David Farabee starts off by looking at crime rates and the public’s perception of crime from the media. The media focuses on high profile cases for severe acts of crime which is not that common compared to other criminal acts. He states that the society’s reaction from the media produces an affect that the crime rate is increasing at an alarming rate. The public’s perception and voice has major influence on what happens with the criminal justice system. Society wants the policy makers to aim for rehabilitative and counselling efforts rather than locking up the criminals.
They would rather see them be back on track and reintegrated into society to have a better life. What the public does not know is that these programs being offered are costing billions of dollars of their money, and in fact, are not working to help these offenders. Recidivism Recidivism is the relapse into crime, after an offender has gotten out of the criminal justice system. Farabee goes into detail that the methods used to calculate recidivism are inaccurate and are actually much higher than we are lead to believe. Recidivism is underestimated because criminals are only being arrested for a very small portion of crimes – less than 1%.
Bias in Studies The studies that have arisen are saying that the programs are indeed beneficial. These studies have shown 6 major sources of bias that Farabee explains in detail; lack of random assignment of offenders, varying follow up periods, dropouts included in study, comparison differences, bias with aftercare programs, and low follow up interview rates. Other sources of bias include publishers feeling/being forced to produce results that show these programs are indeed working. A lot of money and time gets invested in order to do these studies; therefore, there is a lot of pressure.
Also, it is much easier to produce results stating that these programs are beneficial. The results would less likely be published if they demonstrated that the programs were lacking turnover rates and a solution would have to be brought forth in order to fix the problem. The public wants to know that these programs are working and that they can feel safe knowing that these criminals are being ‘fixed’. Farabee feels as if there is no accurate research at this time but understands that it is difficult to measure change. Types of Prison Based Programs
Employment and education in prisons is given to offenders because a high number of offenders are uneducated and have a poor employment history. The reason why they offer education is because they assume that because the offenders lack education it makes them likely to be unemployed which in turn, they end up resorting to crime. They assume that it will work so they continue to use this program method, yet no studies have proven it to be an effective method to reduce recidivism. Life skills based programs are available to help offenders with the challenges they may face in society.
It is supposed to be used so that once out of jail they will use these skills and not have to worry about turning to criminal acts. Although it may be helpful for some offenders because they lack these skills, it is not proven to deter them from committing these acts once released. The cognitive behavioural program seems to have different approaches at different institutions. Some may be helpful, others not so much. This strategy aims to change the way offenders think because they are seen as thinking differently than the average person. Faith based programs have research that fails to include dropouts, etc.
One study shows that this program has even made criminals more likely to commit more crimes. Program Effectiveness These programs according to Farabee are unsuccessful because they have no clear plan or stability for the criminals interested in them. They are all group orientated and the councillors are uneducated and lack the knowledge needed in order to make it successful. Often times these programs do not run when they are supposed to, and the program coordinator often times is switched. The programs offered are not offered near enough, roughly a few hours a week.
With that being said, these programs do not offer the intensity needed. It is also said that the prison based rehabilitative programs do not compare in the least to that of the community based programs. Misconceptions of the Criminal Justice System Farabee goes on to say that there are misconceptions in the system. People think that crime is produced by one single factor, which is not the case. It can be caused by many, and is different with every person. Instead of focusing on one major aspect that they feel has been deteriorated from the offenders lives, they must intervene with as many ways as possible, doing whatever they can.
Multifaceted programs must be used in order to be beneficial. These programs being offered are done so in hopes to be rehabilitative and reduce recidivism rates. Farabee states that these programs are just helping with prison management and keeping order. He further states that they should be continued but not with the hopes of being rehabilitative. Reasons for Crime Farabee states that the reasons that crime occurs is because the offenders choose to act out that way. They have the choice to do as they want, and they chose to be deviant. Just as the rest of society does so in a morally sound way.
Offenders do not think about the consequences when acting out and feel as if they are not going to get caught. They think they can outsmart the system and do as they please with no consequences because the risk of being caught is very low. Criminals will change when the feel that the negatives outweigh the positives in what they are doing. A lot of the times that they commit crimes they do not get punished because they go unheard of. What the criminal must realize is that just because they have been deemed as a criminal, they do not have to be for the rest of their lives. They can move on from that and change for the better.
It is up to them how they want to live their life. Farabee’s Strategy Farabee proposes that offenders be given other sanctions rather than the extremely costly route of a prison sentence (ie. house arrest, community service, fines, etc. ). He further proposes that offenders, who must get sent to jail, spend more time on parole in order to save more money in the long run. These sanctions are not proven to increase recidivism rates, so why should we keep spending more of our taxpaying dollars? Farabee thinks that the rehabilitative programs in the prison system are not working as they are supposed to.
They should keep them and continue to improve them so there is more stability, but not have them with the intent to rehabilitate; more so to maintain and keep the prison running smoothly. Farabee wants to see an efficient and accurate way to measure rates of recidivism. The studies done now are full of unsure results and bias. He wants to see evaluations from credible sources and have these studies done so that they can accurately assess and compare different groups of people. By having mandated experimental designs, more conclusions can be drawn and improvements can be made.
Farabee proposes that a 3 year mandatory sentence of community supervision. Within these 3 years, the offender will be watched in order that no violations of the law occur. He thinks that this will help improve their behaviour and get them back on track. It will help with recidivism and reintegrate them back into the community. By being under constant supervision, it will help to deter the offender for recommitting an offense. It’s a way for the offender to feel that he has control of his life; he has options to get help or try and figure out how to change on his own.
In order to make sure that they are not violating any laws they will have a gps tracking device. This way their moves can be tracked and if they do happen to break the law, authorities will be notified and actions can be taken. Offenders need to know that they cannot get away with anything, in order to stop their criminal behaviours. This way they cannot reap any rewards out of their wrongdoing. Farrabee thinks that it would be highly beneficial for parole officers to have a lighter caseload, 15-1 to be exact.
This way they will have more time to focus on each offender and make sure they are on their best behaviour. This will help with detection of crimes with their clients. Also, the parole officers will have more time to help and make sure they can get the resources that they need in order to be successful. In conclusion, Farabee proposes the above methods be taken in order to reduce recidivism. Although not proven to be successful, he thinks it as a definite start to getting these offenders back on track. These methods will also be very cost efficient and help to better our criminal justice system.