The Purpose Of Imprisonment

1027 Words 4 Pages
Essay 2 (1,000 words) 'Is building more and more prisons the best solution? '

The primary purpose of prison is to protect the community and rehabilitate the offender (Smart Justice, 2015). Research has indicated that prison fails to do this and instead can increase rate of reoffending (Smart Justice, 2015). Prison does not address the causes of the person’s criminal offending.
Imprisonment is designed to be a sentence of last resort, yet we are building more prisons at an ever increasing rate (Smart Justice, 2015). Prison is the most expensive response to criminal offending. In Victoria, annually, the prison system cost more than $1 billion (Millar, 2015). It cost more than $98, 000 to house a prisoner each year (SCRGSP, 2015).
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It is more difficult to treat, manage and rehabilitate prisoners, even the most violent ones (Glass, 2014). The focus diverts from rehabilitation and programs to managing the growth in numbers (Glass, 2014). The appropriate resources aren’t available to deliver services (Glass, 2014). Sykes Pains of Imprisonment argue that incarceration is detrimental to the psychological wellbeing of those incarcerated. Sykes research is further supported by a University of California study that analysed the impacts of social and physical pain on the human brain (Brooks, 2016). The study concluded that there was little difference between the two (Brooks, 2016). While the more contemporary goals of criminal sanctions are rehabilitation and restorative justice, the study supports the argument that imprisonment today has failed to progress from the more traditional goals of sentencing (Brooks, …show more content…
Not only does imprisonment incapacitate the individual physically, it also has profound psychological impacts (Brooks, 2016).This makes it counter-productive in assisting the individual in their rehabilitation (Brooks, 2016). The individual is denied the right to make healthy choices and consequently they become dependent on the prison environment (Smart Justice, 2015). This then impacts on the person’s ability to become independent and functioning individuals in the community (Smart Justice, 2015).
Our recidivism rate supports the argument that prisons do not work (Smart Justice, 2015). In Victoria, the recidivism rate is 44% (Smart Justice, 2015). In Norway the recidivism rate is 20% (Smart Justice, 2015). Rather than basing criminal sanctions on public and political opinion, we need to follow countries such as Norway that have fair sentencing policies (Smart Justice, 2015). This allows for a more rehabilitative approach to criminal sanctions and reflects the more traditional goals of sentencing (Stinchcomb,

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