This essay will be looking at the way in which major theories within psychology have been applied to specific areas. The two substantive areas that this will be looking into are; pro social behaviour and the treatment for criminals. Pro social behaviour considers why people stand by and not get involved in certain situations and what it is that makes people step in and involve themselves in a situation. Also, the analysis of the by stander effect that focuses on how individuals in groups are less likely to help and respond than those who act alone. Also, the treatment for criminals with the rationales for imprisonment using the retribution vs rehabilitation argument. Either offenders are imprisoned in an equal severity to the offence they committed, or they are imprisoned to help them change and develop skills so that they will not reoffend. As well as treatment for offenders the effectiveness of those two methods will be measured by looking at recidivism. Recidivism is the tendency to relapse into a previously undesirable type of behaviour, such as crime.
According to Newburn (2007) retribution is defined as a justification based on revenge of society “getting its own back” for offences committed. Punishment from such a position need not seek to rehabilitate or deter- it merely involves retribution, with retribution being used as a revenge punishment. Punishing the offender based upon the crime (eye for an eye) with a murder being given the death penalty or such things like criminal damage being given community service or corporal punishment. One of the foremost problems using retribution as a motivation for punishment, is when it does not consider the intention to commit the offence or that the offense could have been an accident or someone was forced to do it! In these circumstances the punishment could be seen as too severe. Nevertheless, when considering crimes such as blackmail or fraud, the true extent is not known so the punishment might not be serve enough. Whilst a strength of retribution as motivation for punishment stops the uncertainty and could be argued as fair by a standardised system.
Rehabilitation is defined as a treatment based process to enable individuals to overcome previous difficulties linked to their offending (Newburn 2007). Giving the assumption that all behaviours can be modified through treatment, offers the most serve criminals a chance to be integrated back into society. Offering counselling, education and drug therapy treatments as part as a rehabilitation programme. However, it is argued that offending is often an act on impulse and opportunistic, but a person’s mentality may not need to be changed as they already knew that the crime was wrong and acted with emotion. Meaning that they can’t re-offend or recreate the offence in the real-world environment in prison. Research has been carried out to look at how often people reoffend following diverse types of sentences, those designed for retribution and those designed for rehabilitation.
In order to treat offenders there are several rehabilitation programs psychologists have studied to help reintegrate them back into society in a more effective way. Newburn (2007) describes rehabilitation as a treatment based process to enable individuals to overcome previous dificulites
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