When people in mainstream America think of violence they also think of poverty, homelessness, defiance and the unfortunate poor. Often times these societal ills go hand in hand with acts of violence. Fortunately for violent offenders there are counseling programs provided and often times mandatory before release from prison. Terry Gorski indicated that because the recidivism rate is around 41% for violent offenders the need for counseling during incarceration and up to two years after incarceration is very much needed. In this particular case, counseling, which is also a big part of educating the offender can increase the social skills that are typically absent from violent offenders. Counseling can also decrease the negative / violent behaviors that are often demonstrated by violent offenders.
Many times violent offenders are released from prison without any counseling or treatment. Statistics revealed that approximately 40% of offenders who receive counseling do not return to prison in oppose to 65% who do not receive any type of counseling return to prison with two to three years. Moreover, the offenders are subject to be re convicted within two to three years which initiates the vicious cycle of being on a constant career path to the penitentiary (Gorski 4). This is why counseling is mandatory for all violent offenders, so that the recidivism rate can hopefully decrease over time. Herbert Gans indicated that people rarely believe that violent crimes are committed by the middle / upper class, even though the percentage of violent crimes committed by middle class maybe less than the underclass, society usually will view the middle class violent crime from a slightly different perspective than the violent crime of an underclass offender. "Bad apples exist in all classes" (Gans 1).
The reality is that violent and nonviolent offenders act out of fear due to the lack of love, lack of money, lack of food, lack of shelter and other things that are essential to the basic development of a so call "normal" life. Of course there will be exceptions to each and every rule, however, the main common denominator with many violent offenders is related to fear, deficits, model behaviors and poverty. Most people tend to think that counseling can be effective in any given environment and extremely helpful to any human being willing to receive therapy / treatment . Jessica Webster and Walter Wright oppose the idea of using counseling to reduce the recidivism rate. They suggested that people young and old are products of their environment and are generally creatures of habit with or without counseling.
This would suggest that people are socialized to remain the same even with intense counseling. However, when you " re dealing with men and women young and old who have committed violent crimes one would probably speculate that counseling would be fruitless because as indicated in the introduction, many people equate poverty and violence with people who are poor who demonstrate very little intelligence and are more than likely subject to a life of crime and downtrodden environments with no chance of being rehabilitated. There study indicated that longer sentences would be more beneficial to the offender, of course offering various programs that fall short of anything but actual counseling and treatment. Most violent offenders seldom show any positive outcomes from one on one or group counseling (Webster and Wright 3). I do believe that continuous counseling during incarceration can have a positive impact on violent offenders.
Powell 3 However, intense counseling after release from prison should be exercised in order to decrease the recidivism rate. According to Tarica Chambliss and Holmes Hummel, society has failed the working class poor especially people who are more likely to commit a violent crime. The inducement of potential fear rallied by politicians and law enforcers only add fuel to the fire for the poor disenfranchised people who are often caught up in situations that are beyond their control because of poverty and other social ills (Chambliss and Hummel 2). Overall, counseling violent offenders can work if the government / judicial systems provide offenders with professional counselors who are committed to working towards decreasing the recidivism rate. Once offenders realize that the change starts from within and then understand that each individual is responsible for his or her own actions regardless of parental up bring or peer pressure. Of course having offenders who are receptive to the various treatment modalities that would be facilitated for anger management, conflict resolution and other therapeutic processes would be integral to the success of the entire process.
At any rate, as indicated in the poll taken, over 90% of the students and patrons polled indicated that counseling would more than likely reduce the recidivism rate for violent offenders. I believe that counseling violent offenders can decrease the recidivism rate if offenders are willing to work with the counselors to truly change their violent behaviors to positive behaviors. Unfortunately, resources are seldom available within the system to fully enhance the success rate for violent offenders receiving any type of counseling. Perhaps society will one day stop putting billions of dollars into the prison system and direct those billions towards the education system. Powell 4 Works Cited Chambliss, Tarica, and Hummel, Holmes. Education not Incarceration web 2003.
Gans J. Herbert. Violence and Poverty: Images and Realities of the Underclass NY: basic Books, 1995. Gorski-Canaps Web Publications. December 12, 2002 web > Powell, Sylvia. Polling College Students: NJ: Publishing Co.
2003 Webster, Jessica and Wright, Walter. "Past record, lifestyle and parolees." Honolulu Advertiser: Honolulu advertisers. com June 13, 2003.