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Chapter

Cover Criminology

25. Prisons  

Roger Matthews

Imprisonment has been the main form of punishment in western societies for the last 200 years. In that period, however, its role, scale, and functions have changed considerably. This chapter discusses the history of prisons; the role and impact of imprisonment; changes in its scale and purpose; and why it has become the dominant form of punishment in Western societies for the last 200 years.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

8. Community sentences  

George Mair

This chapter begins with a brief overview of the history of community sentences as alternatives to custody. It then explores the current situation with regard to community sentences and alternatives to custody, drawing on the most up-to-date research available. The chapter also discusses the political environment in which the probation service finds itself. The concluding section summarizes the key issues around the topic.

Book

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

Susan Easton and Christine Piper

This book reviews the philosophical principles which underpin penal policy, sentencing and punishment, as well as examining the practical consequences of the legal principles enshrined in English law with an analysis of imprisonment and community punishment. The first part of the book covers the way sentencing law and guidelines are structured and discusses in detail retributivist and utilitarian justifications for punishment, as well as the current importance of public protection from risk and danger. It also covers those offenders and victims who can be dealt with differently, notably the mentally ill and children, together with ways of dealing with the offenders and their victims using restorative justice. Finally, Part A focuses on ways in which the impact of offending on victims and offenders can be reduced. Part B of the book covers in detail conditions in prison including the impact of the pandemic and the experience of imprisonment, especially in relation to women, BAME prisoners and other groups, where equal treatment is problematic. It also focuses on punishment and rehabilitation in the community, covering the available orders and the current approaches to rehabilitation. The civil and criminal orders available for use with those under 18 years of age, are also considered, as well as the way in which rights have been used to protect children in prison.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

28. Punishment  

This chapter discusses the place that punishment occupies as a response to crime. In many ways, the idea of punishment lies at the heart of our thinking about crime and criminal justice. It acts as a kind of balancing factor to the offence and seems like an obvious and natural consequence of a wrongful act, as in the biblical idea of ‘an eye for an eye’. However, the criminologist’s task is precisely to interrogate fundamental assumptions and to question the obvious. As such, there is a need to consider, with a critical eye, some well-established conventions such as the principle of ‘just deserts’ and the idea that we should make ‘the punishment fit the crime’. The chapter explores aspects of the historical development of punishment and its changing role in society and looks at particular forms of penal sanction, notably the death penalty, the use of imprisonment, and community-based alternatives to the deprivation of liberty. The chapter then assesses the role of the judiciary in administering punishments, the consequences of imposing punitive measures, and the criticisms of the use of punishment.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

13. Racism and ethnicity in the criminal justice process  

Alpa Parmar

This chapter examines the ways in which racism and ethnic diversity influence the process and outcomes of criminal justice. The discussions include how minority ethnic groups are represented across the criminal justice process and the proportions they comprise at each stage of the process; minority ethnic people's experiences as victims, their patterns of offending, policing patterns, and rates of disproportionality; and the representation of minorities in the criminal justice professions. The conclusion examines present and future challenges for the criminal justice process in the UK.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

8. Justice in the modern prison  

In this chapter we focus on the treatment of adult prisoners, examining a number of aspects of prison life as well as considering the aims of imprisonment. Key developments since 1990 are considered, including the Woolf Report (Woolf and Tumin 1991), managerialism and privatisation, the implications of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 and the impact of the pandemic, to assess whether the just treatment of prisoners has been achieved. While substantial improvements in prison regimes have been made since the early 1990s, there has also been considerable pressure on them from the expanding prison population. The problem of reconciling respect for the rights of prisoners with the administrative needs of the prison system and the deterrent function of prison is highlighted. The potential to reduce the prison population substantially in the current political climate is also discussed.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

31. Understanding penal decision-making: Courts, sentencing, and parole  

Nicola Padfield and Cyrus Tata

This chapter expounds on the understanding of penal decision-making under the critical perspective that understands the interplay between courts, sentencing, and parole. It examines key issues in the daily realities of the work of sentencing and parole and their implications for research and policy. Conventional wisdom and popular assumptions about criminal justice have been led by a preoccupation with the most serious, glamorous cases. The chapter highlights the significance of the presumption of innocence, citing that cases are judged as unique and criminal justice agencies work autonomously in penal decision-making. It considers several strategies to reduce the use of imprisonment by promoting community alternatives

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

42. Convict criminology without guarantees: Proposing hard labour for an unfinished criminology  

Rod Earle, Danica Darley, Bill Davies, David Honeywell, and Ed Schreeche-Powell

This chapter examines the key concepts of convict criminology. It explains that convict criminology is largely involved with criminological and penological research produced by people who combine first-hand experience of imprisonment with criminological training and insight. Moreover, convict criminology offers an alternative perspective on criminological issues grounded in lived experience while reshaping the degraded image of the prisoner in the public imagination. The subfield subverts the abject status of the convict or prisoner as an object of suspicion circulating darkly in the social depths. The chapter mentions that convict criminologists should be wary of the reductionist convenience of their social position to their epistemological position

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

8. Justice in the modern prison  

This chapter focuses on the treatment of adult prisoners, examining a number of aspects of prison life as well as considering the aims of imprisonment. Key developments since 1990 are considered, including the Woolf Report, managerialism and privatisation, the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998, and the debate on prisoners’ right to vote, to assess whether the just treatment of prisoners has been achieved. While substantial improvements in prison regimes have been made since the early 1990s, there has also been considerable pressure on them from the expanding prison population. The problem of reconciling respect for the human rights of prisoners with the administrative needs of the prison system and the deterrent function of prisons will be highlighted. The potential to limit prison expansion in the current political climate will also be considered.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

9. Experiencing imprisonment  

This chapter considers the experience of imprisonment for specific groups, namely women (including mothers), ethnic minorities, disabled prisoners, religious minorities, and gay, lesbian, and transgender prisoners. There is also more focus on the experience of foreign national prisoners and the growing number of olderprisoners. Policies that aim to reduce the risk of unfair treatment to these groups and their impact are reviewed, as is the framework of legislation designed to promote equality and human rights. The approach taken to race equality has now been extended to other groups. The framework of equality law is considered, including the Equality Act 2010 and its equality duty. The importance of gender-specific penal policies is also discussed.