• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Punishment and Prisons. This essay shall describe the changes in the methods of punishment throughout the last few hundred years, how imprisonment came in to practice and why society has become more civilised in how criminals are dealt with.

Extracts from this document...


In the modern era if a person breaks the law they may be sent to a prison; a place of confinement as punishment for their crime; however in the past a person may have been sentenced to what would now be perceived as an inhumane punishment of death or torture. This essay shall describe the changes in the methods of punishment throughout the last few hundred years, how imprisonment came in to practice and why society has become more civilised in how criminals are dealt with. Modern punishment tends to revolve around prison; however there are many non-custodial sentences such as: community service, fines, anti-social behaviour orders and probation. There are different types of prisons and, depending on the offender and the offence committed, a criminal could go to a minimal security prison, medium security prison, high security prison or juvenile halls if they are young. Young offenders are not imprisoned with adult offenders in case they become corrupted further by their influence; for example, older, more experienced criminals could advise them on how to get away with crime, or more effective ways of committing it. In addition to prison and non-custodial sentences, some offenders can be sent to mental institutions if it is believed that they are suffering from a mental illness. ...read more.


As the welfare state came in to force (1948), the government were taking on more responsibilities and a state-run criminal justice system was developed, (Class Notes). Remand centres were introduced and hard labour was abolished under the Criminal Justice Act (1948). There was also the idea of delivering a short, sharp, shock to young offenders in order to deter them from re-offending. The short, sharp, shock typically involved sending a young offender to a (rough and unpleasant) borstal for two to three months to 'scare' them out of a life of crime. However this regime eventually proved unsuccessful; the first few weeks of imprisonment are usually the worst, but after this time individuals start to 'get used to' it`s unpleasant conditions, and even begin to make friends on the inside. Therefore the 'short', sharp shock was too long, and briefer sentences of a few weeks may well have proved more effective (as well as less expensive). In 1965 the death penalty was finally abolished; a clear marker that society was becoming more rational and civilised. Punishment of the body is now a thing of the past, and sentences of torture and death seem incredibly in-humane by today`s standards. ...read more.


Prisons managed by private companies (such as G4S, Kalyx and Serco) are still subject to the same routine inspections as are public sector prisons. It has been argued that privately run prisons are more efficient, however critics of this initiative state that there have been some major problems with privately managed prisons; for example Ashfield prison for young offenders which opened in 1999 had prisoners withdrawn in 2003 by the Youth Justice board, due to repeated riots and reports of poor management, (Wikipedia). In conclusion prison comes to dominant thinking in punishment due to the sociological changes that have taken place throughout history. It is now 'morally' unacceptable to punish people in physically painful ways, such as death and torture, and everyone, including criminals, have human rights which must be respected. In addition we now know much more about crime, who commits it and why; this, along with society's technological advances, and the introduction of the police force means that more offenders can be caught and punished, and so 'bodily' punishments like death seem a rather unnecessary deterrent. Moreover, rehabilitation means that some offenders can be reformed and reintegrated in to society, (which further reduces the need for a death penalty). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century.

    The killer was very cunning and clever as he played around with the two competing police forces. He managed to play the two forces against each other. Each force had set boundaries, which the other force was not to cross whilst in uniform.

  2. Explain why Prisons were reformed in the early 19th century.

    Eventually the Bloody Code was abolished with the help of the Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel. Public executions were not working as they caused riots if there was a disagreement over the sentence. It was difficult to control the large crowds and there was a danger of escape if the crowds liked the criminal.

  1. The effect of appearance on the percieved criminality of young individuals

    Two participants suggested that the facial expression of individuals can make them look more or less criminal; this could be a confounding variable in my study as the photographs I used did not feature individuals with identical facial expressions. Two participants suggested that ethnicity affects how criminal individuals appear to be.

  2. Information: Currency of Democracy

    resulting in the highest quality in health care and children should also benefit in terms of their education by having access to well-qualified teachers. More recent examples which reflect how this legislation can be used to improve the community are its associations with the Ministry of Information and the recent concerns linked to the Utilities Service and consumer advocates respectively.

  1. Research reality and hanging around.

    validity, but people may have acted differently as part of the group or towards the researcher. With unstructured interviews there was interviewer bias and people who wanted to promote self-interests. With this influencing the interviews the results may not be completely true, but the participant observation seemed to accurately find how youths act when involved in these groups.

  2. Do criminals need help rather than punishment?

    Also, it prevents offenders from returning to society and committing crime again. As s/he would have to remain behind the bars and society would remain safe. Furthermore, facts shows that during the mediaeval period, when there were no law, and no punishment, accordingly, number of crime rates were high than today.

  1. 'Examine developments in biological research into criminality and discuss whether our scientific understanding is ...

    can and able to commit more outrageous crimes of a violent nature. The asthenic types committed petty theft this was because they were unable to run quite as fast, and were not into being energetic. Pyknic were into fraud because they were small and rounded so pyknic are not very

  2. Describe law and order in London in the late 19th century

    This reduction in crime showed only reported crime, not unreported and several crimes could have been misinterpreted as petty crime or deviance and not actual crime in a method to favour the results. A policy of containment was initiated in which a number of areas became excessively dangerous for the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work