What Is A Penal Crisis?

2392 WordsApr 5, 201610 Pages
What is a Penal Crisis? The penal system is the collective term for the processes and agencies involved in overseeing jurisdictions prisons and community-based programs such as probation and parole. The main aims of such a system is to promote social control and deter deviant and criminal behaviour. “If to be in crisis means that the whole system is on the brink of total collapse or explosion, then we probably do not have a crisis.” (Cavadino and Dignan, 2002: 10) While ‘Crisis’ may seem like an over-exaggerated term to describe the current state of the penal system, it emphasises the clear difficulties and potential dangers that which the penal system is facing. Factors related to a penal crisis include overcrowding, a breakdown of control, bad prison conditions, understaffing and a loss of security (Cavadino and Dignan, 2002). The term “Penal Crisis” has circulated the media and academic literature for over 20 to 30 years, and speculation has arisen as to how the penal system can continue to strive on in such a ‘crisis’. Is there really a major problem with the system if it can survive in spite of this? The system survives, but with more problems that leaves those within the criminal justice system at great risk. Custodial sentences become physically and mentally draining and there are a lack of effective systems or opportunities to combat these issues. The system as it stands today only makes those within it more vulnerable, and more likely to be caught in an
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