Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime

Government after government has followed the policy of locking more and more criminals up. New sentences are created and the sentencing make tougher in order to prove that government is being tough on crime. We have now reached the limits of that policy and faced with having to cut costs the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is going to reduce the number of people sent to prison. However rather than thinking it will increase crime he is arguing that the government can cut crime while reducing prison places. Clarke wants to instead be able to focus on rehabilitation and education to give offenders a chance after they come out of prison. Reducing the rate of reoffending could in itself reduce the prison population. So is Clarke right that crime can be reduced while reducing the prison population?

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

Sending young offenders to prison costs too much money.

According to the article 'Prison for young people costly and fails to reduce crime, says nef' (http://www.neweconomics.org/press-releases/prison-for-young-people-costly-and-fails-to-reduce-crime-says-nef)

'Sending a child to prison now costs 140k a year, far more than a place at Eton.'

The knock-on effects of a prison sentence also create costs: '...the harmful consequences of imprisonment result in at least £40,000 of further indirect costs to the state. These include continuing crime and higher unemployment after release. '

No because...

This seems to suggest that the motivation for reducing prison places is cutting costs rather than being anything at all to do with reducing crime or rehabilitating criminals. If a system is put in place simply to save money, it will be done on the cheap and won't be very effective. A rehabilitation method will also cost money and may not work at all if it is some ill thought out scheme made by the Government.

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

Young offenders are being imprisoned needlessly.

'Relatively minor offences can result in custodial sentences: research by Barnardo’s showed that 82% of 12-14 year-olds in custody had never committed a violent offence.  '

If someone is not a threat to the public and doesn't need to be kept away for their own sake or society's, why are they in prison? They are not repaying a debt of any kind as it costs more money to keep them in prison than the cost of damage they caused, their punishment doesn't match their crime so they aren't learning a lesson. They could be safely transferred to a local community service scheme or given a fine and their prison place be cut from the budget.

No because...

Not all kids get arrested [[http://www.leeds.ac.uk/accommodation/fines.html]] for repeated 'minor' offenses. They are warned each time they are charged(if they are charged). It depends on the offense; which can range from violent abusive behavior to possession of illegal/illicit drugs.

In Britain unlike the U.S; possession of illegal substances is given a blind eye at first; with only a warning given that if the minor offense is repeated there will be consequences such as serving time in jail/prison, [[http://www.leeds.ac.uk/accommodation/fines.html]]

Compare that to the American system where adolescents [[http://www.racialicious.com/2009/09/24/minor-offenses-the-tragedy-of-youth-in-adult-prisons/]] are locked up in adult prisons for the same first time offense and face the worst conditions imaginable.

Children are not going to stop repetitively damaging public property or engaging in abusive conduct unless they are given a time-out; agreed that many start flirting with the law again after getting out of prison but all do not and at least they are wary of the consequences of their actions (get rough with the law and into the Slammer you go). Perhaps, jail would be productive for juveniles if they enforced rehabilitation programs; lectures and psychological therapy to get to why these kids are acting up; over and again. Then address the core of the issue; not by pushing drugs but by lending workable solutions.

But no punishment whatsoever is certainly not the panacea for Juvenile crime.

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

Prison doesn't prevent reoffending in young offenders.

According to the report:

'Serving a prison sentence makes it more likely for children to continue offending after they have been released. '

The figures used in the Independent's article 'Sentencing reform to focus on reoffending' (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sentencing-reform-to-focus-on-reoffending-2153509.html) show that 'Three in four criminals offend again within nine years and 40% commit another offence within 12 months'. The pilot rehabilitation project in the heron wing at Feltham YOI has met with some success among 15-17 year olds' 'The unit has a reconviction rate of 14% over one year, one of the lowest rates nationwide, compared with a national average of 78% over two years for young offenders. '

No because...

If they are mostly caught for repeated minor offenses; as is coherent with the rest of the yes points in this debate; then they are repeat offenders to begin with. More likely than if they were never caught (for successive minor offenses)? I don't think so.

The people who won't be dissuaded by prison won't be dissuaded by alternative methods either, while those who don't re-offend or never offended in the first place are those for whom prison was an effective deterrent.

The pilot project may not work on a larger scale or for a longer time period.

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

Prison creates unemployment problems.

'Time spent in prison also makes it more likely for children to be unemployed in the future, to have lower income, be disconnected from education and have unstable living conditions.'  (http://www.neweconomics.org/press-releases/prison-for-young-people-costly-and-fails-to-reduce-crime-says-nef)

No because...

Why should we be trying to find jobs for offenders when nobody else has a job either?

Vocational schemes within prison, where they are compulsory and can be enforced, would make more sense than trusting people with personality traits and social situations that make them unemployable, and who might not have the will or incentive to look for work properly, to find jobs in an unstable job market.

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

It is time that spending was cut on an institution such as prisons...

Instead of increasing tuition fees so that more bright, promising young people's chances of a future are ruined, or cutting benefits spending so that people suffer who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own.

No because...

Jail guards often complain that the reason each prisoner does not have a custody officer checking in on him 24/7 is because there aren't enough jail guards and that is the problem because there is not enough funding.

Doing that; might only encourage criminal offenses such as vandalism as in; damaging property and violence because
A) Jails will be even easier to break out of and live in.
B) Violent protests will be answered positively
C) Less funding= Less policing = Less security [[http://www.hmic.gov.uk/sitecollectiondocuments/Value%20for%20Money/VTP_NFS_20100720.pdf]]

Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime
Yes because...

The money is spent inefficiently on prescription drug over doses, private cells that look like bedrooms and prisoners with nothing to do

[[http://www.southyorkshiretimes.co.uk/news/national-news/inmate_exposes_prison_failures_1_2834095]]
Where is the money going? Prisoners laze around or do whatever they want for 23 hours in their jail cells; gaining no job experience, no education, nothing and the citizens of this country are paying for it.

If funding cuts are made; rehabilitation programs that force the use of prisoners to make money will have to be introduced; this way prisoners will get job experience and prisons will get the same funding even after funding cuts. People are sent to jail as punishment not for a unpaid motel/hotel stay.

No because...

Efficiency can only be achieved with better management; management cost money. Cutting funds will not create money.



Cut the number of prison places for young offenders to reduce crime

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