7 Oct 2022


New Rehabilitation and Evaluation

Format: APA

Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 2137

Pages: 8

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The rate of recidivism has been on the rise in the United States over the past two decades. Due to mass incarceration, the number of people in American prisons has been escalating. While people should leave prison at the end of their jail term, the United States has been recording quite a unique trend. A large number of people are more likely to return to prison for a new offense within one year after being released—the rate of recidivism associates with the degree to which the released prisoners have been rehabilitated. The correctional programs help the inmates have a smooth reintegration and re-entry into the society at the end of their jail term. However, the rising cases of recidivism show the ineffectiveness of the current rehabilitation programs in helping the inmates reintegrate into the community. The high rates of recidivism tend to come with considerable costs to the government while also having adverse effects on the community as a whole. The ineffectiveness of the current correctional programs has led to the rise of new rehabilitation programs that are deemed effective. 

Overview of Rehabilitation Programs in the U.S. 

Many convicted offenders face several challenges as they seek to reenter and reintegrate into the community. The current data shows that the rate of recidivism in the United States continues to rise. At least a third of people released from prison are more likely to be rearrested within one year ( Wilson, 2016 ). There are currently various programs that rehabilitate the inmates and help them have a smooth re-entry and integration to the society. However, many researchers have argued that the rate of recidivism can measure the effectiveness of any correctional program. The fact that the rate of recidivism remains high means that the currently used programs in the correctional facilities are ineffective. The role of rehabilitation programs in prison has gained much attention for many researchers. The correctional programs play a significant role in ensuring that people get a smooth rejoining to society. Despite the importance of the correctional programs, lack of emphasis has led to a high number of rearrests in the United States. There is currently no effective rehabilitation system in American prisons to help the inmates manage their emotions and behaviours and get back to the community as changed people. Rather than being correctional centers, prisons have become punitive facilities that do not play a significant role in changing the inmates and prepare them for future lives. 

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A review of the effectiveness of the rehabilitation programs has identified gaps within the current correctional programs. The existing literature focuses on the new approaches to handle the rehabilitation programs in a way that makes them more useful. The new approaches seek to identify the challenges that inmates face as they get back to society and how to improve the best effectiveness of the re-entry process ( Thielo et al., 2016 ). With a focus on rehabilitation, re-entry, and reintegration, the new model of correction programs has been emerging. The Risk-Need-Responsibility model and Good Lived Model have emerged as some of the significant rehabilitation models to increase the effectiveness of the correctional programs. 

Risk-Need-Responsivity Model 

Most of the rehabilitation programs used do not assess the needs and risks of the inmates while providing treatment options. The police arrest criminals for committing different offenses and thus possess different risks as they get back to the community. The risk-need-responsibility model plays a significant role in assessing the prisoners based on the risks they present and that they need to reduce recidivism ( Newsome & Cullen, 2017 ). it is crucial to incorporate the need and risk analysis for the inmates to help the current rehabilitation programs reduce recidivism. Under this model, three significant principles are necessary. The model considers the risk principle, the need principle, and the responsivity principle. The risk principle is based on the view that offenders have different risks of recidivism and thus may need various intervention programs ( Gideon & Sung, 2010 ). Rather than the traditional approach where all the inmates undergo the same program, this model suggests the need for risk assessment. Depending on the extent of risk, one should be placed in the intervention program that best helps reduce such a risk. 

The model also assesses the need of every offender to understand their set of criminogenic requirements. Different offenders have their own unique criminogenic needs, which could affect recidivism. However, all inmates in traditional rehabilitation programs receive equal treatment, irrespective of their criminogenic needs leading to ineffectiveness. The new intervention programs need to focus on the specific needs of the inmates and adopt the right program that best fits individual needs. While many interventions are in use to rehabilitate inmates, the new approach to interventions is focusing on the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy ( Newsome & Cullen, 2017 ). The use of cognitive-behavioural therapy promotes the ability of the offender to learn from the rehabilitative program. This model tailors the learning style and skills to match that of the offender. The model promises to support the effectiveness of the new rehabilitative programs for the offenders. 

Educational and Vocational Training Programs 

Educational and Vocational Training Programs play a significant role in helping the offenders get back to the community. Recent data shows that inmates who have undergone educational train and vocational programs are less likely to return to prison after being released from prison ( Hill, 2015 ). One of the problems faced by offenders reintegrating back to society is unemployment. The majority are more likely to find a challenge securing a job after their release, and this increases the risk of engaging in other offenses. Research shows that inmates who take part in educational training and vocational programs have 43% lower chances of recidivism ( Hill, 2015 ). One major area of focus on the training and vocational programs in employment. The skills gained during the training period can help the offenders to get into the job market and have a smooth reintegration. According to Newton et al. (2018), the employment rate was 13% higher amongst offenders who participated in educational training and vocational programs compared to those who did not. In addition to being effective in reducing the rate of recidivism, this program is also cost-effective. 

` However, the educational training and vocational program require the incorporation of both the good lives model and risk-need-responsivity model. A combination of this program with the good lives model plays a positive role in enhancing smooth re-entry. This GLM model focuses on identifying the strengths and capabilities of the people as a way of reducing the risks of recidivism ( Gideon & Sung , 2010). Offending occurs as a result of an attempt to fulfill certain human needs. However, the deficit in the environment manifests itself in a manner that leads to risky behaviour. The goal of the educational program is, therefore, to help people reach their full potential by offering support to bridge the deficit existing in the environment. Research has shown that applying the GLM into educational programs tend to have a positive role in the future lives of the inmates. They get out of the prisons with changed purpose and added value to their lives. 

Some researchers have also assessed the effectiveness of the educational programs from the perspective of the risk-need-responsivity model. Under this model, educational programs are more effective when the needs and risks of the offender are identified. The educational programs that address the lack of work and financial problems for the offender are more effective in reducing recidivism. The modern educational training programs need to focus on the future skills needed by the inmates to meet the employment needs as they get back to society. At the same time, the kind of training program needs to match the learning style of the offenders. The modern training approach that incorporates new rehabilitation models has shown to yield a positive outcome. The approach not only equips the offender with skills to reenter the society but also offers long term solution to the issue of recidivism. 

Substance Abuse Treatment Programs 

Drug abuse remains one of the major problems for the high rates of incarceration in the United States. Due to the close association between drug abuse and incarceration, the problem has links to recidivism. The drug treatment programs have emerged as new approaches to promote re-entry and reduce recidivism. People incarcerated for drug offences are more likely to engage in similar crimes after release if they do not receive any therapy on substance abuse. The treatment program needs to address substance abuse as a criminogenic need. The identification of the need that leads to criminal behaviour becomes the foundation for forming the therapy approach to solve the problem. Once the need has been identified, the application of cognitive-behavioural therapy helps in recovery. The cognitive-behavioural therapy intervention allows the inmates to understand how they are doing and to acquire skills that help them to develop behavior change. 

The currently used drug treatment programs provide only an array of drug education and counselling, which are ineffective in enhancing behavior change. However, the new approach to correctional program seeks to ensure that the offenders undergo an intensive course of therapy aimed at affecting the lifestyle of clients beyond their substance abuse problem. Recent data shows that this approach to drug treatment proves to be effective in reducing recidivism. According to Papp et al. (2016), the use of an effective drug treatment program can lead to a reduction in recidivism by up to 35%. The program promotes positive behavior change by using CBT to help the inmates understand their actions. Rather than the counselling programs currently provided, this modern approach ensures that the offenders understand their behaviors and take the self-initiative to change. 

Faith-Based Programs 

Religious and spiritual outlets tend to play a major role in stabilizing and motivating the prisoners to develop behavior change. The cultivation and nurturing of the spirituality amongst the prisoners have proved to be an effective way to develop a moral foundation ( Roberts & Stacer, 2016 ). The faith-based programs create more hope for the inmates and help them lead changes in their behavioral patterns. It prepares them to develop positive thinking and lead a meaningful life upon release. Teachings through biblical encouragements are known to help people be strong and to develop moral values that guide them throughout their lives. This approach helps the inmates find a new meaning in life and see their purpose in Christ as they get back to the community. In Psalm 118:5, the bible says, "out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free." This bible verse provides a message for hope to the inmates to remain trusting in the Lord. 

The faith-based prison programs work through the foundation of moral values that guide one throughout the life journey. Recent data shows that inmates who undergo though the faith-base program are ten times less likely to engage in crime after release. Instead, most of them come out as changed people who preach peace and morals to the rest of the society members. The faith-based programs work by impacting one's emotions, which reflects in actions. It creates a connection between humanity and Christ, which triggers one to develop behavior change. 

Therapeutic Communities 

Most prisoners have different needs that place them at the risks of recidivism. A certain group of offenders requires special needs and programs to help them reenter society after incarceration. During the incarceration, the inmates go through therapeutic programs. Besides, they undergo treatment programs where they learn to live honestly, manage their emotions, and acquire self-reliance. The CBT model is used to help the inmates develop an insight into their actions and review their thoughts about criminal behavior ( Gideon & Sung, 2010 ). In these facilities, the inmates receive talks that encourage them to take responsibility for their behaviors and develop behavioral change. In the therapeutic communities, role models are used to show how to have a rightful living and how to take appropriate action to change the behavior. 

Therapeutic communities have emerged as an evidence-based practice to reenter the community smoothly. It provides the inmates will all the information they need to acquire the community services upon re-entry. They acquire information on how to get housing, treatment, and many other facilities that are necessary to have a smooth re-entry. A study conducted in California has shown that inmates who go through the therapeutic communities are 76% less likely to commit crimes after their release. With the use of CBT, the inmates can transition to the community without facing any challenge. They can prevent relapse and get to the social connections that previously link to crime and drug abuse ( Gideon &Sung, 2010 ). Unlike the traditional rehabilitative approaches, this new approach plays a positive role in enhancing re-entry and reintegration for the visitors. 


Recidivism continues to be a major problem facing the American prison system. The rate of people getting rearrested after release from the prison has remained relatively higher. This high rate is an indication of the ineffectiveness of the currently used rehabilitative programs. One of the major goals of correctional programs is to help the inmates reenter reintegrate smoothly into the community after completing sentencing. The emergence of new approaches to correctional programs has proved to yield positive results. The combination of educational programs and substance abuse treatment programs with the right models tend to yield a positive outcome. Risk-need-responsivity and GLM can provide effective educational and treatment programs that reduce recidivism. Also, the faith-based programs and therapeutic communities have come out as some of the most promising approaches to reduce recidivism. 


Gideon, L., & Sung, H. E. (Eds.). (2010).  Rethinking corrections: Rehabilitation, reentry, and reintegration . Sage publications. 

Hill, A. (2015). Education reduces recidivism.  Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Newsome, J., & Cullen, F. T. (2017). The risk-need-responsivity model revisited: Using biosocial criminology to enhance offender rehabilitation.  Criminal Justice and Behavior 44 (8), 1030-1049. 

Newton, D., Day, A., Giles, M., Wodak, J., Graffam, J., & Baldry, E. (2018). The impact of vocational education and training programs on recidivism: A systematic review of current experimental evidence.  International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology 62 (1), 187-207. 

Papp, J., Campbell, C., Onifade, E., Anderson, V., Davidson, W., & Foster, D. (2016). Youth drug offenders: An examination of criminogenic risk and juvenile recidivism.  Corrections 1 (4), 229-245. 

Psalm 118:5 

Roberts, M. R., & Stacer, M. J. (2016). In their own words: Offenders’ perspectives on their participation in a faith-based diversion and reentry program.  Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 55 (7), 466-483. 

Thielo, A. J., Cullen, F. T., Cohen, D. M., & Chouhy, C. (2016). Rehabilitation in a red state: Public support for correctional reform in Texas.  Criminology & Public Policy 15 (1), 137-170. 

Wilson, D. B. (2016). Correctional programs. In  What works in crime prevention and rehabilitation  (pp. 193-217). Springer, New York, NY. 

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