The Need for Prisons in Britain Essay

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The Need for Prisons in Britain

The prison population in England and Wales currently stands at 71,800.
According to the Home Office estimate this figure is projected to rise
to 83,500 by 2008. Similarly in Scotland, which has a separate legal
system and its own private service, there are similar pressures.
Prisons can be successful in their four aims: retribution, protection,
deterrence and rehabilitation. Reconviction rates are at a substantial
low, but is that enough? Whilst compared with the problems facing
prisons aquestion arises, 'is it really prisons Britain needs?' There
are several other approaches to punishing, deterring and
rehabilitating offenders whilst also protecting the public.
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This is particularly accentuated whilst studying women. In
November 2001 a third men's jail had to be converted to take female
prisoners in response to a sizeable fluctuation in the female prison
population. A record of 4,045 women are housed in British prisons. In
2001-2002 the female prison population increased by 28%. It is
conclusive that women are incarcerated, predominantly for drug-related
offences and violence. This significant increase has placed the
women's prison educational and drug rehabilitation programmes in
jeopardy due to overcrowding.

It is a similar feature when investigating men's prisons also. Due to
overcrowding there is a shortage of workshops, educational projects,
drug treatment and offending behaviour programmes not to mention staff
shortages. Nearly two thirds of the UK's prisoners are being held in
overcrowded jails and Shrewsbury is a typical example of this with 331
prisoners but only 184 places.

Contrarily, the prison service is also beneficial to the inmates it
detains and also Britain as a whole. Crime is falling. Why? Prison
works. Crime has fallen chiefly because more offenders are in prison.
Between 1993 and 2001 the average number of people in prison rose from
45,633 to 66,300, an increase of over 45%. What happened to crime over
this period? According…