1. What do you understand by the term ‘rehabilitation’?
Rehabilitation is concerned with the influences that cause people to commit crime and how they might be addressed to avoid recurrence of criminal behaviours. Your answer might explore how rehabilitation is based on an assumption that, with appropriate interventions, individuals can be ‘reformed’, and how rehabilitation processes seek to achieve this.
2. What are the five main assumptions underlying the principle of rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation considers that:
- changes in circumstances can impact on whether a person commits crime
- offenders do exercise free choice in committing crime
- offenders are not fully culpable for their crimes
- rehabilitative changes can help both offender and the community
- rehabilitation ‘works’
3. What are the arguments for and against compulsory treatment of offenders for rehabilitative purposes?
In What Do You Think 29.2 you considered compulsory rehabilitation and the question of whether safeguards were needed, and in answering this question, you might return to your responses to that feature. You might consider whether offenders engage with mandatory programmes or are more likely to change behaviour if it is their choice to participate. The morality of compulsory ‘treatment’ might also form part of your answer, where you may also discuss some of the assumptions about whether particular behaviours or attitudes should be treated.
4. What are some of the key methods used in rehabilitation?
In examining this question, you should show awareness of the different models and practices involved in rehabilitation. Your answer might explore rehabilitation as a broad spectrum from correctional intervention through to social intervention. You might consider tools like cognitive behavioural therapy, the ‘Risk-Need-Responsivity Model’ and the Good Lives Model (GLM).
5. How can rehabilitative interventions avoid the accusation that they represent an easy option for offenders?
In examining this question, you might explore the benefits of rehabilitation programmes in the context of other sanctions that may be considered more punitive, and their capacity to change behaviour. Your answer might also explore the range of rehabilitation options available and the impact that some of these may have on offenders who are forced to confront or change behaviours. It is also interesting to note that there are those who argue that rehabilitative interventions imposed without taking account of the need for proportionality in sentencing may actually be excessively punitive rather than unduly lenient.
6. How do you think the effectiveness of rehabilitation is best measured?
This question requires you to consider different methods of evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation and their merits. You might explore whether measuring effectiveness can be achieved simply by looking at reoffending rates or if other measures are required. This includes looking at whether interventions can be said to have changed behaviours and improved things for offenders and their communities. You should consider examples of where rehabilitation may have had an impact.