Anatomy of Prison

Anatomy of Prison

Anatomy of Prison

Anatomy of Prison

Excerpt

Prisons have existed for a very long time now, even though the aims of imprisonment have very greatly changed. However humanitarian they may have become in theory, in practice the men and women who are locked into an ordinary, local, maximum security jail--both prisoners and prison staff-are subjected to very considerable and sometimes damaging pressure.

The easiest way to relieve that pressure is to tear down the walls. Precisely this has, in fact, been done by the establishment of open prisons; and some critics have gone as far as to say that all maximum security prisons should be abolished.

I do not share that view. While I believe that some people are sent to prison who should never be sent there at all, I also think that treatment in a closed institution, given at the right moment, and lasting for the right time, may be the only chance which many offenders may get of growing out of anti-social attitudes.

This is, of course, begging many questions. But so far, penal policies have always been based on assumptions that have never been proved. There are good hopes that research may gradually enlighten us so that in future we shall have more factual knowledge about the effects of different sentences.

Meanwhile, let me make another one of my assumptions clear: the purpose of imprisonment should be the rehabilitation of offenders and the protection of society by preventing relapse into further crime. This view is not popular with some sections . . .

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