Do Prisons Work? Can Individuals be Reformed or Rehabilitated through Incarceration and Treatment Programs. Critically examine the Current Treatment Programs offered and Subsequent Impact on Recidivism upon Individuals being released globally and WA specifically.
This study will examine the effectiveness of current prison treatment programs in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, United States of America in rehabilitating or reforming an individual and coinciding recidivism rates upon a prisoners release. Prison based treatment programs for sex offenders in Western Australia, New South Wales and New Zealand are examined and recidivism rates compared. Treatment programs for offenders with drug and alcohol issues and the
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Prison based treatment programs offered in Western Australia for sex offenders are the Sex Offender Program, Indigenous Sex Offender and Intellectually Disabled Offender (Macgregor, 2008). Community based maintenance programs are offered for each type of offender, the current program for disabled people being the Safe Care Program (Macgregor, 2008). In Australia, most treatment programs for sex offenders are based on cognitive behavioural therapy aimed to target the criminogenic needs or risk factors of offenders (Macgregor, 2008). If these needs are altered the chances of changing the criminal behaviour are higher in the range of 10-30% (Blud, 1999). The programs are seen to be effective in that they work to alter many of the cognitive deficits displayed by offenders (Blud, 1999). They target the known risk factors for sexual reoffending which are cognitive distortions, empathy deficits and wide ranging self regulation (Hoy & Bright, 2008).
A Western Australia study in 2002 measured recidivism rates of 2165 sex offenders referred to the treatment unit from 1987 to 1999 (Greenberg, 2002). The study compared treated offenders with non-treated offenders, with no significant findings on effects of treatment on sexual recidivism (Greenberg, 2002). Systematic differences between the non-treated and treated group in the Western Australian study, such as indigenous status, risk category, and