This paper will discuss the following statement:"According to the White Paper Justice for All, the Government has succeeded in increasing prison capacity by 18 per cent, and has improved conditions inside prisons. £20 million has been invested to boost prisoners' learning facilities, and a further £42 million has been invested in the improvement of prison healthcare facilities. Moreover, the Criminal Justice Act of 2003 includes new provisions and fresh schemes, designed to introduce a series of new, innovative custodial sentences. But when all is said and done, does prison work?" The prison population in the UK has increased by more than 70% over the last decade. As a result, the spending on the prison system has recently been considerably boosted. This is the least the government can do to try to at least cope with the constant overcrowding. As more people are sent to prison to serve longer than ever sentences, the evidence in favor of prison must be made stronger and more foolproof by the day, for the sake of the 73,075 human beings in jail in 2004 , and to justify the £2.5bn spent each year on locking them up. It must also be proved that the 200 years we have spent developing the prison system as a better alternative to deportation have not gone to waste.
[...] In many countries, including Britain, it is the most severe penalty available to the Court. However, contrary to the widespread belief among lay people as well as scholars, the data supporting the use of prison remains ultimately unconvincing. As a punishment its main goals revolve around suppressing undesired behaviours; to reduce crime, through deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation, as penology would have it. It is also an instrument of retribution, a way for society to express its disapproval at the conduct of the offender. [...]
[...] Retribution is based on desert theories; eye for an eye'; without having to agree with Mahatma Gandhi that eye for an eye makes the world go blind', we can point out the fact that prison terms often goes beyond what would be ‘just'. Prison as we have seen is not just about the obvious removal of some liberties; it includes a variety of side-effects, often unwarranted. For the victims as well as for society in general, the focus of the criminal justice system should turn on restoration and reconciliation, a more sensible way to avoid further, unnecessary, harm and suffering. What prison achieves, does it achieve it in a cost-effective manner? [...]
[...] et al, Home Office statistical Bulletin, Crime in England and Wales 2003/ July 2004 Professor Elliott Currie, Is America really winning the war on crime and should Britain follow its example, transcript of the lecture given at the NACRO, 30th Anniversary, 18th June 1996, London noted the example of New Orleans, Louisian, city that starved its schools to pay for the nation's third biggest incarceration rate” Walmsley R., Prison population size: Problems and solutions, a paper presented at a Council of Europe Seminar for judges and prosecutors in the Russian Federation, Moscow October 2000 figure from early 1990 to 2000 Stern V., A Sin Against the Future, imprisonment in the world, Penguin Rethinking crime and punishment, the Report, december 2004 Prison is a Bargain, The Times May 2004 also on www.civitas.org.uk Debate, presented by the KCL Debating Society and KCL Conservative Society, This House believes that prison works, 7th March 2006, speakers: proposition: Blair Gibbs, Opposition: Dick Whitfield Facing the truth, 4th-5th-6th March, with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on BBC 2 Offences against the person already form a minority of the recorded offences, among those serial killers, intentional rapists and paedophiles form another minority and most of them should rather be in mental institutes. Stanley S. [...]
[...] We may divide offences in two main categories; crime against the person and property crimes, to which, for our purposes, we will include drug related offences. Many offences against the person will be a one-off manifestation of violence and the incapacitation effect there will be nil. Prisons contain a very small minority of indisputably dangerous individuals who can legitimately be so restrained. Regarding property and drug offences, being ‘impersonal'; society-related and not individual- related, the removal of one offender from society will not stop another taking his place. The drug market does work like a market; as some stop, others start dealing. [...]
[...] Harsh sentences are likely to entail harsh responses on the part of those subjected to it; prison breeds not fear for the prison itself but disrespect and hostility toward the society responsible for the infliction of the pain. Prison is also seen by some as schools of crime where deviant individuals learn ‘tricks' from more hardened criminals. Does prison help reform and rehabilitate offenders? When prisons came to replace deportation as a means to combat crime, the rationale was that imprisonment would give the offender an opportunity to make amends, change their character and, for the great majority, reintegrate society a better man. [...]
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