To Punish or Rehabilitate Revisited: An Analysis of the Purpose/Goals of State Correctional Statutes, 1991–2002

Document Type


Publication Date



This article offers a comparison of the mandated purpose clauses and statutory requirements of all 50 state correctional departments between 1991 and 2002. The study seeks to answer four questions: (1) Do the majority of states still mandate rehabilitation as a correctional goal? (2) Have the number of states mandating both punishment and rehabilitation changed over the past decade? (3) If changes have occurred, which states amended their statutes, and (4) what changes did they make? Results indicate that rehabilitation is still a primary concern, but various states have incorporated language concerning custody/control along with rehabilitation over the past decade.