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Do Prison Sentences Actually Help Offenders to Rehabilitate or Does It Force Criminals to Re-Offend?

Criminological Viewpoint on Prisons.

The Home Office statistics show that quite a high percentage of criminals re-offend after being imprisoned, they have separated these into groups which show the percentage of re-offenders in different types of crime. The highest percentages come with crimes usually associated with generating some form of income, this could be linked directly with the fact that they had been imprisoned and now have a criminal record. This essay looks at how prisons are essential but also the way in which the offenders are treated/rehabilitated is not working effectively which results in many problems for society and the individuals themselves.

Firstly, one of the key points to look at is involved with the overcrowding of the prison systems, this overcrowding can be seen to be hindering the rehabilitation efforts. The Chief Executive of Nacro believes that this overcrowding is an obvious factor in causing offenders to commit further crimes after they leave prison, “They have hampered prisons’ ability to rehabilitate offenders and thereby put the public more at risk.” (Paul Cavadino BBC News Article) The Home office is quite dedicated in supporting offenders and they are trying to make efforts to decrease the number of re-offenders which should benefit the public. This section will explore the reasons associated with re-offending.

The second section will focus more directly on the policies of the Home Office and government in trying to reduce these numbers, this will be more focused towards the general support provided to offenders as oppose to the issues behind why these particular criminals re-offend. These policies will give an insight into how the government feel they need to treat offenders and re-offenders and what will be the best method in educating them on not re-offending, there are also two supportive newspaper articles which also further these points from the BBC News.

The final section will look at the links between re-offending and employment, as many offenders cannot get a job after they have been imprisoned it can be said that they have to then turn back to crime to provide a living, the statistics mentioned earlier also tie in with this theory. This is explored by Dr. James Rhodes in the internet criminology journal, not only does this focus directly on how employment can help offenders but it also explores the ways in which offenders can manage and overcome these issues to entry into employment because of their past. An in-depth investigation in the article provides a particularly strong view when it comes to rehabilitating offenders and in many of the articles I looked through many have the same view that at the moment the prison system is not working effectively and in fact not fulfilling the idea behind prisons.

To conclude this investigation has brought up evidence that the prison system is not working effectively because of many circumstances such as the overcrowding and lack of aftercare for offenders, when offenders return to society it is a difficult prospect when it comes to employment many cannot get a job even if they want too and this job will most likely not be well paid. This provides an incentive into re-offending as they can then make more than a hard day’s work which, this is similar to the benefits system for non-workers; however this is more of an economical issue. The Government is trying particularly hard to help reduce the numbers of re-offenders and help protect the public; however the focus seems to need to be more on reforming prisons before they can start to look at this problem. Currently prisons do not rehabilitate as many offenders as it should be doing, but it cannot be blamed entirely on these factors as it is down to the individual in the end.

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