Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Reducing Prison Numbers

From The Guardian:-
He will say that just locking people up without actively seeking to change them is "what you would expect of Victorian England" and notes that reoffending rates among the 60,000 prisoners given short sentences has reached 60% and rising.
"This does not surprise me. It is virtually impossible to do anything productive with offenders on short sentences. And many of them end up losing their jobs, their homes and their families during their short time inside," Clarke will say.
The reason why it's as high as 60% is because we have a criminal justice system that filters out most of the easy cases. A lot of people never re-offend having been caught once. It's over half of all people. Some others get the message during community service orders. By the time it gets to jailing people, they've had 3 or 4 chances, so odds are that they're living a criminal lifestyle.


  1. That's another good point (assuming it to be factually correct).

  2. The 60% or the 3 or 4 chances?

    Confession: I'd be considered by many people to be "soft on crime", because I actually believe in justice also being about trying to reform the prisoner. Not only because we don't want them to commit crime against others, but to give them the opportunity to improve themselves (in the same way that we give help to alcoholics to improve themselves).

    I don't just believe that the police and criminal justice system fails the victims of crime, I also believe that it often fails criminals because it doesn't "engage" with them. The opposite of sending someone to prison is not, IMO just letting them go and ignoring them. It's about getting to the root causes of their behaviour and trying to stop it and being realistic about it, as well.