Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jill Grigsby

Reader 2

Lynn Rapaport

Reader 3

Charles Kamm

Rights Information

© 2021 Sarah J Muzquiz


The California prison system is called the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), but what are the specific tools being provided for people to "correct" or "rehabilitate" those incarcerated? This thesis aims to analyze how rehabilitation is being addressed for incarcerated people and how to improve the system's effectiveness. The thesis will be using a theoretical framework inspired by Bruce Western's belief that people play multiple roles as victims, offenders, participants, and witnesses. These divisions of blame are not as simple as the criminal justice system makes them out to be. Effective rehabilitation must address how incarcerated people have been offenders and how they have been victims of oppressive systems, violence, and trauma in their lives. The majority of these effective rehabilitation programs are implemented and run by independent non-profits and organizations with low-paid employees or volunteers who do this because of personal connection to or experience with incarceration.

This thesis outlines a few non-profit organizations that are doing incredible work for rehabilitation and re-entry. The purpose of the study is to understand how sociological factors influence the ideas of punishment and the politics of who is and is not worthy of support, care, and forgiveness. This thesis observes how punishment and retribution are prioritized above rehabilitation. Utilizing previous studies from sociologist Bruce Western while incorporating knowledge from attorney Bryan Stevenson, this thesis seeks to highlight the ineffectiveness of California's current carceral system in regards to rehabilitation.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.