File Name: what works questions and answers about prison reform .zip
Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Corpus ID: What works? Martinson Published Political Science.
Late one gloomy winter afternoon in , New York sociologist Robert Martinson hurled himself through a ninth floor window of his Manhattan apartment while his teenaged son looked on from across the room. An articulate criminologist, Martinson had become the leading debunker of the idea we could "rehabilitate" criminals. His melancholy suicide was to be a metaphor for what would follow in American corrections.
On January 18, , the abandonment of rehabilitation in corrections was confirmed by the U. Supreme Court. In Mistretta v. United States , the Court upheld federal "sentencing guidelines" which remove rehabilitation from serious consideration when sentencing offenders.
Defendants will henceforth be sentenced strictly for the crime, with no recognition given to such factors as amenability to treatment, personal and family history, previous efforts to rehabilitate oneself, or possible alternatives to prison. The Court outlined the history of the debate: "Rehabilitation as a sound penological theory came to be questioned and, in any event, was regarded by some as an unattainable goal for most cases. Robert Martinson's skepticism derived from his role in a survey of studies on offender rehabilitation.
Entitled, The Effectiveness of Correctional Treatment: A Survey of Treatment Evaluation Studies , it was to become the most politically important criminological study of the past half century. Ironically, though the survey came to be virtually identified with Martinson's name, he had joined the research team only after they were well into their work.
Senior author Douglas Lipton and co-author Judith Wilks found themselves eclipsed by Martinson's flamboyant personality and flair for the pithy in capsulizing his version of the meaning of an otherwise rather dry tome. His views were enthusiastically embraced by the national press, with lengthy stores appearing in major newspapers, news magazines and journals, often under the headline, "Nothing Works!
Paradoxically, the idea that nothing worked in rehabilitating offenders appealed to Left and Right alike. In an unusual four part series in the liberal New Republic , Martinson wrote, "the represent array of correctional treatments has no appreciable effect - positive or negative - on rates of recidivism of convicted offenders.
This was good news to civil libertarians concerned with the injustices of indeterminate sentencing. In California, for example, offenders were routinely given "day-to-life" prison sentences with release dates tied to such vague rehabilitative criteria as "attitude".
But, if the idea that "nothing works" was well- received by liberals, it was even better news for conservatives who demanded tougher handling of offenders. But, to a nation emerging from the Vietnam War and an unruly youth and drug culture, "nothing works" was a slogan for the times. The decade from to saw reported murders double from 4. Assault rose from The idea that this explosion of street crime must be due to an attitude of permissiveness was particularly appealing.
Barry Goldwater tried unsuccessfully to make crime an issue in the campaign. But as the crime rates rose, Richard Nixon, elevated the matter to a high art. The campaign made crime a major issue. Ironically, John Mitchell led the attack, successfully focusing on then-Attorney General Ramsey Clark, much in the fashion of the recent Presidential campaign.
The implication was that the criminal justice system, and in particular, corrections, had grown soft by over-relying on such vague concepts as "rehabilitation. There has never been a rehabilitative era in American corrections.
Most correctional systems had few, if any trained psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers. Virtually all correctional budgets went to staff that operated traditional prisons, jails and reform schools. What looked to outsiders like permissiveness was more often neglect and chaos in a system overcome with an explosion of "baby- boomers.
Martinson cut a near prophetic figure as he criss-crossed the country debating criminologists, cajoling prison wardens, and advising legislators and policymakers that rehabilitation had had its day. And as the issue got hotter, others took it up.
Neo-conservative Harvard management professor, James Q. Wilson added mans' nature to the equation. In his influential book, Thinking About Crime , Wilson wrote, "It requires not merely optimistic but heroic assumptions about the nature of man to lead one to suppose that a person, finally sentenced after in most cases many brushes with the law, and having devoted a good part of his youth and young adulthood to misbehavior of every sort, should, by either the solemnity of prison or the skillfulness of a counselor, come to see the error of his ways and to experience a transformation of his character.
Martinson had a less Calvinistic view. Arrested as a civil rights "freedom rider," he had spent 40 days in the maximum security unit of Mississippi's Parchman State Penitentiary. He as reluctant to posit an offender's intransigence to fallen human nature, unduly heaped upon the poor and minorities who people our prisons.
But others, particularly Wilson and conservative writer, Ernest van den Haag, soon moved the debate beyond Martinson's control. Since "nothing works" in rehabilitating offenders, we must deter and incapacitate them through harsher prison sentences and occasional use of the death penalty. Because of the controversy in , the National Academy of Sciences appointed a Panel to re-evaluate the Lipton, Martinson, and Wilks survey. The Panel's findings were subject to wide interpretation, but central to its conclusion was the comment, "When it is asserted that 'nothing works,' the Panel is uncertain as to just what has even been given a fair trial.
Most rehabilitative programs chalked up as failures, were heavy on rhetoric and slim on services. The classic year "Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study" begun at Harvard in the late s and used ever since by critics of rehabilitation as a premier example of the "nothing works" position, was summarized by Wilson in this way, "The differences in crime between those youth who were given special services counseling, special educational programs, guidance, health assistance, camping trips and a matched control group were insignificant: 'the treatment had little effect'.
Three hundred and twenty boys were assigned to ten counselors who were told to do 'whatever they thought best' for their clients. Counselors had no formal training in the mental health field, much less in psychotherapy. Each youth was seen an average of five times per year during the early years of the project in meetings directed at such things as arranging physical exams or interesting a boy in summer camp.
Not surprisingly, the subjects showed no drop in criminal behavior at , , and year follow-ups. It seems bizarre to have expected otherwise. Some rehabilitative models have failed even in their own terms. Most research for example, suggests it is difficult to successfully rehabilitate offenders in prisons and reform schools. In a comprehensive "cohort" study, Ohio State University researchers found that the "velocity of recidivism" among young offenders actually increased with each institutionalization.
This experience has been confirmed in recent research by the RAND Corporation on adult inmates of state prisons. The implication is that the prisons are criminogenic - producing the very thing they claim to treat.
Approaches which give the offender a brief "taste" of prison also have a poor record. The much hyped "Scared Straight" model, wherein teenagers area brought to prison to be intimidated by inmates to scare them "straight," doesn't lower recidivism. Controlled studies show that teenagers subjected to the frightening experience tended to commit more crimes than a matched sample of non-participants.
Likewise, "shock" probation, whereby an offender is incarcerated for a short time, often led to think it will be for longer , and is then suddenly released back to the community, doesn't work.
The debilitating aspects of prison life apparently outweighed their aversive effect. There is also the matter of how one assesses "success" or "failure. This is a profoundly important issue. In most fields, limited progress is seen as productive.
A person with viral pneumonia who has been treated in a hospital is not labeled a "failure" and re- hospitalized at the first sign of a cough. But a rehabilitative program which lowers the number or de-escalates the seriousness of repeat crimes is usually seen as unacceptable. As a result, one can have a "successful" program with high rates of recidivism. In one study of a family therapy program geared to hard-core delinquents, 30 adolescents each with 20 previous adjudicated offenses , were matched with a control group of 44 delinquents with similar offense histories.
At the end of a month follow-up, 60 percent of the family therapy group had committed a new offense. This looked like failure. But then, we see that 93 percent of the control group which didn't get the therapy had been so charged. If this were not a political arena, rehabilitation would be judged against the alternatives proposed by those who reject it. Measuring recidivism is further complicated by other contemporary events. Simply residing in some communities increases the likelihood of contact with the criminal justice system and being labeled a recidivist.
Nearly half, 46 percent of boys in some areas will appear in juvenile court during their teen years. Among young black men in certain parts of the country, seven out of ten can anticipate being arrested at least once. Though this may suggest failure, it is not necessarily a true measure of individual criminal behavior. But the NAS Panel identified the elements it saw as crucial to successful programs. Where there is a wide adversity of strong alternatives, recidivism can be lowered. Where there is little choice, recidivism remains the same or increases.
This was what University of Southern California sociologist, Lamar Empey found in this famous "Provo Project" which showed that recidivism rates fell significantly for youthful offenders placed in community-based programs, when compared with youth in state institutions. It was reiterated a decade later by Harvard's Center for Criminal Justice, when researchers studied recidivism among youthful delinquents placed in community treatment as opposed to state reform schools.
Serious delinquents placed in the community with no treatment showed no lower rates of recidivism than reform school youth, and in many cases did worse. Better performance wasn't simply a matter of maturation, but seemed related to the number and quality of treatment options. The intensity and integrity of the treatment was crucial to lowering recidivism rates.
Though this may seem self-evident, it's foreign to corrections. The corrections establishment made up, for the most part, of administrators, former guards, or political appointees with little background in such arcane subjects as social deviance and recidivism, has never been more than faintly interested in rehabilitation. Even programs ballyhooed as rehabilitative, such as the much maligned "furlough," are tolerated not so much for their rehabilitative effect, as for the fact that they provide incentives which lead to smoother prison management.
Corrections is a system of extremes - debilitating prisons vs. To use a medical analogy, it would be like asking a doctor for relief from a headache, and being told there are only two treatments - an aspirin or a lobotomy.
More often, it's like going to the same doctor with a broken arm or an acute appendicitis and being told the same two treatments, an aspirin or a lobotomy, are all that's available. Criminal behavior is no more unitary than any other individual or social malady. If the treatment options are so narrow as to be irrelevant, the likelihood of success is diminished.
The simple mathematics along suggest that the chances of fitting the treatment to the individual offender are enhanced when there are more choices. In Massachusetts, for example, recidivism fell among former reform school youth in those regions of the state where a wide range of community-based alternatives were created,. Where there was no such array of services, recidivism remained the same or increased. It was not a matter of identifying any single regimen which worked for all offenders.
Rather, success was in the mix of models. The common thread which wound its way through the most effective programs of whatever type, was whether or not they had close ties to the community.
In he ran for mayor of Berkeley, California as the Socialist Party candidate. Martinson was a participant in the Freedom Riders , spending over a month in two Mississippi jails, and wrote about his experience for The Nation. He married Rita J. Carter on September 18, in San Francisco, California. Martinson's investigation with Douglas Lipton and Judith Wilks regarding rehabilitation of inmates in prison had been commissioned in by the New York State Governor's Commission on Criminal Offenders. It covered earlier studies, dated from to
Late one gloomy winter afternoon in , New York sociologist Robert Martinson hurled himself through a ninth floor window of his Manhattan apartment while his teenaged son looked on from across the room. An articulate criminologist, Martinson had become the leading debunker of the idea we could "rehabilitate" criminals. His melancholy suicide was to be a metaphor for what would follow in American corrections. On January 18, , the abandonment of rehabilitation in corrections was confirmed by the U. Supreme Court.
The paper presents a critical analysis of the risk prediction enterprise. The paper addresses the accuracy of prediction, the ethics of prediction, and in particular the research culture within which research on prediction occurs. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Andersson, J.
He joined the Department of Corrections in as a Probation Officer. He studied Philosophy at the University of Auckland. This is a disaster. In a climate of austerity, governments have become less willing to spend money where outcomes are uncertain or untested.
How can philosophers contribute to the resolution of the current prison crisis in the United States, and what sorts of philosophical work should activists make use of in their efforts to address that crisis? This paper examines two periods of prison reform in the 20th century, to indicate the problematic role that traditional theories of the moral justification of punishment have had in the history of reform effects have played. I argue that moral theories of punishment are not the best vehicle for addressing the prison crisis; the approaches suggested by critical social theory are more promising.
Однажды, в первый год своей работы в агентстве, Сьюзан заглянула в комнату новых криптографов за какими-то бумагами. Уже направляясь к двери, она увидела свое фото на доске объявлений и едва не лишилась чувств. На фотографии она была изображена наклонившейся над постелью, в одних трусиках.
Ни за. Ты же меня прихлопнешь. - Я никого не собираюсь убивать. - Что ты говоришь. Расскажи это Чатрукьяну.
А вдруг Танкадо умнее. - Может. - Сьюзан пожала плечами, демонстрируя равнодушие. - Мы с ним какое-то время переписывались, - как бы невзначай сказал Хейл.
А кто же еще! - ответил тот с гордостью. - Хочу его запатентовать. - Как торговую марку? - Беккер смотрел на него изумленно.