As recently as the early 1980s, academic commentators were writing about rehabilitation as an approach towards offenders that had had its day. In the wake of the well-documented collapse of the ‘rehabilitative ideal’ (Allen, 1959), critics and supporters alike seemed to converge on the idea that rehabilitation as a penal strategy would soon be a thing of the past (e.g. Bottomley, 1980; Bottoms, 1980a; Allen, 1981). This conclusion was powerfully re-stated a decade later by American criminologists Feeley and Simon (1992, 1994), whose ‘new penology’ thesis seemed to confirm the death of rehabilitation in Western penal systems.
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