deinstitutionalization | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

In the criminal justice context, deinstitutionalization typically refers to the process of decreasing the reliance on incarceration as a means of punishment and addressing crime and, instead, promoting alternatives such as community-based treatment, rehabilitation, and other services.

Deinstitutionalization can be motivated by various factors, including a desire to reduce the cost and overcrowding of prisons, provide more effective treatment and rehabilitation for offenders, or promote a more rehabilitative and restorative approach to justice. Deinstitutionalization can be a controversial policy approach, and it has been met with both support and criticism.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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