I've always thought that only those who are a danger to society should be imprisoned. morddwyd is right in that community service should be the alternative. This should be designed to ensure that they have no unsupervised time apart from sleep at their home. This should not be an easy option.
I'd like to see some analysis as to whether custodial sentences ever truly reformed the criminally inclined rather than just took them off the streets for a while.
Has there been a decline in the success of reforming characters due to budget cuts etc?
No doubt it's very difficult obtaining employment and leading a crime free life after a spell in prison and the chances of reoffending are very high. Throwing money at the problem is politically difficult when there are plenty of other uses for the money but the present situation clearly isn't working.
Drug users and those with mental health issues swell the prison population and budget cuts in these areas is probably a contributory factor.
Just get this scum off our streets and keep them off!
It's an expensive business keeping a prisoner. They won't be detained indefinitely no matter how draconian the sentence. If they are released to only commit further crimes, that's a further cost to society.
Should we forgo building new schools and hospitals and looking after the elderly and concentrate on building ever more prisons and staffing them?