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SOC371H5 (18)

Mona Lynch - rehabilitation as rhetoric.docx

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Philip Goodman

Mona Lynch: Rehabilitation as Rhetoric: The Ideal of Reformation in Contemporary Parole Discourse and Practices  Contemporary penology: the goal of reforming or correcting individual criminals is being abandoned, and instead the focus among practitioners and scholars alike has shifted toward aggregate risk prediction for the problem class, differential containment based upon risk level, and the developmental and implementation of efficient management techniques of the population based on internally defined goals  Downfall to theory of criminality that wrongdoers can be transformed or normalized through a range of penal practices o Replaced by idea that the individual no longer needs to be known in order to wield the power of state sanctioned punishment  Motivations of individual criminals are not relevant to creation of crime control policy, instead, the assumption is made that criminals are ration actors for purpose of trying to minimize crime o Thus efforts to transform wrongdoers are irrelevant to penal practice (this means that corrections as implemented is become the wholesale warehousing of felons in prisons, and the custodial maintenance of less serious offenders in community settings  Ideal of criminal reformation is fading, crime control in general is becoming a practice aimed at minimizing risk and danger, through pseudo-scientific management of offender populations  Crime control applying responsibilization strategy o The state deferring responsibility for job handling the crime problem to private individuals and agencies through such methods as situation crime disincentive measures o Also released the state from responsibility for knowing, understanding, and presumably, shaping the criminal subject Development of California Parole  Disciplinary era of parole o Parolee employment was the primary vehicle for both normalization and control in parole o Employment was key to the corrective process in the eyes of the agency, as it continued to be over the next 40 years o Parolees required to have a promise of a job to be released o Agents ability to supervise was linked to parolees having a job and a place to be during much of the day  Clinical period o Expressed concern with establishing and meeting rehabilitative goals was at an apex, and the other goals of the agency were proportionately de-emphasized o This model of transforming the offender through psychological tools rather than simply through work undergirded the penal theory and practice  Managerial model o Influenced by rejected of rehabilitative practices in corrections, by the threat to paroles existence in a light of shifting criminal justice policies, and increased due process rights for parolees as mandated by the courts o Paperwork, standardized procedure, and documentation became central to the agents duties  In 1977, at the end of California’s rehabilitative era, approximately 2000 parolees were returned to prison on violations.  In 1995, the heart of punitive era, over 72000 violators were returned to prison and parole returns account for 53% of new arrivals to California prisons  The agency was no longer concerned with transforming parolees into law abiding, non deviant citizens, but rather, the focus shifted to managing, controlling, and containing the risked posed by the clientele in the most cost-effective and least politically risky manner Findings  New agents instructed in the initial training that the rehabilitative aspect of their job was a central one, although it was given second place in the training emphasis  Dual goals of rehabilitation and social control were reflected in elements of pre-parole evaluations o Agents were to assess parolee ‘needs’ (housing, health care, employment, etc.) alone with their ‘risks; to community safety, when setting levels of supervision and determining parole plans for new releases  While the agency laid of explicit goals of successful reintegration through traditional rehabilitative measures in its mission statement. Only limited resources were given to agents to meet these goals o The on-site workshop for unemployed parolees had a reputation of being a waste of time, and it was true as the department of corrections own statistic reflect that unemployment was a problem for 70-80%
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