8th February 2015
Prisons policy is in the news today. This is from my 2013 post at FT on custodial sentences:
Here is a thought-experiment: imagine that you have asked some mischievous demon to conceive the most counter-productive way of dealing with crime.
What fiendish scheme would this diabolic agent devise?
The demon could suggest a system:
– where offenders are kept together with more serious and experienced criminals for months or years, and so can learn from them;
– where the offender is taken away from any gainful employment and social support or family network;
– where the offender is put in places where drugs and brutality are rife;
– where the infliction of a penalty can make the offender more, and not less, likely to re-offend; and
– where all this is done at extraordinary expense for the taxpayer.
A system, in other words, very much like the prison system we now have in England and Wales.
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