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Attitudes toward prison reform, restorative justice, and offender reentry in the State of California.

Holden, Megan R.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. Alliant International University.

The state of California has been recently developing
and incorporating restorative justice philosophies into
programs. These programs are aimed at successful
reintegration for offenders and have been developed in
response to the overcrowding and apparent failure of the
present correctional systems. During 2005, over 170,000
individuals were incarcerated and nearly 130,000 inmates
were released on conditional supervision in California.
Research has indicated that despite a “tough on crime’
stance taken by politicians and policy makers, individuals
within public communities believe offenders should be
rehabilitated and assisted in successful reentry back into
the community. Prior research has indicated that when
surveyed, the public is more interested in rehabilitation
and successful reentry of offenders rather than longer and
harsher prison sentences.
The concept of restorative justice was developed as an
alternative to the traditional approaches to criminal
justice such as rehabilitation and retribution. Previous
research has found that issues such as prison reform and
penal attitudes are consistently measurable.
The purpose of this research is to further clarify and
identify discrepancies among the attitudes that the public
holds regarding prison reform and restorative justice.
Attitudes that the people of California have toward prison
reform and correctional philosophies (i.e. rehabilitative
or punitive), and attitudes toward the development and
implementation of restorative justice programs within their
community will be measured and compared.
The hypothesis of this study was that the higher an
individual endorses prison reform {prison reform
attitude/attitudes toward amenities and rehabilitation vs.
punitive attitudes), the more likely the individual will
hold penal attitudes that involve aspects of restorative
justice such as restoration, rehabilitation, and social
balance. A second, exploratory hypothesis was made that
there will be support among the public for increased
continuity of offender care, and increased options for
restorative justice throughout legal involvement (as
proposed by Linn & Turner, 2007). While this researcher’s first hypothesis was not
supported, upon review of individual items within the
instruments, there was found to be some support for the
exploratory hypothesis.


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