Made up of detention facilities like jails or prisons, probation, and parole, the “corrections” system in the United States may actually do more harm than good. Extensive study of the corrections system has found that once someone is entangled in it, their likelihood of being arrested and detained by the system again dramatically increases. If the primary goal of corrections is to keep our communities safe and cultivate improved civic behaviors, why do we rely on methods that produce such poor results? Communities throughout the United States routinely incarcerate people who need help for their mental health and addictions, and those rates are increasing.
Today, we have the capacity and intelligence to implement proven interventions that actually correct the behaviors of populations in detention, and that successfully interrupt cycles of crime. We must create and support programs that turn our costly and often ineffective incarceration system into a true corrections system that addresses the health needs of adults in custody, yields improved civic behavior, and reduces rates of reoffending. And we must recognize that the removal of liberty is itself a serious punishment in the Land of Liberty.
- Universalize access to quality education and vocational training in outcomes-focused correctional settings
- Provide continuity of quality health care
- End the use of prolonged solitary confinement
“In a recent essay for the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Cecilia M. Klingele suggested that recidivism rates produce a ‘one-dimensional’ picture that not only skews the decisions of judges and parole boards, but prevents the ...
Norway has gained an international reputation for effectively rehabilitating prisoners, while officials in Michigan and across the country face burgeoning jail populations and costs — fueled significantly by the mentally ill. Norwa...
University of New Hampshire Roundtable asks: “What is a criminal?” Donna Perkins is an associate professor of justice studies and UNH, and Blair Rowlett is the director of the Strafford County Mental Health Court. Rowlett: (My) “work wit...