions that may have incited to crime; and the offender's past record and chances of rehabilitation.The influence of the neoclassical school led to the development of such concepts as grades of crime and punishment, indeterminate sentences, and the limited responsibility of young or mentally deficient offenders.

(3)At about the same time, the so-called Italian school stressed measures for preventing crime rather than punishing it. Members of this school argued that individuals are shaped by forces beyond their control and therefore cannot be held fully responsible for their crimes. They urged birth control, censorship of pornographic literature, and other actions designed to mitigate the influences contributing to crime. The Italian school has had a lasting influence on the thinking of present-day criminologists.

(4)The modern approach to thetreatment of criminals owes most to psychiatric and case-study methods. Much continues to be learned from offenders who have been placed on probation or parole and whose behavior, both in and out of prison, has been studied intensively. The contemporary scientific attitude is that criminals are individual personalities and that their rehabilitation can be brought about only through individual treatment. Increased juvenile crime has aroused public concern and has stimulated study of the emotional disturbances thatfoster delinquency. This growing understanding of delinquency has contributed to the understanding of criminals of all ages.

(5)During recent years, crime has been under attack from many directions. The treatment and rehabilitation of criminals has improved in many areas. The emotional problems of convicts have been studied and efforts have been made to help such offenders. Much, however, remains to be done. Parole boards have engaged persons trained in psychology and social work to help convicts on parole or probation adjust to society. Various states have agencies with programs of reform and rehabilitation for both adultand juvenile offenders.

Many communities have initiated concerted attacks on the conditions that breed crime. Criminologists recognize that both adult and juvenile crime stem chiefly from the breakdown of traditional social norms and controls, resulting from industrialization, urbanization, increasing physical and social mobility, and the effects of economic crises and wars. Most criminologists believe that effective crime prevention requires community agencies and programs to provide the guidance and control performed, ideally and traditionally, by the family and by the force of social custom. Although the crime rate has not drastically diminished as a result of these efforts, it is hoped that the extension and improvement of all valid approaches to prevention of crime eventually will reduce its incidence.

 




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