Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

Digging into the Data on Crime and Punishment

Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

Digging into the Data on Crime and Punishment

Article excerpt

In a blog post for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay argues that community punishments and prison have something in common: neither of them have a significant impact on crime rates.

Using a large dataset on recorded crime in England and Wales over a 20 year period, they found some interesting patterns. First, apart from violence against the person, detection rates have a crime lowering effect for all crime categories; policing activity seems to matter.

However, in general, prison does not do much to reduce crime, though when one considers variations in sentencing length, there is some impact for longer sentences. It fares worst for young people in prison.

The results for non-custodial sentences were found to vary: for juveniles, non-custodial sentences also do not seem to work, but for adults they seem to be effective in reducing violence against the person and sexual offences. The analysis cannot answer questions such as how effective probation is for or how well supervised community punishments are. …

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