Hundreds of thousands of convicted felons will be released from state and federal prisons this year – 67 percent of them will be charged with new crimes.
Most criminologists believe in the power of counseling, therapy and training, or education and jobs to set ex-cons on the right track. Not psychologist Stanton Samenow, author of Straight Talk About Criminals.
His research, he says, reveals that those efforts are misguided, because they start with the premise that criminals are hapless victims of disadvantaged circumstances who just need more understanding and resources.
Criminals cannot be restored or rehabilitated to something they never were.
People become criminals through conscious choices and come from all kinds of environments and backgrounds.
Criminals are unprincipled predators and victimizers who injure others for a number of reasons – including ego.
“Habilitation,” means changing the way an offender thinks so that he functions responsibly – not just simply tinkering with his social conditions.
The threat of bad consequences, like prison or jail, stimulates motivation to change behavior in many. No one has ever claimed that the process is not demanding, time-consuming and expensive.
But some with a criminal personality are not willing to change.
And that is precisely why prisons and jails exist – to protect law-abiding citizens from the destructiveness of criminals.