During its 230 year prison history, the United States has advocated various – and sometimes conflicting – purposes for incarceration. Each justification has rested on the tenets of some prevailing theory of human behavior (Akers & Sellers, 2008; Jones, 2008), which attempts to answer two recurring themes: why do some people commit crimes while others do not, and how should the criminal justice system, including the correctional system, respond to such behavior (Siegel, 2003; Winfree & Abadisky, 2010; Vito, Maahs, & Holmes, 2011). This chapter offers an overview of the general tenets of what is considered morally imperative when determining “right” from “wrong”; the four key criminological perspectives of crime, as well as the ontological assumptions, either explicit or implicit, within each hypothesis. Next, the authors discuss how these assumptions dictate society's response to crime and, more specifically, the type of punishment, rehabilitative efforts, or educational opportunities offered to those who violate society's laws (Bohn & Vogel, 2011). The chapter concludes with a discussion of the types of educational programs and therapies that have demonstrated the most promise at reducing crime and recidivism, as well as suggestions for improving current correctional practices.
Fitch, B.D., Normore, A.H. and Werner, D.R. (2011), "Chapter 9 Theories of Criminal Justice: The Influence of Value Attributions on Correctional Education", Normore, A.H. and Fitch, B.D. (Ed.) Leadership in Education, Corrections and Law Enforcement: A Commitment to Ethics, Equity and Excellence (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 161-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3660(2011)0000012012
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