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You're a staffer working in the office of a state senator. The senator has recently been focusing on the state correctional system which seems to be a constant target of criticism for an increasingly vocal number of civil libertarian groups. In addition, some recent charges of abuse at a local jail have also caught the attention of the senator. She is speaking before the state bar association next week and intends to address the ways in which the correctional system may be improved. She has asked you to prepare a detailed outline on correctional theory in general and then make a series of suggestions on ways to implement some of the non-traditional theories of corrections.

Mass incarceration is a generally understood and accepted correctional approach. However, there is often criticism of the simple warehousing of human beings convicted of crimes. In the case of violent criminals, there is the need to safeguard society from the likely future criminal acts of a person convicted of the most heinous offenses. However, even among those individuals, there are schools of thought within the correctional system as to ways in which even violent felons may be rehabilitated and/or treated. There is even more latitude when it comes to addressing the punitive options for those convicted of non-violent or even "victimless" crimes. For ex, there are arguably different legitimate corrections/societal goals between incarcerating a violent sexual predator or serial murderer as opposed to an individual imprisoned on a felony drug charge because he or she sold narcotics to support a drug addiction.

problems:

What are the competing theories of corrections prevalent in today's system?

How are the goals of these punishment or rehabilitative strategies different?

Is there data to support one particular approach over another?

prepare about at least two non-traditional correctional approaches and address the goal of each.

Do you think this approach is effective?

Are some of these approaches more cost-effective than conventional incarceration?

State why you believe so and support your answers with data on rates of recidivism, completion of academic and vocational programs in prison, etc.

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