What types of rehabilitation is necessary to treat offenders in prison?  What is the effectiveness of these programs?  These two questions will be discussed and answered in this paper.  Learning Team B will also show information on recidivism, which relates directly to the rehabilitation and effectiveness of the programs.  We will show that the effectiveness differs from state to state.  Who does the responsibility of teaching these programs fall on?  This is just another question to be answered.  

This lesson will pertain to juveniles but will relate to adult cases also.  Correctional Facilities, both state and private have been the rehabilitation services for our criminal offenders.  It has been said that the rehabilitation services in all Correctional Facilities are not effective.  That statement is not a fact; moreover, the evidence is present to refute the statement.  Rehabilitation services offerings vary from state to state, especially in regard to juveniles, but the programs themselves must be managed properly to be fully effective.

The type of rehabilitative services available depends on the institution and the types of inmates that are housed.  Many different types of programs are offered, and many are effective.

Areas that need to be addressed or offered for inmate rehabilitation are drug and alcohol treatment, sexual treatment, counseling, educational assessment, needs assessment and self-help programs. 

There may be other areas of rehabilitative services needed and this list certainly does not cover them all.  Among all juvenile correctional facilities in the nation, thirty-seven percent provided on-site substance abuse treatment to their residents (2002).

There are very few criminals are arrested, placed in a Penal Institution, and never had a problem with alcohol or illegal drugs.  Most hardcore offenders, enter with multiple drug problems.  Many of their charges were related to fulfilling the desire to use drugs.  Once in prison, every inmate has to go through a series of tests.  In addition to that, a psychologist, who is trained and experienced, would evaluate each member.  This is a process to determine what caused their downfall. Whatever the diagnosis determined, at that time, they would receive the proper treatment in order to correct the problem.

Inmates are introduced to rehabilitation opportunities that may not be accessible to them in the uncontrolled environment. Both, State and Private facilities have on staff, Chaplaincy Services.  These services provide inmates of all faith groups with reasonable and equitable opportunities to pursue religious beliefs and practices, within the constraints of budgetary limitations and consistent with the security and orderly running of the institutions.  The Chaplains are very personal, giving the inmates comfort as they share personal problems, concerns, or thoughts.  Once the Chaplain has evaluated an individual that wants some assistance, he or she would convey that information to the proper branch within the institution.

As a part of the rehabilitation process, as we mentioned earlier, is the Psychology department.  This department is one of the most comprehensive services offered to prison inmates.  Psychology programs are designed to address a wide range of inmate needs, from drug abuse treatment to anger management.  The programs are effective, and the program’s staff will assist the inmates who want to make positive changes in their behavior.  These criminal offenders learn skills while incarcerated, which prepares them for successful re-entry into their communities upon release.  This aspect will give them self-confidence, which most drug abusers lack, and allow them to find jobs, and live a normal life.

Dealing with juveniles that have been incarcerated is a tough job.  We must rehabilitate youthful offenders and not just punish them.  The offender’s behavior must also be changed.  The effectiveness of incarceration as a strategy for reducing violent crime is limited.  Research has shown that for many youths, the experience of serving time in a large detention center actually increases the likelihood that they will commit violent crimes again in the future (Noguera, n.d.).

The little emphasis, if any, is placed on rehabilitation while youth are in custody, or on re-entry programs when they return to their communities.  According to the California Youth Authority’s (CYA) conservative measures, fifty-five to sixty percent of juvenile convicts return to prison within two years after their release (Noguera, n.d.).

Producing a change in the behavior of a significant number of youthful inmates is unlikely because most of the detention centers are tough, violent places. This makes it difficult to effectively rehabilitate offenders.  Many juvenile convicts are compelled to contend with this pervasive violence much of which is due to widespread gang activity. 

The effectiveness of rehabilitation for offenders also falls onto the prison officials, who are unable to control violence within these facilities. When staff cannot control the inmates, rehabilitation is also affected. 

Controlling criminal behavior can be a tough job, but it is not out of reach.  We must be able to control inmate behavior, rehabilitate, and be able to release an offender back to society with good odds that they will not return to prison.  When offenders cannot be rehabilitated, public fear of them, committing violent crimes are kept at a high level.

Another form of rehabilitation is the opportunity for inmates to work in certain job areas.  This type of rehabilitation can prepare an offender for release from prison and prepare them for a certain job skill.  Mississippi is just one state that allows and offers this type of rehabilitation.  Mississippi developed the Mississippi Prison Industries Act in 1990, which provided inmates with useful activities that can lead to meaningful employment after release in order to assist in reducing the return of inmates to the system (1994). 

The Mississippi Prison Industries Act sets requirements for the prison industries to operate in an economic and efficient manner, and for program outcome and effectiveness.  This program has not been effective as of yet.  The underlying reason that the prison industries program has not been effective in rehabilitating inmates is the Department of Corrections’ lack of guidance and its failure to comply with legal requirements (1994). 

In 1991, Magnolia State Enterprises, Inc. (MSE) was incorporated to provide the prison industries activities to meet the act’s mission, and in February of 1991, MSE assumed responsibility from DOC for business operations. Under the act, DOC remains responsible for the program’s mission toward inmate rehabilitation and post-release job placement. 

The MSE has not been effective in the rehabilitation of inmates due to a lack of strong direction from its board of directors, and a lack of strong written goals, objectives, plans, or comprehensive policies.  It is nearly impossible to be effective when a person or group does not have the support of their supervisors.  Other reasons for being non-effective included finances, lack of a master plan, not using state bidding rights on the purchase of materials, low job placement of offenders after their release from prison, and not offering classroom training to offenders, among other items.  Mississippi does not stand-alone in this problem area of rehabilitation. 

Iowa has had the same problem.  Many inmates apply and accept jobs with Iowa Prison Industries for the only reason of having something to do, not to learn a vocation.  When jobs are filled with these types of inmate thoughts and intentions, rehabilitation cannot be effective, simply because the inmate really does not want to learn the job.

Drug treatment court provides Maryland district court and Maryland City Circuit Judge with a sentencing option of nonviolent offenders other than incarceration (n.d.).  Eligible and interested offenders are eligible for one diversion from prosecution, or probation.  All participants sign a behavior Agreement with the court before admission to Drug Treatment. 

Several studies of this program’s graduates conducted by the Maryland Division of Correction revealed encouraging results.  The same source reveals that fifty-four offenders have graduated from treatment court programs since March of 1995, and none has been rearrested.  Ninety-two percent have not had any subsequent drug or alcohol use, eighty-three percent maintained a stable residence, and fifty percent are enrolled in after-care programs (n.d.).

One other form of rehabilitation that is used in the state of Maryland is called the Young Offenders Program.  This program is specifically for offenders under the age of twenty-one years old (n.d.).  All young offenders are housed together in one housing unit.  Maryland’s young offenders attend mandatory school daily.  Due to the severity of the sentence, some young offenders attend an institutional program called Patuxent institution, as sentenced by the court judge.

Another aspect of the rehabilitation services that is instrumental to the criminal offenders is the impressive Drug Abuse Treatment Program, according to Ray.  The drug abuse strategy deals with several components; they are drug abuse education, non-residential drug abuse counseling services, residential drug abuse treatment programs, and community-based transitional services programs.  They are evaluated periodically and given drug tests to document compliance.  Ray, State Trooper, Florida State Patrol, believes that the success rate of this treatment is continuing to rise.

Another one of our team members is an employee of the Iowa Department of Corrections.  Joe Mahaffey is a Correctional Officer for the Newton Correctional Facility and currently works for the Correctional Release Center at this facility.  Joe has been able to point out a few of the rehabilitative services that are currently being used in his facility.

Rehabilitative services currently used in the state of Iowa may differ from facility to facility.  The types of rehabilitative services used at the Newton Correctional Facility, to be known as NCF, and the Correctional Release Center, to be known as CRC, are used in direct relation to the offenders’ needs.  Rehabilitative services include, but are not limited to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, anger management, cognitive courses, relationship courses, marriage counseling, psychiatric counseling, role-playing, and team playing concepts.

The CRC has a Repeat Violator Program, RVP, currently in use. The RVP program is a program in which an offender is sentenced, by a judge, in a last-ditch effort to prevent an offender of committing recidivism. Recidivism is when a parolee or probationer continues to commit crimes and is sent back to serve a sentence in prison.  Recidivism, in the state of Iowa, is somewhere around thirty-two percent. 

The RVP program employs all of the rehabilitative services as stated in the last paragraph.  These violators are treated in a very military manner.  They are dressed in red medical scrubs, live together in two dorms, are waking up at five-thirty in the morning, escorted wherever they go, attend mandated classes, and have many strict rules to abide by.

Repeat violators can have their regular crimes and sentences exhaunerated or reduced and placed on probation by completing the RVP program.  These violators also have the opportunity to drop from the program.  Should this be the case, they are placed in full restraints, including waist chains, handcuffs, and leg irons, and taken to the medium-security prison, which is just up the hill. 

Once this happens, the offender will go to a probation revocation hearing and have his probation revoked, and the offender will then serve his original sentence, in an actual prison setting.  Many of these violators are in this program in order to stay out of prison.   It is in their best interest to complete the program and return to society fully rehabilitated, and not contribute to the problems of recidivism.  Most inmates know that this is a one-shot deal, and the next time they get into trouble with the law they are headed to prison.


As you can tell, rehabilitative services and their effectiveness vary from state to state and facility to facility.  The Department of Corrections must continue its rehabilitative efforts to change the thoughts and actions of adult and juvenile offenders. 

Juvenile offenders that have been around crime, drugs, or alcohol when they were young, will need to have their behavior corrected.  If juvenile behavior cannot be corrected, we will soon find them in prisons as adults.  As the research in this paper pointed out, the experience of serving time in a large detention center actually increases the likelihood that they will commit violent crimes again in the future.

Incarcerated youths with disabilities may be housed in jails, detention facilities, group homes for young offenders, adult or juvenile prisons, camps, ranches, private programs, or treatment facilities.  These facilities are made available to ensure proper treatment for the youth offenders. Youths with disabilities exhibit certain cognitive, behavioral, and personality deficits that predispose them to delinquent behavior. 

The young mentally challenge offenders are more likely to commit violent acts, use marijuana and alcohol, and experience problems with school discipline. Because they are so young, it is crucial to the staff to assist them in overcoming the issues that they experience. The school educations within these facilities, for the youth offenders, are very advanced and are in sequence with the school board. The system is designed to work, which the success rate speaks for itself.

Programs need to be evaluated and re-evaluated on a continuous basis to ensure effectiveness.  Offenders must be tracked and followed up with when they are released back to society.  This follow-up will give the corrections departments a good idea of how the rehabilitative services are effective. 

According to the information submitted by Anj, the state of Maryland has an effective program in force.  Recidivism rates must continue to drop to prevent the public from being scared and the prisons from being overcrowded, as they are today.  Rehabilitation and the effectiveness of these programs is the only way that we can combat future crimes of offenders.


(1994).  The Mississippi Legislature: The Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, Report # 309, Performance Audit of Magnolia State Enterprises and the Prison Industries Program. Retrieved from: http://www.peer.state.ms.us/309.html

(2002).  Drug and Alcohol Services Information: Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Juvenile Correction Facilities. Retrieved from: http://www.samhsa.gov/oas/2k2/YouthJusticeTX/YouthJusticeTX.htm

Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (n.d.)

Multiple intelligence’s. Retrieved June 4, 2003, from:

http://www.dpscs.state.md.us /young offenders programs

Multiple Intelligence’s. (n.d.) Retrieved June 4, 2003, from:


Multiple Intelligence’s. (n.d.) Treatment of Liaison Unit. Retrieved June 4, 2003, from:


Noguera, P. (n.d.). Responding to youthful violence: Why getting tough hasn’t worked. In Motion Magazine. Retrieved June 1, 2003 from http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/pedro4.html.

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