We recognize that society is to a large extent responsible for the crimes committed against it and that the criminal is not a different kind of human being from the non-criminal. The crimes committed by those who are poor, uneducated, and non-white are more frequently detected and, when detected, more severely punished than are those crimes committed by more privileged members of society.
It follows that society has the moral obligation to apply knowledge from the social sciences toward correcting social ills such as poverty, educational deprivation and racism, which are among the causal factors underlying certain forms of crime.
We deplore those dehumanizing prison facilities and administrations which serve only to reinforce criminal tendencies through their sole reliance upon punitive and custodial practices. We oppose capital punishment as well as life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences, for each assumes in advance that the criminal is either incapable or undeserving of rehabilitation.
We call for greatly expanded and fully funded programs of supervised probation and parole, rehabilitation, occupational training, and assistance in adjustment to non-prison life. In the cases of those who do not respond to rehabilitation efforts, lengthy custody may be considered the only practical solution, but society is nevertheless morally obligated to ensure that their treatment is humane.
Source: AEU 63rd Annual Assembly Memo [job06scan]
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