Correctional Philosophy and Theory: A Comparative Analysis

John Winterdyk, Mount Royal College

For the better part of the last century, criminology and criminal justice researchers have given lip service to the broader intention and meaning of corrections. Most research, to-date, has tended to narrow their focus to specific areas such as penology, community-based corrections, parole, etc. However, we need to also view corrections in its broader context so as to better understand it within a national and international context. One approach has been to use incarceration rates as a means of classifying countries and then describing their penal philosophy in light of their incarceration practices. Adopting a similar approach, this paper will: 1) offer a short overview of some of the themes and trends of correctional practices of several countries, 2) compare and contrast their correctional philosophies in relation to the UN standards and guidelines, and 3) propose some strategies for future comparative research within corrections.

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Updated 05/20/2006