First published in 1976, this book examines rehabilitation within the penal system in Britain in the 1970s. It argues that the ‘rehabilitative ideal’ is not the only possible alternative to a penal policy but an option which has now become institutionalized and alien to traditional concepts of justice. Using a framework derived from the sociology of law, Philip Bean looks at aspects of rehabilitation as it is operated in the courts and in certain penal institutions. He shows how the concept of rehabilitation has had an important but harmful effect on penal policy as it is often incompatible with penal aims.
This book considers the impact that sentencing, social enquiry reports and modern prison policies have on rehabilitation. The concluding chapter asks for a return to concepts of justice and a move away from discussions about personal lives of deviant members of society.