Chris Brown won’t go to jail for assaulting Rihanna, but the question now is whether his plea-bargained penalty — community labour, probation, domestic violence classes — will reform his behaviour and save his career, people.com reports.

While readers of the magazine and website overwhelmingly said justice wasn’t served Monday — when Brown reached a deal with prosecutors in exchange for pleading guilty to felony assault — some experts take a more forgiving view, saying the R&B star is already off to a good start.

“In accepting a plea bargain, you’re accepting responsibility for your behaviour,” said New York City clinical psychologist Jeffery Gardere. And by taking the court-mandated classes, Brown will be forced to face the issues that led him to become violent in the first place. “Part of those classes is talking about what happened as well as learning what your actions can do to victims and to yourself,” he said.

While it remains to be seen how the singer handles his anger, living in the public eye may serve as an extra deterrent. What may be harder for Brown — once known as a good boy — is rehabbing his image.

“A song with the proper lyrics and melody can heal wounds,” explained former record label executive Charlie Walk, president and CEO of CWE Media, a multimedia entertainment company. “If he apologizes through song, that may be enough to take him where he needs to go.”