Sample Article Review Paper on Punishment or Rehabilitation

Punishment of prisoners is the act of imposing a penalty on a detainee for those crimes and transgressions they have done. This move happens in the event that one has done harm to a person or the state. According to the judicial laws and regulations, there are different levels of punishment depending on the nature of the crime committed. On the hand, rehabilitation is the process of changing the behavior of the prisoners from bad to good. It entails transforming the perception of the prisoner into believing that crime is not the best way to live a life (McNeill, 2013). It gives more weight to understanding the predicament that the humanity faces and best approach to deal with them. In the current judicial system, there has been a dilemma on whether they put more effort on the rehabilitation or on punishing these prisoners. Most research shows that most of the prisons do little regarding improvement. Instead, they opt to punish their prisoners (Raynor, & Robinson, 2009). The big question one would ask is; what is the best way to deal with the prisoners, it is through rehabilitation or punishment. This paper gives an instinctive scrutiny on the best way to treat the prisoners. In this prospect, it takes keen concern on the pros and cons of using these two ways of prisoners’ treatment. It also provides a remedy on the how best to ensure that the prisoners have a better life than before.

Rehabilitation is a long process which has the primary motive of transforming the behavior of various individuals in prisons. The inmate’s behavior is at the center of the discussion, and its change would be the ultimate goal of this process. It involves offering counseling services to the prisoners and making them understand the adverse effects of crimes they have committed to the society. Additionally, it provides the remedy which they can use to help them get out of the trap of having committed a crime. The prisoners are also given specialized training which helps them to gain experience in any field of expertise. The government through the prisons management is charged with the responsibility of offering the periodic training to these individuals which would make them responsible persons in the society (Mackenzie, 2011).

In most cases, rehabilitation changes the perceptions of the prisoners for the better. Some of the reasons why people get arrested are because they do not have the skills which can help them get suitable employment. Through rehabilitation, these prisoners can get proper skills and training which indeed could assist them to get employed. The lack of competences could easily make one steal and do other crimes for money. But, when they are given the ability to earn money genuinely, they would easily opt for it since it is less risky (MacKenzie, 2015). Punishment, on the other hand, makes the prisoner go through a lot of pains for the crimes they have committed. The motive behind this move is to ensure that the prisoner feels the pinch of committing the offense. Some of the penalties they get are strokes of the cane, electric tutoring, and heavy manual workload. These forms of punishment by the prison wardens are deemed to be quite devastating.  Research studies show that giving such punishments only hardens the prisoners but does not transform their behavior (Mackenzie, 2011).

It is, therefore, true that those inmates who get heavily punished revert to their old ways when they are released. This notion is true since they feel they have passed the test of punishment and going back to the prison is no more a problem. In this prospect, the art of punishing the criminal has been used to spearhead more crimes in the society. It is important to note that the change that is needed for these individuals starts in the mind, and hence the physical beating and various kinds of punishments do not hold. Most prisons, therefore, should embrace the advent of rehabilitation to help in transforming the behavior of these prisoners (Mackenzie, 2011). It is to the humanity that everyone’s perception is built. The real issue at hand is to ensure that most of the prisoners do not only get a good life in the end but also transform their behavior for the better. One might have committed crime due to lack of proper direction. The change of thought that rehabilitation brings is sufficient enough to make these individuals understand the whole context of being good (McNeill, 2013).

In summary, recovery has been ignored in prisons and yet it is the best way to transform the prisoners into individuals with good morals. Punishment, on the other hand, hardens the prisoners into continuing with their past behavior (McNeill, 2013). The government, therefore, should reform the judicial system to ensure that more rehabilitation is done to the prisoners. With the inception of these notions at hand, it would only be expected that the prisoners will be treated well and given the much-needed direction to help them change. The transformation is imperative in scrapping away their old behavior (Mackenzie, 2011).



Mackenzie, D. L. (2011). Sentencing and Corrections in the 21st Century: Setting the Stage for the Future. University of Maryland, College Park, Md., Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Evaluation Research Group.

MacKenzie, D. L. (2015). STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING CRIME. New York: Springer Verlag

McNeill, F. (2013). When punishment is rehabilitation. Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. New York: Springer Verlag.

Raynor, P., & Robinson, G. (2009). Why help offenders? Arguments for rehabilitation as a penal strategy. European Journal of Probation, 1(1), 3-20.