So does prison really work?

  Cymro. 17:49 10 Oct 2011

Link to BBC News site

Many times in the past have I posted on this forum criticising the legal system regarding sending criminals to prison. I believe that most criminals should not be sent to prison as to do so is just a waste of time and money. Most just re-offend on release anyway. Prison is called by some an "university of crime" and for the very good reason that all it teaches is how to avoid being caught on future criminal escapades.

  Forum Editor 18:23 10 Oct 2011

"I believe that most criminals should not be sent to prison as to do so is just a waste of time and money."

Substitute the word 'some' for 'most' and you might find me agreeing with you. Your statement that "Most just re-offend on release anyway" is technically correct, although the re-offending rate varies in different prisons. What isn't correct is your inference that if we didn't send people to prison they wouldn't re-offend at the same rate. There's no evidence to support that theory.

It's a highly complex and contentious subject, but on the whole I'm in favour of imprisoning people for violent crime, serious drug offences, serious fraud, murder, rape, and cruelty to children. Other convicted criminals could be set to work in the community.

  Quickbeam 19:25 10 Oct 2011

"Other convicted criminals could be set to work in the community."

If that's with meaningful, accountable, and real (not token) work, I'll agree with that also.

  Aitchbee 19:50 10 Oct 2011

I spent one night in my local jail in Glasgow for being drunk, and I would not like to experience that again.(being in jail, that is...) Other people treat it as a holiday camp.

  Snec 19:52 10 Oct 2011

So does prison really work?

Yes, each time but only up to the release date.

  morddwyd 20:08 10 Oct 2011

Snec is absolutely right.

That was the reason for the old PD, Preventative Detention.

You get an old lag like Norman Stanley Fletcher who is never going to be rehabilitated, at least not bu the prison system, nor is he going to be deterred, as he can do time standing on hos head, so you lock him up simply to prevent his re-offending. It's not punishment. it's not rehab. It's society protection.

No recommended or maximum sentence.

That's why old lags were scared of it - once you had been caught for similar offences so many times you qualified for PD, and that was measured in years, not months.

  sunnystaines 21:00 10 Oct 2011

prison was designed to keep them out of circulation therefore less crime is carried out on decent people.

if it was made as uncomfortable as possible people would not be keen on going back.

if they were kept one to a cell with no mixing together less chance of a uni of crime taking place.

you might read this and think back to the victorian era but that is what i feel this country is crying out for decent punishment of criminals.

we have been softy softy took long it does not work

  OTT_B 21:28 10 Oct 2011

To me, any judicial sentence should achieve 3 things:

  1. Where necessary, protect the public
  2. Punish and
  3. Rehabilitate

The weighting of each of the above in the sentence should be left to the magistrate or judge involved. Prison (or other incarceration) should only be used if conditions 1 and / or 2 are met. In too many cases, imprisonment is not seen as a punishment by the criminal, it may offer no protection to the public from future crimes and can give no realistic form of rehabilitation.

Prison can work, but usually doesn't.

  Condom 00:31 11 Oct 2011

I agree with OTT_B completely. We are very good at the first 2 but more often than not forget all about the 3rd which is often the most important. What is the point about releasing people back into the world they already have had problems with, without helping them to tackle these problems.

I suppose the argument would be about how much punishment before rehab takes place. I have a friend who has just been sentenced in London and who is 66 years old and not a well man. The offence was committed many years ago and he being found guilty is quite rightly doing time. I travelled to London to visit him a few months ago, and it was the first time I have ever been near a prison and believe me I felt the criminal by just trying to visit. I was searched 3 times and had a dog all over me and this was just a remand prison. They even took my hanky away and I had a cold at the time. Presently he is locked up 23 hours a day.

He remains in remand prison because all the jails where he would normally be sent are full. Thankfully most of his friends are standing by him which should hopefully make his re-entry into the more normal world a little easier when the day comes.

  Chegs ®™ 06:34 11 Oct 2011

I spent the best part of 10yrs in and out of jail for motoring offences & accumalated fines for the same.I did eventually cease offending but the local police would not leave me alone,every time I ventured out in my car I was stopped for a "routine check" and given a "producer" (HORT1) I once collected 6 HORT1's in the space of a few hours.I went to the police station & asked to see the most senior officer I could to have a chat about what to me seemed harrassment,only to be told by the Inspector I spoke to that "if one of my officers saw you in your car & didn't stop you,I would want to know why as your well known for committing motoring offences" I eventually got the continued harrassment considerably reduced by speaking to my MP.There might be a "Rehabilitation of Offenders" act,but finding employment with a criminal record is nigh-on impossible.There are "community penalties" now,which are often handed out to people committing offences like those I was jailed for.There are electronic tags & curfews and people employed checking up on those with tags/curfews.The probation services try hard to re-integrate offenders back into society,but society will have none of it.Sentence after sentence,I was given one weeks unemployment benefit on my release and a train ticket to get me home.I can understand why drug addicts resume their criminal activities on their release,as there simply isn't sufficient resources to help them kick the habit.I regularly read in the local papers that various organisations that help offenders has had its finances cut back,perhaps its now time to start giving these kinds of organisations "targets" that if they meet their target,they get an increased financial benefit.This way,those that have the most success can help more offenders.The courts simply jailing prolific minor offenders is not working and never has.I believe the figure for re-offending has never been as high as presently.When I was being jailed,there were several types of young offenders institutions "borstal" "detention centre" and in effect a "junior jail" The borstal seemed to me to be a youth crime college(though I was never an inmate)the detention centre was very strict discipline but had the lowest re-offending rates.Unfortunately,they were all closed.Why close a jail type that was proven to reduce crime?If you lock up people almost continuously,they soon get bored & find ways to entertain themselves...usually by taking drugs or chatting with other criminals & discover ways to evade being caught(probably where the "crime school" notions come from)It is over 20yrs since I was last jailed,but if I try to obtain employment that requires a CRB check my whole criminal past is present in the report as any offence committed starts the "10yrs without a conviction" counter back to zero,be it a bald tyre or parking on a pavement.I have lost count of the number of times I overhear the police radio respond to an officers request for a PNC check say "On record,not currently wanted" Once a criminal,your likely to remain a "criminal" for the rest of your life with the present system.

  Cymro. 11:16 11 Oct 2011

Thanks for that excellent posting Chegs Good to hear from someone who actually knows what he is posting about.

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