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Correctional system: tool for punishment, means of rehabilitation

The US correctional system can serve two specific functions in relation to criminal offenders. First, it can serve as a tool for punishing the offender and making the offender pay for his/her crimes. Second, it can serve as a means to rehabilitating the offender and preparing him/her for successful reentry into society.

1. How does our correctional system punish offenders?
2. How does our correctional system rehabilitate offenders?
3. Which method is more effective in reducing crime? Punishment or rehabilitation? Explain your choice.

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The correctional system in America has been involved in a debate over reformative or punitive policy toward inmates for a long time with some advocating for punishment and others advocating for rehabilitation through reformative policies that will allow for the defendant to reenter society as a changed individual devoid of their criminal past. In this summary I will provide the different punitive measures available for punishing defendants convicted of criminal acts depending upon the severity of their crime and also highlight how reformative policies can rehabilitate defendants in prison. Finally I will provide an insight into my own personal opinion as to the effectiveness of the two different paradigms and which one or a combination of both that would be most desirable for optimal measures to sentence defendants.

The use of punitive sanctions to punish criminals has been around since the first written laws in the ancient world. Today these punitive measures are not as drastic as the often violent and disproportionate response for offenses committed, but there still exists staples of punishment for criminals akin to the old days such as the death penalty, drug laws, and other draconian measures used to punish people in the correctional paradigm. When punishing criminals within a correctional facility it first begins with the sentences that are given depending on the amount of time that the defendant receives for a criminal offense. After they have received their sentence the defendant will either be remanded to a facility that practices punitive or rehabilitative forms of justice for its ...