Criminal law and Punishment

The Woolf Report and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 have both proposed performs to the prison system. Both aim to reduce the numbers of offenders in prison. The rule of double jeopardy has been abolished and now an offender's previous convictions can be made known in court. When considering the opinion that prison serves no other purpose than public protection it is imperative to consider the other beneficial aspects than prison can impose on an offender.

Rehabilitation, if allowed, can be heavily instilled and along with public protection, in my opinion are the most important aims of sentencing. Retribution, though necessary, is a simple premise that does not look to change the person, only punish them for what they have done. Prison can offer so much more than simple punishment and indeed I believe if more prisons such as Grendon were introduced, rehabilitation would be more successful than it already is.

Prisoners are given counselling and support, more so than in ordinary prisons and as shown in the article 'Warm Porridge' if they are re-introduced into an ordinary prison, the usual temptations of re-offending are offered once again. Public ignorance of the custodial system needs to be combated and faith in it re-introduced, not through tougher sentences that would appease the public, but by ensuring awareness of the aims of prison – i. e. that there is more to prison than simple retribution and good can be achieved.

Also, the number of people imprisoned needs to be lowered and conditions need to be improved for those that must remain incarcerated. Provision should be given due consideration for the elderly and mentally ill, not just simple isolation that is so commonly encountered. There are strong arguments both for and against the prison system, but I feel I must ask if that if it is so unnecessary and unsuccessful, then why does it still exist? If changes and reforms are made and enforced, then there is no reason why prison cannot work and have an effective purpose, more so than just simple public protection.

The statement in my view may be contemporarily accurate, but with due regard to all the issues such a statement would present, I find it un-informed and rather ignorant.

Bibliography Books:

Martin J and Gibbins M, The Complete A-Z Law Handbook, Hodder & Stoughton (2002), 2nd Ed, passim Charman M, Martin J & Turner C, A-Level Study Guide: Law, Pearson Education (2000), pgs 34-37 Acts: The Criminal Justice Act 2003 The Power of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 Articles/Reading Sources: East R. Sentencing and the Role of Prisons 2004

East R. Criminal law and Punishment 2004 Law and Society: an introduction. L M Friedman pp. 115-124 Law & Society in England B Roshier & H Teff pp. 130-2 'Not Waving but Drowning' R Morgan Probation Boards' Association Newsletter Oct 2002 'Traditional Maori ways translate to a new style of justice in Britain' K Marks & P Peachey The Independent 25. 8. 2003 'Going straight to the victims of crime' D Lee The Times 28. 10. 2003 'Restorative justice: the way ahead' R Smith Legal Action May 2004 pp. 7-8