Why Prison? by Dr David Scott

By Dr David Scott

Legal experiences has skilled a interval of significant creativity in recent times, and this assortment attracts jointly many of the field's most enjoyable and cutting edge modern severe writers with the intention to interact at once with probably the most profound questions in penology - why legal? In addressing this query, the authors attach modern penological proposal with an enquiry that has got the eye of a few of the best thinkers on punishment long ago. via severe exploration of the theories, regulations and practices of imprisonment, the authors examine why legal persists and why prisoner populations are swiftly emerging in lots of nations. jointly, the chapters supply not just a worldly prognosis and critique of world hyper-incarceration but in addition recommend rules and techniques that may be followed to greatly lessen our reliance upon imprisonment.

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Prison turns bad criminals into good citizens It is often argued that effectively managed prisons can provide an opportunity to reduce the likelihood of reoffending and to ‘bring home’ prisoner responsibilities. Rehabilitation in recent times has been associated with a treatment model where wrongdoing is conceived as an individual or social disease and, if the problems can be correctly diagnosed, offenders can be cured (Scott and Codd, 2010). Yet ‘crime’ is neither an ‘illness’ nor a ‘disease’ but a social construct, and by focusing upon perceived pathologies rooted in individual or social defects, rehabilitation as treatment is profoundly deterministic and denies human agency and moral choices (Scott, 2008, 2009).

For as long as we continue to classify and control certain behaviour by certain people 10 WHY PRISON? POSING THE QUESTION using the criminal label, ‘crime’ will continue to have a relationship to rates of penal incarceration. How they interconnect, however, is extremely complex. ‘Crime’ and punishment have great symbolic resonance detached from actual or perceived rates of illegalities, and single criminalised acts can, and do, disproportionately impact on penal policies. , 1978; Simon, 2007; Green, 2008; see also Scott, Chapter 15 of this volume).

Penal excess and the disproportionate imprisonment of impoverished BME populations are widespread in Western Europe. Spain, France and the Netherlands have all seen record-number prisoner populations in the last decade, although Germany has resisted this trend somewhat. Spanish prison populations have sharply increased since the early 1970s: the 2011 prisoner ADP of 73,459 is four times higher than the equivalent figure in 1970, and the enlargement of the prisoner population has been particularly marked since the new millennium (Institute of Penitentiaries, 2012).

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