chapter  5
14 Pages

Citizens, Victims, and Offenders Restoring Justice: A Prison-Based Group Work Program Bridging the Divide

In recent years, the criminal justice system has shifted away from rehabilitation of offenders toward a more punitive approach. Researchers note that the involvement of professional social workers in such settings as community corrections declined in tandem with this rising focus on punishment (Goodman, 1997), beginning in the 1980s. Social work’s emphasis on actualizing human potential and respecting the worth and dignity of all people at times appears at odds with the retributive climate of today’s criminal justice environment. Given the extent to which oppressed groups are represented in the inmate population, the lack of social work influence in criminal justice is to be regretted.