The Great Recession Has Forced a New Exploration of Rehabilitation Instead of Retribution in Sentencing

An interesting debate as been growing in the media about whether refocusing the criminal justice system back towards rehabilitation is a smart budget cutting move. Michigan Department of Corrections Director Patricia Caruso has channeled significant resources into rechanneling corrections towards community based supervision and away from incarceration. Despite significant evidence that this works, vast improvements criminogenic predictive tests, and technology for enhanced supervision, prosecutors continue to argue that the only cure is long prison sentences. Earlier this month, the New York Times had a fascinating story about this. Meanwhile a report from Texas (of all states) notes a significant cost savings and reduction in reoffenses in cases utilizing a similar approach. To read the story, click here. Similarly, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures notes similar trends in many states. For more information on these sentencing/parole predictors from an academic perspective, explore this article (pay access) by Professors Davis, Severy, Kraus, and Whitake