CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUE – Incarceration v. Community Corrections.

32% of the correctional population is actually incarcerated yet 88% of correctional funds go towards this segment of the population (Mallicoat p. 312 – from Pew, 2011).  The portion of the corrections system that suffers is obviously community corrections.  During the beginning of the 1970’s there began to be promulgated the perspective that community corrections was “soft on crime (Mallicoat p. 309).  In an odd little concurrence of opinion on an issue, both liberals and conservatives agreed that rehabilitation should end as a main component of corrections.  Liberals felt that discretion lead to inequality of racial and class based incarceration and Conservatives argued to limit the discretion of too lenient judges and to get tough on crime to protect the communities and uphold the rights of victims.

The conservative crime control model won out in the end, but it is interesting to note the impact of the 1974 report by Martison dubbed the “Martison Report”.  The Martison Report came to the conclusion that with respect to rehabilitation, “nothing works”.  This lead to a move in the end to protect the public from criminals and therefore the move towards the more conservative crime control model of corrections.  The report conclusions were based on the lack of empirical data and inconclusive data.  The huge impact of the report was probably a surprise to the author because Martison came out in 1979 with another report refuting the 1974 report.

This 1979 report said that if a rehabilitative correctional program is properly theoretically informed and focuses on an appropriate correctional population that rehabilitation was indeed effective.  The damage done to the rehabilitation focus within corrections had been done in the short 5 years and has taken until recent years to gain momentum again.  More popular support for the rehabilitative movement probably stems from years of fighting the drug wars spurned on by Anti-Sandinista Regan sentiment which fueled Iran Contra and put our government operatives in positive connection with Cocaine producers from south of the border.  These outside of congress methods of funneling supplies to the contras from Middle Eastern Weapons to American Cocaine have set up a drug war epidemic whose tide is only now being stemmed.  Rehabilitation for the majority of drug crimes is proving to be a highly effective answer.

There also is not enough resources for incarceration and when a non-violent offender can be kept outside of the walls of a prison, and can work part-time to pay for their own treatment to a certain extent, this keeps that person one step closer to reentry.  Rehabilitation in the sense this week’s reading is not only about drugs though.  It is about rehabilitation from violence too.  There has been shown a great effectiveness of domestic violence and anger management programs as well as drugs and alcohol.


Mallicoat, S.L, Gardiner, C.L. (2014). Chapter 19. Reentry and Rehabilitation. Criminal Justice Policy. (p. 309-324)

Pew Center on the States. (2011).  State of recidivism: the revolving door of America’s prisons. Retrieved from: