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

    became more popular. Noel Smith explained that this was because cannabis stays in the system and can be detected for up to nearly two months after use, whilst heroin passes through the body much quicker. Therefore it is difficult to decipher whether drug testing actually worked; if those using heroin were tested but

  2. anti-social behaviour

    The eighth question focused on gender in relation to anti-social behaviour orders. The majority of responses indicated that the ASBO's are not gender specific although research tends to suggest that ASBO's are often issued to young males. This may be due to the Medias and newspaper reports on anti-social behaviour.

  1. What arguments have been put forward to explain the relatively low crime rates of ...

    Militia service has been thought to be a factor in avoiding the alienation and segregation of young people from the rest of society (Clinard 1978). In most countries, it is young people who tend to commit a large proportion of conventional crime. However, in Switzerland, offenders are older in general.

  2. There is a need in the community for a drastic reduction of crime. Such ...

    Although the bus is a double-decker, it still causes problems as in the afternoon roughly around 3 o' clock to 4 o' clock as first of all they become overcrowded easily, and also they come every 15 minutes on average (five minutes more than the actual average told by Metroline of ten minutes).

  1. This essay sets out to identify and analyse the argument that prison sentences are ...

    progressively tougher sentencing.6 Basically, from what we have seen from the statistics, the government instead of rectifying the law or seeing where they went wrong and rectifying it imposes more laws to lock people up (including petty crime offenders), which has led to more crimes instead a solution for the

  2. Identify five sentences that are available to the courts.

    This order also allows and helps the offender to find and keep jobs. Curfew Order This is a very demanding order, not only does it result in the offender losing their liberty but also requires a very high level of self-discipline to stick with the order.

  1. There should be no such thing as prisons do you agree

    Prison is such an accepted form of punishment that we don't think about whether it does any good. Prisons are also over crowded, the crime rate is increasing all the time we only have to read newspapers or watch TV to see it, so sending criminals to prison does not deter them or others.

  2. Poverty and Crime rates

    In Canada, the police officers carry many weapons around with them such as guns, knives and GPS systems compared to Africa police officers can?t carry many weapons around with them maybe only one and cannot afford to purchase GPS. This would cause the community to think that it is easy to get way with committing crimes.

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