Relationship Between Rehabilitation and Re-offending


Criminals are put into prison but have we ever thought of what effect does this punishment has on people? Does it damage or repair the mindset of criminal? What mechanism is followed or what circumstances are given to the person that stops them from reoffending? If we go by the research, the reoffending rate is high and we need to have a solution to this. the criminological theory has never conceptualized what goes inside the little prison. The behavior of the authorities is the main variable that can bring some change in the criminal. So, the broader aspect of a prison is the social and moral climate and that is somehow correlated with better outcomes.

The social or emotional conditions provided inside the prison and interaction of all kinds of conditions effects a person and his growth. Environment and Behavior described climate as “a set of properties or conditions relating to the internal environment of an organization, as they are perceived by its members”.

Measurement of the social climate in prison is known internationally. It attempts to evaluate the social climate of psychiatric treatment environments. This measure consists of three subscales

• hold and support. It is the extent to which staff takes their personal interest in the progress of prisoners.

• Inmates’ social cohesion and mutual support, which means the extent to which prisoners care for each other in the cell.

• experienced safety, the level of tension and threat of aggression or violence among the prisoners.

So, it is obvious that the prison social climate has an effect on well-being or improvement of the prisoner and his behavior. Studies show that prison social climate is correlated with incidents of violence and disorder within the prison among the prisoners or with the security. Research has also shown that a positive social climate is associated with lower behavioral disturbance, higher levels of motivation, engagement with treatment and therapeutic alliance.


If behavior improves, reoffending can decrease drastically. Reoffending is defined as, “any offense committed in a one year follow-up period that resulted in a court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning in the one-year follow-up or a further six-month waiting period.”

The relationship between imprisonment and reoffending has some complications. First one, not all crimes covert into imprisonment and secondly, valid control groups are hard to establish. Third, there are variables that intervene in treatment can really affect the growth of a criminal. Everything is interrelated, so it is tough to isolate a specific treatment and let it play its role. Sometimes the data available is not sufficient for declaring if the severity of reoffending has decreased or increased.

These moral and emotional dimensions of prison life include various aspects such as decency, fairness, humanity, relationships with staff, and the use of authority. They are important because of their absence, or their negative presence, are experienced as psychologically pain and can lead to depression, and even suicide or anger, frustration and violence. Moral performance, inhuman and degrading treatment and prison pain can have a similar effect on prisoners and this might want them to recommit the crime and sometimes in an increased form.

Some evidence proves that investing some time in a therapeutic community (TC) can lower the possibility of reoffending. TCs in the UK and US differ from each other; in the US it is a hierarchical system and they treat substance misusing populations, while in the UK they are democratic and go for group therapy and structured community living. There is evidence that those released from either type of TCs have lower reconviction rates.

The ‘What Works’ literature has come to the conclusion that prison-based rehabilitation programs can definitely decrease post-release re-offending rates amongst a lot of offenders. Validated tools for determining prison social climate have reliably recognized regime factors that tend to make the prison journey less negative and less torturous for prisoners. Another result is that experience of other human services delivers better result in a positive prison social climate rather than those in a negative climate. However, the two lines of research exist parallelly without intersecting each other. This article goes through the research evidence which is laterally or tangentially relevant to the growth of offenders. The conclusion is that it would be difficult to structure penal administration policies around the viewpoint that a positive prison social climate cannot make any difference to re-offending rates. The proof is that a good prison social climate would seem likely, to improve the outcomes that are achievable through ‘What Works’ rehabilitation programs. The research methodology to demonstrate this correlation is complicated. The article concludes by acknowledging these complexities and suggests a feasible methodology.


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