only source of support and friendship for offenders who are often quite moved

Only source of support and friendship for offenders

This preview shows page 10 - 12 out of 17 pages.

only source of support and friendship for offenders, who are often quite moved by the fact that someone has taken an interest in their welfare and is willing to help them. According to Gardner (1996), this realization is often a strong motivator for offenders to work toward rehabilitation. It is because of the strong communitarian spirit in Japan and the strong sense of shame generated when one offends it that community involvement through volunteers is the backbone of the Japanese correctional system.
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Chapter 6 v Probation and Community Corrections 101 anywhere near Japanese levels. For instance, to achieve the average 2.5 ratio of probationers to volunteer probation officers that they enjoy in Japan with our approximately 4 million probationers would require about 1.6 million volunteer officers. Nevertheless, we can engage our communities in the process of offender rehabilitation, realizing that whatever helps the offender helps the community. The criminological literature provides abundant support for the notions that social bonds (Hirschi, 1969) and social capital (Sampson & Laub, 1999) are powerful barriers against criminal offending. Social bonds are connections (often emotional in nature) to others and to social institutions that promote prosocial behavior and discourage antisocial behavior. Social capital refers to a store of positive relationships in social networks upon which the individual can draw for support. It also means that a person with social capital has acquired an education and other solid credentials that enable him or her to lead a prosocial life. Those who have opened their social capital accounts early in life (bonding to parents, school, and other prosocial networks) may spend much of it freely during adolescence, but nevertheless manage to salvage a sufficiently tidy nest egg by the time they reach adulthood to keep them on the straight and narrow. The idea is that they are not likely to risk losing this nest egg by engaging in criminal activity. Most criminals, on the other hand, lack social bonds, and largely because of this, they lack the stake in conformity provided by a healthy stash of social capital. If we consider the great majority of felons in terms of deficiency (good things that they lack ) rather than in terms of personal pathology (bad things they are), we are talking about a deficiency in social capital. The community can be seen as a bank in which social capital is stored and from which offenders can apply for a loan. That is, the community is the repository of all of those things from which social capital is derived, such as education, employment, and networks of prosocial individuals in various organizations and clubs (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, churches, hobby/interest centers). Time spent in involvement in steady employment and with prosocial others engaged in prosocial activities is time unavailable to spend in idleness in the company of antisocial others planning antisocial activities. The old saying that “the devil finds work for idle hands” may be trite, but it is also
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