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December 15, 2004

The continued rehabilitation of rehabilitation

This summer, I noted here that many states have recently taken a fresh look at rehabilitation in their criminal justice systems, primarily through elimination of some mandatory sentences and expanded treatment-centered alternatives to incarceration.  And just last week, this post detailed that Texas policy-makers are also caught up in this tangible modern shift from penal retribution toward rehabilitation.  (For more on the Texas story, consider this recent editorial from the Austin-American Statesman, as well as continued great Texas coverage by Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast and from the site Effective Solutions for the Texas Criminal Justice System.)

The news from other states this week provides additional evidence of what might be viewed as rehabilitation's resurgence:

  • This article from Arizona discusses the opening of new rehabilitation-focused prison units, which a state representative says "represent the first step in what we hope will be the increased focus on corrections and rehabilitation."

  • This article from South Dakota discusses the rehabilitation-focused recommendations of a state task force, which called for state and local corrections officials to "prioritize services for criminals with a chance of turning their lives around."

As revealed by these articles and other materials (such as this 2002 VERA Institute report), budget concerns may be driving many of these developments, especially as we see traditional "tough-on-crime" Republicans serving as leading proponents of this shift toward rehabilitation.  Nevertheless, whatever the reasons, it is useful to note that Blakely is not the only force prompting reconsideration of modern sentencing laws and policies.  And for more on these topics, see:

December 15, 2004 at 01:07 PM | Permalink

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