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Author Arros, Danielle M
Title Punishment and prison reform: Contributions of a psychodynamic approach to American corrections
book jacket
Descript 199 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-02, Section: B, page: 1159
Co-Chairs: Debora A. Kustron; Cynthia Saunders
Thesis (Psy.D.)--University of Hartford, 2005
Despite a penal history spanning over 400 years, little has changed in the way we treat offenders. In fact, a review of current penal practices demonstrates a "correctional system" that is largely reminiscent of the corporal punishments and blood sanctions that existed in colonial America. In addition to retaining variations of these bodily punishments, our nation's penal system has also incorporated a host of equally brutal, "punishments of the mind". Unfortunately, the financial and humanitarian impact of these practices has created a prison crisis of endemic proportions
Clearly there is a need for reform. However, calls for reform over the history of the penal system have resulted in little change. While there have been three major reformatory movements, changes have existed in only a theoretical sense. In practice, the brutal treatment of inmates has continued unabated. The only substantial and sustaining shift has been from the public spectacle of punishment in the colonial era to today's practices, in which brutality is hidden behind the prison walls
While this punitive treatment of offenders has long been justified on moral and utilitarian grounds, little attention has been given to the psychological factors that contribute to the use of punitive measures toward offenders. This lack of perspective is surprising in light of the strong views typically elicited in public discussions of how inmates and ex-felons should be treated. Words such as "dirt", "scum", "evil", and "animals"; and phrases such as, "they get whatever they deserve" and "lock them up and throw away the key", abound in these discussions. The intensity of emotion which surrounds these perspectives, suggests that these views are generated by highly dynamic, internal, and very personal factors
It is from this standpoint that a psychodynamic perspective is offered to explain not only the brutality of the prison system, but also the ostensible cycles of reform. It is argued that powerful psychological factors underlie the brutality of the penal system and that conscious awareness of these factors are needed to bring about true and sustaining change to the prison system
School code: 0474
DDC
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 66-02B
Subject Psychology, Clinical
Sociology, Criminology and Penology
0622
0627
Alt Author University of Hartford
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