Assignment 2: Lessons from the Past with a Focus on the Future

We are the sum total of our experience to date. Therefore, we need to review and know our past and learn to improve our future.

A review of the past two hundred years of prison history shows that history repeats itself. Throughout our history, we have passed through the same eras, naming them slightly different each time. For instance, if we look historically, the period of transition we are moving toward now is a community-based (rehabilitative) model, which was experienced most recently in the 1960s and the 1970s. The criminal justice system tries to learn from the past mistakes and achievements in each era and believes to execute the dominant philosophies more effectively in the future.

The theories have a theoretical base but are modified based on social, judicial, and legislative influences. Knowledge, research, experience, and technology all impact our theories as well. We continue to evolve, which is a positive characteristic. The nature of crime and our knowledge of how to address crime have also changed.

The sophistication of our diagnostic and assessment techniques and instruments has allowed us to identify criminogenic factors. This will allow us to not only improve outcomes but also make contributions to social policy. We will continue to need bright, motivated people to take us into the future.

We also need to review our approach to sentencing and ensure it is contributing to success. Through this class, we have learned about the history, theories, and future of corrections.

By now, have your views about penology and its directions changed?


By Sunday, August 6, 2017, in at least 250 words, post to the Discussion Areayour answers to the following questions:

  • What are some of the future challenges facing corrections and the steps we could take to deal with the challenges?
  • What impact will technology have on the future of penology?
  • Does the criminal justice system require a new paradigm for sentencing?