Crime and Society

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The word ‘prison’ evokes a stream of images of inmates banging on the bars of their cells and armed uniformed guards, but lately it is becoming more of a popular belief that Prisons may be too soft. The basic reason for the existence of prisons is that society expresses its wishes through court and finds it necessary to separate and isolate some people, who have broken the law. The concept of this is as old as society itself although our ides of crime and punishment have changed over time. The Queensland Government’s “Department of Corrective Services” (DCS) has formal goals it seeks to achieve, the strategic plan of the DCS states “As a strategic partner in criminal and social justice for the Queensland Government, our purpose is community safety and crime prevention through an integrated correctional services system delivering humane containment, supervision and interventions for offenders”. (“Queensland Corrective Services”, 2006) Formal Goals and Strategies stated within the DCS plan include; Identifying and addressing the increasing needs and demands of diverse subgroups within the prisoner population through enhanced prisoner management practice and Minimising the risk of re-offending through targeted and coordinated intervention services by preparing people, who have offended, for successful community integration according to their risk and need.

The DCS goals are closely linked to the 3 main theories of Punishment; Retribution: the offender must be punished so they realise their actions are not acceptable to society, Deterrence: if the offender is given an appropriate sentence they might stop committing similar offences in the future and other people thinking of committing the same offence maybe persuaded not to do so and Rehabilitation: the offender should be given an appropriate sentence involving support for their problems, so that they reform their criminal tendencies. These 3 theories of punishment are similar to the goal of minimising the risk...
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