Criminal offenders are just humans and the success of any correction process highly depends on the ability of the correctional facility to offer appropriate treatment needs. Criminal offenders can be corrected successfully and returned to the community to continue with life. Since criminal offenders come with different offences, the following are some of the important treatment needs they have.
- Addiction treatment needs
- Mental treatment needs
- Emotional treatment needs
- Social skills treatment needs
Treatment Needs and Effective Correctional Treatment Programs
According to (Gornik, 2002), most offenders have many needs and some of those needs are linked to crime. The Criminogenic needs constitute the dynamic factors, which when changed affects the probability of recidivism (Wooditch, Tang, & Taxman, 2013). The most important problem areas for correctional treatment programs are the antisocial cognitions, antisocial associates, family relations and substance use.
According to (Wooditch, Tang, & Taxman, 2013), the presence of antisocial thoughts reinforces criminal activities. Some antisocial cognition for example rationalization, justification of behavior and cognitive errors are associated with offender criminal history. Moreover, (Gornik, 2002) asserts that criminal thoughts arise from antisocial thinking that is manifested in attitudes, thinking patterns and beliefs create selfish and harmful acts.
The differential association, where offenders associate with peers with defiant behaviors, exposes them to criminal behaviors (Wooditch, Tang, & Taxman, 2013). Correctional treatment programs should focus on such antisocial associations to help offenders. For example, an offender who spends time with violent youths is more likely to develop violent tendencies. Moreover, a close association with the peers with deviant behavior and avoiding of prosocial peers influences criminal behavior and drug use. An example is an offender who spends most of his/her time with other peers who abuse substances. Such an offender is more likely to abuse drugs and thus participate in criminal activities.
In addition, strong family ties help in reducing recidivism. Correctional programs should focus on assessment and development of strong family relations among the offenders. Family ties, for example strong offender brother relationships and the parents, helps the offender in understanding the need to avoid criminal and live a crime free life. However, loose ties create isolation and a feeling of rejection, which predisposes the offender to recidivism.
The other important area of concern that correctional treatment programs must focus is drug use. According to (Wooditch, Tang, & Taxman, 2013), the prevalence of drug use among the offenders is higher than among the general population. Active drug users are more likely to participate in crime as mediated by the type of drug used. For example, offenders using substances like cocaine or meth are more likely to be involved in violent robberies. The assessment of drug use history is important in helping offenders in settling and getting back to normal life activities.