American and Canadian societies are similar in many ways – people eat the same foods, watch the same movies, listen to the same music, and make many visits across the border. But these similarities conceal profound differences. For one, the U.S. incarceration rate is more than six times as high as Canada’s, and the United States has a homicide rate more than three times as high as its northern neighbor.
Those who argue that incarceration is the answer to our crime problems are hard-pressed to explain why Canada can incarcerate a much smaller proportion of its people and still have a substantially lower homicide rate. But we don’t need to cross the border to find evidence that crime doesn’t necessarily go down when incarceration goes up ... Full Story
Whenever the debate of imprisonment versus rehabilitation arises, the discussion turns to the concept of deterrence.
Those who believe in the virtues of rehabilitation frequently cite the "fact" that incarceration is not a deterrent to crime. This is what I call one of the two 'Great Lies' in the treatment versus punishment debate.
When someone is sentenced to jail or prison, that individual is physically separated from society (the modern version of banishment – society’s first form of punishment). In doing so, the person is quite literally deterred from committing any further crimes against the general public because (due to their incarceration) they simply no longer have physical access to the community ... Full Story
Here's a taste of what people are saying:
"Thank you for the informative article. I've been on both sides of the debate (treatment vs incarceration) and have seen both methods work, but not in sufficient numbers to claim any sort of "victory". Basically it boils down to; if you have made Crime your career choice, 'we will leave the light on for you'."
"I work at three different types of correctional facilities. I believe that it really and truly does come down to the very basic right of every individual: Choice. No matter how hard times get there is always a point where you choose."
"I remember seeing a documentary a couple of years ago that concluded that "punishment" was the only thing proven to be effective and that drug and alcohol rehab was so low and ineffective that even AA quit keeping records of how many remain 'sober. If any of this holds true then what's the solution?"
"As long as I've worked in corrections, I've seen both jail and rehab work. BUT only for those who fully intended to make it work. Most others do not care about being incarcerated because it is time off the streets so they can sleep, eat, get medical attenton, and catch up with their friends and family. To them, rehab is only a means to get out of jail and do what they want. They often find more drugs in rehab than on the street. So, it is there for those who want it and also for those who know how to manipulate the system to get out of jail."