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Community corrections are vital in every society as they help in shaping the behavior of individuals who previously engaged in crime. They take into consideration the fact that incarceration proves futile for most of the criminals, especially those with mental illnesses — these community corrections to inform of sanctions that are imposed to either adjudicated juveniles or convicted adults. The corrections occur in the community and residential setting mainly outside the jail and prisons. In most of the nations, the sanctions are always enforced by either courts or agencies that have the legally mandated and delegated authorities over the juvenile or adult offenders. Most of the community correction programs are operated by probation agencies and parole agencies within the society. Particular groups of offenders, including the mentally impaired, the elderly individuals and those with mental illness have special considerations in community correction programs in an attempt to help them go through their situations and recover.
Community corrections have made a significant role to play in ensuring that the offenders with exceptional cases like mental illness are well catered for outside their jails. Rehabilitation is vital in ensuring that the elderly and mentally impaired offenders adjust well to their new environment, thereby accepting their life and living it in a better and sustainable manner. It involves a set of intervention to most offenders with limitations in the wellbeing and normal functioning, primarily due to aging, health conditions, and traumas (Leavell, 2012, September 24). The typical limitations among the offenders with special needs like the elderly and those with mental include; thinking and communicating effectively, seeing and hearing and making friends in the society for their wellbeing. Rehabilitation is personally centered with special programs integrated into mental and primary health care services significantly impacting the lives of most offenders in the community.
Interventions aimed at improving the independence and safety of the particular groups like the elderly offender at home hence reducing the chances of falling back into some mischievous crimes like theft. Furthermore, the interventions tied to the cognitive therapy around the behavior of those with mental illness like depression help in increasing the exercise engagement of the offenders thereby relieving their thoughts (National criminal justice reference service, n.d). Moreover, elderly offenders with poor vision are supported through daily activities, including the provision of strategies in completing individual training and tasks. Furthermore, rehabilitation in the community correction measures is a great investment in ensuring that those offenders struggling with specific difficulties that would eventually drag them into crime are eliminated. The benefits of the rehabilitation to the individual, family, and the society at large greatly help in avoiding and reducing the cost of hospitalization and prevent an increased number of readmission of many offenders with mental problems.
Community corrections offer counseling services to the offenders in an attempt to help to cope with the new environment and perspectives from persons in the family and society at large. Most of the offenders are always unable to fit in the community well due to rejection from family and friends. The rejection pushes most of them to feel isolated thereby engaging in activities like suicide or even committing more crime to meet their needs and wants which the society does not feel nor regard as necessary (National criminal justice reference service, n.d). Counseling, especially around the aged and mental disabled offenders, help in bringing validity to most of the feelings they undergo, thereby freeing them up. It helps the offends to understand that emotions and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are not always logical in the life of individuals. Hence they should focus on ensuring that they focus on new life since the future can be rebuilt but the past cannot.
Integrating the offenders into society is also a vital role of the community corrections, especially for the elderly and mentally challenged individuals. There is a need for the offenders to be helped to fit in the society since they view and are viewed as different persons with no dignity. The community correction programs like Mentally III offender community transition program in Washington DC targets most of the offenders whose mental illness are seen as root to their offenses (National institute of justice, 2019). The main aim of community correction is to reduce recidivism among offenders with mental illnesses. Integration ensures that the offenders are viewed positively by society, hence healing their psychological wounds quicker. Furthermore, integration gives the offenders, especially an elderly chance to give their view and take on crimes and even advice those still engaging in vices like theft and robbery in the society about the consequences of their actions.
Furthermore, punishment is among the roles of the community correction programs. Punishment is never severe, but it provides the basis on which the offenders realize their mistake and take charge of their entire life. The punishments take various forms, including community-building initiatives like cleaning of social places like churches and schools, improving the drainage system and roads (Leavell, 2012, September 24). The various activities assigned to the offenders help them to bond with society since in places like churches and school; they can associate with priests, pastors, teachers and students that encourage them about their situation thereby relieving their wellbeing. Moreover, the activities they undertake help them to realize their responsibility as men and women to their families, friends, and society at large.
In conclusion, community corrections are vital for the wellbeing of society. They give a chance to the offenders to look deep within themselves in aim to change their life. The programs rehabilitate, integrate, counsel, and punish the offenders accordingly. They ensure that the face of society is good and appealing to everyone for better and sustainable life among every individual.
- Leavell, S. (2012, September 24). A role for community corrections in a sentencing alternative for parents. Vera Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.vera.org/blog/a-role-for-community-corrections-in-a-sentencing-alternative-for-parents
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service. (n.d). Special feature: Community corrections. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/communitycorrections/
- National institute of justice. (2019). Corrections and reentry. Community Corrections. Retrieved from https://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=28
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