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

Studies of the effectiveness of punishments often use reconviction rates as a measurement of success or failure. According to fairly recent reports there are currently no real differences between reconviction rates for custodial and all community penalti

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

INTRODUCTION Studies of the effectiveness of punishments often use reconviction rates as a measurement of success or failure. According to fairly recent reports there are currently no real differences between reconviction rates for custodial and all community penalties (Home Affairs Committee, 1998, Home Office, 1998). However, there are many problems associated with the reliability of such data, and much caution is needed when using such measurements as a criteria for assessing the effectiveness of punishment. For instance, there is much disagreement about what reconviction should be counted. For community penalties the counting began on the date of sentence whereas for custodial sentences the counting begins on the date of release (May, 1994). therefore, does not take into account any offence committed whilst in prison. On the other hand, there is no way of knowing how far re-offending whilst serving a community sentence is due to the ineffectiveness of the punishment or an individuals social circumstance. The 1998 report by the Home Affairs Committee draws attention to even more concerns regarding reconviction rates. It is stated that: "Reconviction rates take any subsequent reconviction as an indication of failure and do not take into account changes in offence severity or a reduction in the frequency of offending; Reconviction rates under-estimate the true level of re-offending since for many types of offence the clear up rate is very low; Police Forces have varying clear up rates which reflect differences in the changes of being arrested and re-convicted " ( : XV-XV1). ...read more.

Middle

In the case of 'dangerous offenders' imprisonment is the most effective form of punishment in order to protect the general public. The problem with 'dangerous offenders' is that grave violent offences are rare occurrences and are very difficult to predict (Dunbar and Langdon, 1998). The fact is, the vast majority of prisoners are not convicted of violent offences. Of the 60,000 people sentenced to immediate custody on 1995, 76% were convicted of non-violent offences. Of the 84,000 people who received prison sentences in 1996, 20,157 were convicted for non-payment of fines (Wilson and Ashton, 1998). The question is, what should be done with persistent non-violent property offenders who constantly re-offend? The introduction of electronic tagging and probation orders with a requirement of residence in a hostel allows those offenders to be dealt with in the community while still offering significant protection to the public (Home Affairs Committee, 1998). These types of offenders are released from prison at some point and at present would not receive the same volume of rehabilitation provision that they would within a community sentence. Therefore in the long run community punishment could provide more effective protection from non-violent persistent offenders (Home Affairs Committee, 1998) COST The total annual cost of the prison service to the taxpayers is around �1.8 million, and each new prison costs an average �90 million to build (Wilson and Ashton, 1998). The annual cost per prisoner place is about �25,000. ...read more.

Conclusion

CONCLUSION Prisons are made such problematic places by there extreme overcrowded conditions and the wide range of offenders they have to control, care for, and contain against their will. Because of these extreme conditions prisons are less effective than community sanctions in terms of rehabilitation and cost effectiveness. Unless offenders are violent offenders or worse, they should not be sent to prison to be rehabilitated but given a community sentence. Worrall (1997) asserts that: - "There needs to be a consensus that prison can never be a genuine site of rehabilitation and that some attempts must be made to keep those criminals deemed capable of being rehabilitated out of prison" (:27). Imprisonment can offer immediate protection to the general public, however, nearly all prisoners are released at some point, and at present, will rarely have to confront their offending behaviour in order to be rehabilitated to the same extent as those who are subjected to community sanctions (Home Affairs Committee, 1998). With the provision of electronic tagging and probation orders with a required residence in a hostel, community sanctions can be just has effective in protecting the public against non-violent offenders has a prison sentence. And In the long run, maybe more so. Prison should be reserved as a punishment for the most serious offences. Prison is still accepted by many has a necessary, if not an altogether desirable 'social institution'. And for sometime yet, large numbers of offenders will be kept in them. ...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. Examine the differences between Muslims living in the UK and Muslims living in Saudi ...

    Though there are some other problems. In some primary schools Muslims are sometimes directed to Christian hymns in assembly. By singing these hymns they might get influenced and get directed away from the religion of Islam. Also they might get confused as to what hey are following because on one

  2. Discuss the effectiveness of the Prison system, and its purpose in relation to its ...

    those without a job are confined to their cells for most of the day. Prisoners are entitled to 30 minutes of supervised exercise a day (when the weather is good), and often in the evenings allowed time for association, when they are allowed out of their cells to watch television,

  1. Punishment and Prisons. This essay shall describe the changes in the methods of punishment ...

    there was nothing in their system at the time then they would not be caught, and a decrease in cannabis use would also make it appear as though the initiative had worked. Also brought in by Criminal Justice Acts in the 1990s were 'privately run' prisons; these are prisons, jails,

  2. How might we best explain the rise of the prison as a replacement for ...

    These figures substantiated the worries people already had about rising crime and a 'crime wave'. Although they do not confirm an actual 'crime wave', they were evidence to people of a failing system. Crime waves may be seen to occur in statistics, however most commonly they have appeared due to a change in the way crimes are recorded.

  1. "Prison makes bad people worse". Critically evaluate this statement in the light of rising ...

    last time was so severe that it has deterred them from doing it again. Secondly, there is general deterrence which argues that a punishment imposed on one offender for a crime will deter others from offending, as they know exactly what the consequences are.

  2. A Failing Justice System

    In fact, crime rate towards older people was only 19% while it was 28% in 1975. A poll in May 1977 showed that 60% of people thought that crime aimed at older people increased, and 50% people who are above fifty-year-old thought that avenues were less safe (Demirbas 184).

  1. 'Crime is a real problem that must be taken seriously by criminologists.' Discuss

    Objections will obviously prevail as in every theory, the major one in this tenet is the cost and of whom this would be directed at, would it be the public through their taxes and community charges or would the government foot the bill?

  2. Poverty and Crime rates

    the laws and punishments which are not strict and the criminals would feel that the punishment is manageable. For example, in South African countries such as Botswana the government system is less strict compared to a developed country such as Canada.

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