Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Brandon K Applegate

Abstract

Over the last four decades, rehabilitation as a central goal of corrections has received much criticism. While opinion polls reveal the public is generally punitive, there is evidence that citizens also support the rehabilitation of offenders. It is less clear what contemporary criminologists think of rehabilitation. The current study seeks to address this gap in the literature in three ways. First, it replicates prior studies measuring public opinion on rehabilitation to assess criminologists' overall support for rehabilitation. Second, it measures criminologists' support for treatment in reference to a particular hypothetical offender utilizing a vignette design. Third, using a randomized experimental design, this study seeks to determine to what extent support for correctional treatment among criminologists is driven by offenders' demonstrated criminogenic needs.

The results of this study revealed that criminologists are highly supportive of rehabilitation as an essential component of our corrections system. An examination of both global and specific attitudes reveals this support for rehabilitation as being consistent. Furthermore, support for correctional treatment was driven by an offender's demonstrated criminogenic needs in some, but not all, instances. The results of this study offer several implications for correctional programming and policy and are discussed.

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