Free «The Rehabilitation of First Degree Murderers» Essay Sample

Rehabilitation programs for first degree murderers have become the center of interest among many nations of the world. These programs have gone a long way in helping first degree murderers cope with the psychological problems associated with tier cases. Many scholars in criminology have questioned the effectiveness of these programs with respect to reducing re-offending cases amongst first degree murderers. The need to ensure that these murderers do not commit more murders in prisons has become inevitable. While many people think first degree murderers are violent, committing a murder does not necessarily mean that one is violent.

Many inmates convicted as first degree murderers have not committed more than one murder. There are possibilities that the murder committed was as a result of temper or other states of mind that threw these persons off balance. Domestic violence has been attributed to numerous murders in the US and many other parts of the world. Drug abuse and temporary insanity have also bee ranked among causes of murders reported in many parts of the world.

Despite many programs aimed at rehabilitating first degree murderers and the lots of campaigns that have been made nothing has really changed insofar as helping first degree murders accept their fate and embrace a more sober state of mind. This has been attributed to poor management of these programs and centers. Lack of enough skilled personnel has also undermined the efforts to have first degree murderers rehabilitated. This is not, however, meant to mean that efforts rehabilitate first degree murderers have abated. There is  lot that can be done to ensure that these programs are beefed up.

Though as mentioned earlier the criteria for naming a first degree murderer is basically dependent upon the statute of the particular state's prosecutions. A first degree murderer is different from other classifications of murderers since there is absolute premeditation attached to the murder committed. The distinguishing factor is that first degree murderers act out of malice and unknown reasons unlike manslaughter and others which in some cases tend act in defense of against one self. 

The absolute diversity among effective programs in the US lie in twixt of wealthy and poor states. Wealthy states have better programs than those in developing nations that are suffocated by challenges ranging from managerial to skilled labor. Notably, in the not so developed countries there are apparently little efforts and capital channeled towards improving the sorry state of these rehabilitation centers. This is due to the ignorance and short-sightedness in seeing the need for this requirement. More to it is that, there is a poverty belt that is seemingly tight around the economy of these particular states.

First degree murderer's rehabilitation centers are generally ineffective. Despite the fact that this condition is limiting the rehabilitation programs, the program initiators are working around the clock to see that they are able to beat this challenge. Though, not all poor states lack the rehabilitation processes, some of them have welcomed the idea of beefing up these programs. There is however a problem that ellipsis the quest fro effective programs which nation-states must go round. Lack of adequate cash to run the programs, negative attitude towards first degree murderers, adequate skilled personnel and poor management are some of these challenges.

This research seeks to achieve the following objectives:

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To account for the ineffectiveness of rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers.

To propose ways in improving these programs.

Research Hypothesis

The researcher hypothesizes that the current ineffectiveness in rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers has been due to poor management, lack of skilled personnel and negative attitude towards first degree murderers.

This research is ultimately very significant. While many studies have been channeled towards the general sense of the ineffectiveness of rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers, very little attention has been channeled towards unraveling the intricate nature of the ineffectiveness and how it can be correct. The recent researches in this area have only been successful in designing programs deemed effective for rehabilitating first degree murderers. Due to lack of enough data to inform the designs on the complex but practical nature of rehabilitating first degree murderers, these designs have also failed to solve the inherent ineffectiveness. Provision of reliable data and literature on this area is still overdue.

The research anticipates the following limitations which may inconvenience the outcome of the results;

  • Due to its digested survey criteria the research might fail to reveal the aggregate nature of all rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers.
  1. The methodology incorporated in the sampling might be biased as there is pre-selected section that the survey will be generated from and the findings may therefore be biased.

Very scanty literature exists in the field of rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers. Though from as early as the 18th century governments saw the need to curb cases of murder many of them have been very reluctant in giving first degree murderers a second chance. First degree murderers have been regarded as a danger to the society and people with psychological problems that overwhelm modern problem solving tools. A number of scholars have made some comments in various academic publications that this research will find useful.

Though successful to some people, the rehabilitation does not entirely help everyone, (Shover, 34). Some of the murderers are 'born-murderers' and hence the ability of rehabilitation to his inborn trait can bring little or no effect thus eluding change. Murder, like any action, can lead to addiction thus developing a passion for murder. When a murderer commits murder for fun, rehabilitating him/her may not yield desired fruits. In such a case, rehabilitation is rendered useless and a mere wastage of time and money. Experts in these programs should be able to classify murderers in terms of candid motives for murder, (Shover, 39).

Some of the murderers, as Friedrichs, (67) studied, tend to make the rehabilitation programs hard to carry out; this is due to the fact that some of them are so used to the killings that they are unable to cease the behavior. Lack of appropriate handling skills of the murderers is one factor that is limiting the efficiency of outcome of this crucial rehabilitation. This is due to the lack of the required skilled personnel in the handling of the victims could also act as an untimely brake into the motion of the important deed. Some states do not recommend such rehabilitation actions since the acts are not disciplinary in nature. In turn, they opt for actions which they claim to be disciplinary to the murderer like hanging and hence the victim ends up facing the dying lieu of being rehabilitated. This, according to Friedrichs (50), completely shows that the rehabilitation is not important and thus instead of its spread and development, it is unfortunately rendered stagnant or fully retrogressive.

Some murderers tend to pose fake identity that's makes rehabilitators that they are reformed and ready to be released, (Felson, 19). On release, they re-offend swatting at the progress thought to have been made during rehabilitation. Moreover, other rehabilitators tend to let go of the victims before they are fully through their recovery process, this act is actually and undoubtedly premature as the person in question has not passed through all the required metamorphosis of the structure of the program. These two latter inter-related matters only end up in major drawbacks and turmoil to the rehabilitation work as it is seen to be null and void, unnecessary and ineffective.

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Feins, (46) states that, negligence on the part of rehabilitators is also so evident in the already developing countries. Professionals charged with helping murderers don't act their part, thus the anticipated outcomes of reformed criminals is not attained. The rehabilitation period is therefore prolonged or fails to take place at all. The causes for these challenges mainly emanate from the lackadaisical manner that government handle rehabilitation centers. Governments do not \ work hand in hand with the rehabilitation centers so as to help change the citizens of its country; an act it doesn't do. In this context and particular area the governments have been found wanting and below par of their expectations in matters so crucial in nation building.

Researches conducted over the years by Carr (56) and Fennelly (79) have given ought an information that some of the first degree murderers are either insane or undertake their killing under the influence of drugs. This is due to the fact that \ actions are so inhuman to be done or committed by any human. This factor poses a major challenge to the rehabilitation in a way that the staff working in them has to deal with two problems at a time; the insanity and the drug addiction problem.

Most of rehabilitated murderers carry aspects of violence and reoffending tendencies making whole reformation process more complicated. Some fight amongst themselves due to little misunderstandings or the malice thing that's keeps them on their toes all the while. This kind of a behavior from the victims can pose a major challenge as the people involved in the reforming agenda are expected to find new ways of coping with the problem lest the program fails to achieve its set objectives, (Shover, 28)

Developing countries may have negligence to their rehabilitees; this is either for the lack of apt concentration by the rehabilitators, this might be due to lack of motivation from the government or due to poor pay or no wages at all to the people working to rehabilitate the murderers. Lack of well trained rehabilitation practitioners is also another challenging vice that keeps the programs stagnant, the rehabilitants need to be well educated to know ones characters and physiological moods. This aspect will help them know whether some murderers act out of anger or fear, for instance, (Samaha, 68).

Management is a very essential part of any program in that if an initiative does not have sound leadership and management, it is likely to miss the objectives.  Strategic managers influence people to get things done to a standard and quality by providing the much needed leadership and guidance.  Excellent managers are aware that if they want their programs to be committed and achieve high standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others (Siegel, 34).   They will always strive to establish principles concerning treatment of employees and the approach to achieving the organizational goals. They also seek to establish high performance and excellence standards and proceed to set.

In the case of programs in the rehabilitation of first degree murderer, participative management in the programs including government, murderers, experts and other interested parties is deemed to work for the better. Participative management has been described as an open type of management where the experts and those being rehabilitated have a strong say in the decision-making function. It has been developed by managers who are actively seeking a strong cooperative relationship with their employees and subordinates. Participative management is one of the new approaches and best practices in managing the diverse programs especially in psychology and criminology, (Project Management Institute, 23).

Given that participative management makes experts more responsible and highly accountable since they left to make all decisions regarding their jobs, there is an imminent danger of experts making very costly decisions to the rehabilitation program (Project Management Institute, 55). The problem of management for first degree murderers' rehabilitation becomes more complicated if a greater percentage of personnel is not well informed and educated on the nature of rehabilitating these special group of inmates.  

Research by Fry & Raadschelders, (28) observes that many rehabilitation centers have failed to help patients due to their inherent use of the rigid old system of public administration. . The state therefore is the sole decision maker and the general public, to which services are intended, remains passive in management. There is a need, as Fry & Raadschelders (44) further explain, to come up with a more welfare oriented system of management in rehabilitation programs.

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Fry & Raadschelders (2008) give six fundamentals that are the core to the success of rehabilitation programs for inmates irrespective of the crimes committed. First of the fundamentals is the existence of a catalytic government that propels and ensures successful implementation of therapeutic approaches to inmates. Under this fundamental, say Fry & Raadschelders (65), it is good to understand that the main driver of a successful rehabilitation program is not the basic value of managing a center's current programs but the room to allow for newer approaches to a particular managerial situation.

The second fundamental is community based welfare that seeks to ensure that the general public is empowered to sustain itself instead of the mere emphasis of ensuring that community needs are met. Thirdly, the program management style upholds the need for competitive systems across various rehabilitation centers. Governments need to put rehabilitation practitioners in a competing mode in order to ensure that quality and efficiency in service delivery is gauged on a yardstick, Project Management Institute, 45).

As the change gets deeply rooted and increasingly becoming instrumental in our social life, so does the manner in which people relate changes. The manner of changing their perceived unacceptable traits have also changed. The ineffectiveness in rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers has been an area of concern.  Regrettably, criminology and psychology research work in has channeled its efforts to other areas of study that have of course been exhausted, at the detriment of this new and unstudied Para-legal phenomena. An informed study that will unravel the underlying ineffectiveness of the first degree murderers' rehabilitation centers has thus been necessitated. It is this divine academic call that this study is intended to answer and further provide at least a starting and a reference point for future studies in programs in the rehabilitation of first degree murderers.


This chapter details the methodology and data analyses techniques that this research project will employ.

To test the hypotheses of this study, the researcher will conduct a content analysis of Ineffective Programs in the Rehabilitation of First Degree Murderers.


In-depth interviews will be conducted with rehabilitation managers in various first degree murder rehabilitation centers to identify the state of affairs in these centers and to refine and complement the findings in the literature review. The in-depth interview in the form of semi-structured interviews will allow the researcher to ask questions related to the pre-determined research topic and questions on the one hand and on the other hand to probe far beyond the answers to their prepared standardized questions so as to solicit more open-minded opinions and insight. The researcher will play a creative role and utilize a two-way communication channel for information exchange, which make the interview a "meaning-making occasion".

The major activities of these sub-interviews will be to determine the efficiency of the current systems of rehabilitating first degree murderers in terms of programming, identification of needs, and formulation of strategies, implementation and evaluation of effectiveness. The approach will therefore be divided into five areas of analysis;

Programming- The researcher will be interested in determining how these first degree murder rehabilitation initiatives are programmed. Broad questions will be: How do program managers establish the relevance of a rehabilitation approach to both the establishment and the murderer's psychological priorities.  The aim to understand the nature of efficiency on the side of the managers.

Identification-The researcher's interest will be to ascertain how the relevance of a rehabilitation approach to the first degree murderers is determined by different experts. The broader questions to be answered by the researcher after the interviews will be: Is the method used to ascertain the murderer's psychological need efficient?

Formulation- The researcher will be interested in finding out if rehabilitation programs are decided by government officials or murderer needs are also considered. The broader questions to be answered by the researcher after the interviews will be: Do the experts formulate a therapeutic structure that is able to show life changing logic and risks?

Implementation- The researcher will contact interviews and observe how the experts carry out their activities and whether resources are properly utilized. The broader question to be answered by the researcher after the interviews and observation will be: Do the rehabilitators ensure activities are carried out in a logical manner? Are the resources utilized as per the resource schedule towards achieving the ultimate goal or rehabilitating the first degree murderer?

Evaluation- The researcher will seek to find out if the rehabilitators carry out an independent periodic assessment of the relevancy, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of a their programs. Of interest too, will be determining of such an evaluation is aimed at drawing lessons that may guide future decision making in the rehabilitation of first degree murderers life circle.

Secondary resources like publications will be studied during the data extraction process. The researcher will review various records and cases to determine what percentage of supposedly reformed murderers are prone to re-offending. Various profiles of first degree murderers will also be studied to inform the research's conclusions.

In the reflexivity's sake, the researcher will reflect on the manner which in which the rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers will be easily and meaningfully managed and the understanding how the strategies and actions of experts will ultimately be sustainable. An evaluation of the technical aspects of rehabilitation centers to ensure they conform to the underlying meta-theoretical approaches that justify it will be inevitable.  That is, taking informed moves to better the state of affairs in rehabilitation centers for first degree murderers rather than reflecting on the poor state of failed projects or failed government approaches. 

An important function of reflexive analysis is to expose the underlying assumptions on which arguments and stances are built' (Holland, 1999). The study will use the in-depth interviews to make the study consciously reflexive by making respondents think about their own thinking, by realizing and criticizing their own epistemological pre-understandings of first degree murders (and their perpetrators) and thus exploring possible purposive commitments towards the rehabilitating first degree murderers. The resulting epistemological assumptions will act as a mirror in which the researcher's own reflect devotion in particular philosophical beliefs will be reflected.

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