Back to RJ Archive

Why Help Offenders? Arguments for Rehabilitation as a Penal Strategy.

Raynor, Peter.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) European Journal of Probation. 1(1):3-20.

This article considers the variety of theoretical justifications, or moral arguments, which
have been put forward to support approaches that can be broadly described as
‘rehabilitative’. The article takes an historical approach, tracing the development of
ideas supportive of rehabilitation which begins with the origins of probation in England
& Wales, and the Christian mission to ‘save souls’. In the twentieth century context, we
consider the emergence of a utilitarian emphasis on maximising decent and productive
members of society, subsequently challenged by arguments which emphasised stateobligated
or ‘rights-based’ rehabilitation. More recently, utilitarian arguments
emphasising rehabilitation’s contribution to public safety and ‘risk reduction’ have risen
to the fore. However, we argue that justifications which emphasise offenders, victims
and/or communities as beneficiaries of rehabilitation need not be in conflict; nor should
probation services have to choose between the broad ranges of stakeholders they are
potentially able to serve. (author’s abstract)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now