Perceptions of Punishment and Rehabilitation Among Inmates in a Medium Security Prison

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Inmate perceptions are examined in relation to punishment and rehabilitation as goals of prison. The results from a random sample of inmates in a medium security prison appear to show that inmate perceptions of punishment and rehabilitation are independent of one another but are simultaneously related to different types of inmate relationships with others in the prison. Additionally, inmate perceptions of punishment appear to be related to the physical environment of the prison. This paper discusses structural and policy implications of these findings. It seems that, because perceptions of punishment and rehabilitation are independent it may be possible to increase inmate perceptions of rehabilitation while keeping perceptions of punishment high. There are important implications for reduction of recidivism and increasing positive inmate reentry into society without the illusion of pampering criminals.