Is Imprisonment an effective way of dealing with most violent offenders?
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jail. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” [Nelson Mandela] Brief History on Crime and Imprisonment
Throughout history, people within organised communities and societies were amongst few if not many that would affront the rules and regulations of these communities and societies. The way in which authorities dealt with the said offenders changed throughout history, and is still changing to this day, but the most common form of restraining these offenders was to send them to prison. Prison is known to be a place where people are physically confined and usually underprivileged of a wide range of personal freedoms. Imprisoning has, in itself, not always been a form of punishment but rather a way to confine offenders until such time as corporal or capital punishment was ordered.
Is Imprisonment an effective way of dealing with most violent offenders? This question is one of the most difficult questions to give an exact, “same for all circumstances”, response to. Because there are countless categories of criminal acts wherein someone can offend, there are countless categories of solutions. “As prison has the highest profile of any sanction in common use in our kind of society, it plays an important part in reassuring people that ‘something is being done’ about the problem of law and order, and the social threats which they are persuaded to take most seriously.” This essay will discuss the effectiveness of imprisonment with most violent offenders and what needs to be done to improve some aspects of this course of action. Today we see prisons as a way of protecting society from those who are at risk of harming the majority and not co-operating with the law. Modern society has a view that those who are in prison should not be given the opportunities that are given to those who are law binding citizens yet what society needs to remember is that criminals are not where everyone else is and if we are expected to receive criminals back into society once they have served their time we need to have a support program in place to assist them to get to our level. Society and authorities can no longer just assume that criminals will abide by the rules society needs to ensure that the processes authorities have put in place is going to be an effective way to “deal with” the issues at hand. This is not a proper form of punishment but rather some may see it as a form of bribery. It may been seen that if a crime has been committed that is harmful enough to be awarded a prison sentence then an offender should not be awarded with the opportunity to buy their way out of being rehabilitated to become a more efficient member of society. Some might say that the central question is “Does Punishment Work?”. According to Stuart Henry (2003), this “depends on what is meant be “punishment” and what is meant by “work.””. It can also be said that for punishment to be effective it would depend on the type of person who is being punished and whether they would respond to certain punishments. One way to evaluate on whether punishment works is the look at rehabilitation once the punishment as taken place. In this instance the punishment is imprisonment, so the question is, “is rehabilitation (preparing for release back into society) effective for violent offenders on ensuring that they do not reoffend once back into society?”. The legal definition of rehabilitation for prisoners is, the restoration of former rights, authority, or abilities. According to Rob Owen (2010) rehabilitation of offenders is a key feature of the modern criminal justice system, and work to rehabilitate prisoners goes on, in varying degrees, in every prison. Thomas (2004) discusses a...
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