Wednesday 26 April 2006 9.43am
Blimey, has the SE1 website been subverted by Paul Dacre and the rest of the Daily Mail gang?
Any fair and humane society has to take a responsible approach to how it deals with criminals. "Locking up and throwing away the key" only breeds further resentment amongst the prisoners, who will one day be released and do further harm once they are released.
The point of community orders (versus custodial sentencing) is to somehow re-habilitate the offender back into society so that ultimately they may live a normal life with less risk of re-offending. Re-offending rates amonst those who've gone through a community (ie. probation-led) programme are much less than those that go through the more harsh prison regimes. To turn Michael Howard's famous speech on it's head: "Prison doesn't work!"
An interesting link:
A fascinating book was published by The Guardian a couple of years back by Erwin James: A Life Inside. For several years, Erwin wrote a column in the paper about the experiences of serving a life sentence, and ultimately going through a rehabilitation programme to reintroduce him to society.