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Write a 12 page essay on 'Prison works and community sentences are a soft option.' Critically discuss.Download file to see previous pages... Nevertheless, the public and the government remain divided
Write a 12 page essay on 'Prison works and community sentences are a soft option.' Critically discuss.Download file to see previous pages...
Nevertheless, the public and the government remain divided on the issue of sentencing and punishments. On the one hand, there are people who believe that punishments are not as tough as they should be (Bowditch 2008). They believe that hardened and repeating criminals do not deserve mere slaps in the wrists through community sentences (Powell 1999, p.209). On the other hand, others insist that community sentences and prison works have worthy merits (Gibb 2006). They are cheaper than imprisonment and can be effective punishment alternatives on their own. Community sentences, if properly managed, can do more rehabilitation than custodial sentences (Edwards 2011). This paper explores the issue that asserts that prison works and community sentences are soft options and it also discusses dissent against soft options, especially in an era that demands stiffer penalties. This statement underscores that these soft options are only for minor crimes and not recommended in resolving penology and social problems. This paper argues prison works and community sentences are soft options, compared to custodial sentences, but they can also be effective in addressing penal issues and decreasing the social concern of recidivism, as long as they are properly and strictly managed and implemented. Community sentences Notions of probation can be traced to local court practices in the early nineteenth century, where young offenders or those guilty with small offences could be discharged or bound if a suitable person offered to take accountability for supervising future conduct (Raynor 2002: 1172). In 1876, the Church of England Temperance Society started to create an active presence in some city police courts to promote moral reform of offenders and to keep them abstained from alcohol (Raynor 2002: 1172). From the 1950s to the 1980s, probation experienced two reformulations and rethinking, with major effects on the questions tackled by probation research (Raynor 2002: 1174). Wilkins (1958) and Radzinowicz (1958) asserted that the effects of probation can be located in the “treatment model,” where for Radzinowicz (1958), probation was “a form of social service preventing further crime by a readjustment of the culprit” (Raynor 2002: 1174). Wilkins agreed that the treatment model focused more on subsequent behaviour of offenders and not issues of the criminal justice system (Raynor 2002: 1174). As the 1970s ended, the “treatment model” faced strong criticisms. Empirically, the studies of the effectiveness of penal sanctions of different forms led to negative results and the general finding that “nothing works” (Raynor 2002: 1175). There were also moral and philosophical arguments against the treatment, such as the objectification and dehumanisation of subjects and resting on the unverified claims of superior professional knowledge” (Raynor 2002: 1175). Community sentences were first enacted by law in 1907 for the “probation” of offenders (Ministry of Justice 2008: 1). They departed from the treatment agenda, because they focused on effects of systems, instead of people (Raynor 2002: 1177). During the 1980s, an emphasis on community sentencing emerged as part of crime policymaking (Charman and Savage 1999: 194).