Essay on Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Prison System

1805 Words 8 Pages
The failure of imprisonment has been one of the most noticeable
features of the current crisis in criminal justice systems. At best,
prisons are able to provide a form of crude retribution to those
unfortunate to be apprehended. At worst, prisons are brutalizing,
cannot be shown to rehabilitate or deter offenders, and are
detrimental to the re-entry of offenders into society. If anything,
they do little else than confine most prisoners, and as a result lead
to the imposition of certain undesirable learning habits and labels.
Such habits include the learning of survival patterns of behavior,
which do little to help the prisoner to be reintegrated as a useful
and productive member of the
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It can be argued that imprisonment has been widely found to have
failed to achieve its stated goals. Rehabilitation as perceived within
the prison context is a myth. The predominant objective of control has
developed in such a manner as to exclude the successful operation of
any rehabilitation process. In looking at the nature and operation of
the New South Wales prison system, for example, one is confronted by a
system preoccupied with notions of control and security. A very
disturbing feature of the system is that the availability of such
prison accommodation helps to define the nature of the offender rather
than the offender being defined by the nature of his offence
(Wilkinson, 1972).

Rehabilitation programmes of prison work and education, for example,
are basically directed at instilling a sense of conformity within the
inmate. It has often been established that prison work or training
experiences all too often fail to impart skills that can be usefully
applied once the prisoner is released. Work programmes in this regard
are extremely inadequate and will remain so, due largely to the
structure of the prison process. At best they achieve a lessening of…

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