What circumstances lead someone to commit murder, rape, or acts of child molestation? Why does society have such a deep-seated wish for vengeance against perpetrators of heinous crimes? Can those found guilty of such crimes ever be rehabilitated? What are the long-term consequences of incarceration, for inmates and society?
Officials of the criminal justice system, politicians, and ordinary citizens argue about possible answers to these controversial and vital questions, with little agreement. Violent crime and overflowing prisons continue to be unfortunate aspects of our society as the criminal justice system struggles to develop a coherent strategy to deal with heinous crimes.
This book offers innovative perspectives on the difficult issues concerning a civilized society's response to offenders guilty of heinous crimes. It considers specific cases and the chilling accounts of victims and the criminals themselves. In providing detailed strategies for prevention and rehabilitation, Frederic G. Reamer draws on his extensive experience as a member of the Rhode Island Parole Board, where he has heard more than 13,000 cases, and as a social worker in correctional facilities. He examines the psychological and social factors that lead individuals to commit reprehensible crimes, arguing that a fuller understanding of different criminal types is crucial to developing successful answers to the problem of heinous crimes. Closely looking at various criminal typologies, Reamer examines the effectiveness and rationale of various responses, including revenge and retribution, imprisonment for public safety, rehabilitation, and restorative justice.