Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

My daughter is a scholar. She knows her way around academia. She recently sent me these abstracts, which I found fascinating, if sometimes contradictory. But it seems that the academics are leading us away from the punishment model to the rehabilitation model.

The Accountable Prison

1.                         Francis T. Cullen1

2.                         Cheryl Lero Jonson2accountability

3.                         John E. Eck1


Despite being used on a massive scale and consuming huge amounts of the public treasury, prisons have largely failed to reduce offender recidivism. This failure persists both because of archaic beliefs that prisons cannot affect future behavior and because nobody is held accountable for inmate reoffending. Building on lessons from the field of policing, we propose a new era of accountability in corrections—an era in which prison wardens and other correctional officials are mandated to reduce inmate recidivism and are rewarded for doing so. Through a restructuring of incentives, the aim is to create in corrections a sustained interest in making offenders less likely to commit new crimes. More broadly, this approach is intended to transform correctional institutions into “accountable prisons” where concern over offenders’ future community conduct rivals concern over their daily institutional conduct.

A Utopian Prison

Contradiction in Terms?Utopia

1.                         Joycelyn M. Pollock1

2.                         Nancy L. Hogan2

3.                         Eric G. Lambert3

4.                         Jeffrey Ian Ross4

5.                         Jody L. Sundt5


Given the often disquieting history of correctional institutions, we question the notion of a utopian prison and, instead, make suggestions for simply improving existing institutions. First, prisons should adopt a clear commitment to the principles of restorative justice and rehabilitation. Second, the recruitment, training, and retention of staff should be reformed so that staff members are more likely to have a high commitment to such principles. Third, the physical, social, psychological, and moral/ethical safety of the prison must be improved so that individuals can concentrate on change rather than mere survival. Fourth, the evidence supporting rehabilitative programming should be consulted, but, in addition, a more nuanced measure of success should also be considered. Finally, it is necessary to understand the barriers to improving prisons, including the vested interests that profit from the “prison-industrial complex,” public opinion, and budgetary restraints. In conclusion, we argue that prisons will never be utopian, but they can be more just, more humane, and more effective as a place to change lives. Evidence suggests this is what the public wants.

The Therapeutic Prison

1.                         Paula Smith1

2.                         Myrinda Schweitzer1therapy

1.                 1University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA

1.                         Paula Smith, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati, PO Box 210389, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0389, USA Email:


Since the founding of the penitentiary, the hope has persisted that incarceration could serve reformative purposes. This intent to create a truly therapeutic prison is no longer a utopian dream. A theoretically informed and evidence-based approach for designing a correctional institution that delivers effective interventions is now available: the Correctional Program Assessment Inventory (CPAI). In this context, the current essay illuminates how the CPAI can be used to guide the development of a prison whose goals and practices advance offender rehabilitation.

The Future of Community Corrections Is Now

Stop Dreaming and Take Actionaction

1.                         Faith E. Lutze1

2.                         W. Wesley Johnson2

3.                         Todd R. Clear3

4.                         Edward J. Latessa4

5.                         Risdon N. Slate5


The political, economic, and social context in which community corrections functions makes it extremely difficult to achieve successful outcomes. The current fiscal crisis, however, is forcing change as many states can no longer support the cost of our 30-year imprisonment binge. As in the past, community corrections will be expected to pick up the pieces of an overcrowded and expensive prison system. The authors argue that community corrections is capable of taking on this challenge and can be successful if policy makers take action to reduce prison and community supervision populations, ensure that agencies are structured to proactively support evidence-based practice, and recognize corrections as a human services profession. The authors present a number of actions that can be taken to promote a new era of shared responsibility in corrections that is framed within a human rights perspective and driven by an ethic of care.

Moving Toward Utopia

Visions of Progress for American Jails

1.                         Jeanne B. Stinchcomb1

2.                         Brandon K. Applegate2

3.                         Ken Kerle3

4.                         Stan Stojkovic4


Even the most distant utopian dreams are fundamentally anchored in present reality, since it is only by assessing where we are today that it is possible to determine how far we have to go to achieve tomorrow’s goals. For America’s jails, that begins with the analysis of an organizational identity that has traditionally been mired in custodial and security considerations, in contrast to the more reformative human service orientation of a utopian perspective. Moving toward such a renewed identity means operationalizing far-reaching conceptual ideals—from diverting the mentally ill to treating substance abusers. Because accomplishing these advancements depends on a foundation of capable staff, it also means creating an organizational culture where theory, policy, and utopian goals can be translated into operational practices–since it is ultimately the workforce who breathes life into the system, determining whether jails are destined to remain anchored in tradition or are designed to ascend toward a more utopian future.

What is your opinion of these abstracts? Do you agree with some but not others?

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