Rehabilitation: Human Services

Rehabilitation: Human Services

Punishment vs Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a large area of human services. This area is controversial because it still split divisively between punishment and treatment of specific types of behavior. For example, theft is an obvious issue of ethics but when we look at other crimes such as drug possession the lines become blurred ethically because drug addiction is controversially considered a medical or public health issue and a criminal issue. There are many areas of social problems which are controversial in this manner and more importantly their interventions are often as controversial as the nature.

Between the 1930s and 1950s criminal rehabilitation was introduced in opposition to punishment (Laureate Education, 2014). However, these initial models were limited and gave rise to reformatories and other draconian forms of social rehabilitation penitentiaries (Bilchik, 1999).

Human services during this progressive period also worked with the mentally ill. One of the largest changes was the movement to treat these individuals rather than warehousing them. Due to the advent of psychotropic drugs in the last half of the 20th century, many patients were able to live normal lives outside of a hospital setting. The use of psychotropic drugs ushered in the process of deinstitutionalization. State and federal funds began focusing on alternative methods of treatment and out-patient care, which tended to be less expensive than long hospital stays. However, more policy work is still needed in these areas as many mentally ill individuals end up being homeless.

These changes in perspective and action for rehabilitation is informative to human services work because it shows the dynamic nature of human services. There is a significant need to continuously advocate and seek positive change within this field. As such ongoing work and study is necessary for advancement in the human services fields.


Bilchik, S. (1999). Minorities in the juvenile justice system . Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention, US Department of Justice. OJJDP.

Laureate Education. (2014). History and Development of Human Services Program Transcript. Retrieved from History and Development of Human Services:

Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash


Triola Vincent. Thu, Feb 11, 2021. Rehabilitation: Human Services Retrieved from

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