Source: (1998) Paper presented at the Canadian Association of Social Workers National Social Work Conference, June 20-24, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.The historical shift away from social work to custodial care expertise in the criminal justice system parallels the move away from rehabilitation to punishment in the wider society. The shift within the social work profession to de-emphasize corrections, similarly, reflects prevailing historical, political, and economic events. This paper considers the demise of the rehabilitation ideal in conjunction with the mass media hype and a right wing political backlash concerning crime and drug use. An argument is made that the strengths perspective of social work is highly relevant to work with offenders, especially female offenders. Author's abstract.