Home Office Prison Department

The prison system during the end of the 19th century was based on punishment and deterrence. The prison policy of the use of the 'tread wheel' and 'crank' and 'solitary confinement' as a method of punishment was highly criticised by reformers as being undesirable. Penal Policy was hugely impacted by the efforts of The Gladstone Committee in1895 which produced a report that allowed for the abolition of the crank and tread wheel. It also made recommendations for the further classification of inmates, the use of educational facilities such as books and allowed for prison visits on a discretionary basis.

The report also contained a request for a 'juvenile reformatory' to house young offenders up to the age of 23 for a period of between one and three years with the emphasis on individual treatment and after-care upon release (Edwards et al 1982). Habitual offenders were punished by way of longer prison sentencing to act as a deterrent. The recommendations made by the committee were slowly implemented into the prison system. 2. 3. Origins of Borstal Provisions for Juvenile Offenders The origins of Borstal can be traced from the recommendations contained in the Gladstone Report.

Prior to the recommendations made by the committee in regards to the need for a 'juvenile institute', it was clear that it was impractical to treat juvenile offenders with the same penal regime as adult offenders. The development of such an institution was slow. The first real step towards the creation of 'Borstal' happened in 1900 when a select group of juvenile male offenders from London were gathered in Bedford Prison to be rehabilitated by learning a trade and offered help upon release from prison (Edwards et al, 1982).

The ideal of reformation was enforced mainly during the inter war period during1922-1947, under the control of the Prison Commissioner of the time, Sir Alexander Patterson who had previously directed the Borstal Association. Patterson is chiefly remembered for his impact on the Borstal system. The impact on Penal Policy resulting from the Gladstone Report of 1895 saw the introduction of the direct central control of prisons and this has evolved into the modern prison system in which prison administration is the responsibility of the Home Office Prison Department.

The Prison Service came into being in 1993 and is responsible for the 135 high security prisons, local prisons, young offenders institutions, remand centres and training prisons that can be found across England and Wales From the findings of the report so far, it is clear that the value of punishment in the prevention of crime as being generally confirmed although, the purpose of incarceration as an effective crime deterrent has been the topic of many debates. By definition, punishing offenders is generally taken to imply the imposition of some form of hard treatment (Von Hirsch, 1993).

Official purposes of imprisonment are described in the Prison Rules of 1964, r1 states that the purpose of the training and treatment of convicted offenders shall be to encourage and assist them to lead a good and useful life with emphasis on dignity and self-respect (Doherty, 2000). Unofficial views of the purpose of incarceration have been presented by Walker and Padfield (1996) who proposed many purposes of prison. They put forward six reasons for imprisonment:- 1. To hold people- until trial, or until they can be sentenced. 2.

To coerce people to conform with court orders such as fines. 3. To protect members of the public from offenders by taking them out of circulation. 4. To hold a person long enough to make possible a prolonged course of treatment. 5. To show disapproval of the offence. 6. To protect a very unpopular offender against retaliation by victims or sympathisers of the victim. 3. 1 The Contemporary Prison Crises The Contemporary "crises" experienced within the modern prisons of England and Wales are issues of funding, overcrowding and privatisation.

Each problem raises many issues with regards to the justification of imprisonment as an effective deterrent. The average population in custody in 1998 was 65,298, an increase of 4,289 (7 per cent) on the previous year (White, 1999). White, (1999) was also of the opinion that the rise could be explained in terms of an increased use of custodial sentences by the courts and longer custodial sentences (Doherty, 2000). Figure 1. 1, gives an example of the steady rise in the average prison population in custody during 1990-2000 (Home Office Prison Statistics, England and Wales, 2000).

The number of women incarcerated has also increased dramatically, by 146 percent over the last 10 years, to 4,463. Thirty eight percent of sentenced female prisoners were there for theft and handling and 15% for drug offences (Home Office, 1999). Within the last decade there has been a move away from reformation of the conditions experienced by inmates to a large focus on the issue of security resulting from the Strangeways riot on the 1st April, 1990. An inquiry was performed to establish the causes of the disturbances.

In order to achieve a proper balance between security, control and justice in prisons, Lord Woolf identified Overcrowding as one of the most damaging features of prison lifemade twelve major recommendations (see Appendix 3) that were intended to be moved forward together over time. Only limited progress has been made (Doherty, 2000). Overcrowding Overcrowding is a big issue for our present prison system and has been for the last decade. More than half the prisons in England and Wales are officially classed as overcrowded (80 out of 138 jails).

In 2003 over 16,000 prisoners were doubling up in cells designed for one. (Home Affairs Select Committee oral hearing, 2003). Prison reform campaigners say that 11 have exceeded the maximum safe capacity (see Appendix 4) (Reydt, 2004). The effects of Overcrowding on the welfare of inmates have been well documented. The annual report for England and Wales for 2002/2003 by the Chief Inspector of Prisons published a graphical report. On conclusion the report found that the explosion in prison numbers was directly related to a staggering rate of suicides and self-harm in English and Welsh prisons (Reydt, 2004).

. The Chief Inspector reported, "Almost two people a week kill themselves in our prisons: and they are the most vulnerable people: often new to prison, with mental health and substance misuse problems. One in four women in local prisons self-harms some repeatedly. In the worst of our overcrowded local prisons, inmates may spend 23 hours a day in a shared cell with an unscreened toilet. " (Reydt, 2004). Reports have also indicated that the personal problems faced by many prisoners are greatly exacerbated by the conditions in prisons themselves.

In November, 2004 the prison service had reported that Gloucester Prison was so overcrowded that it was creating "unacceptable living conditions (Doherty, 2000). Funding The funding of the prison system is seen to be extremely costly. The Average cost of a prison sentence in 1997-1998 was about 2,000 per month but is substantially more in maximum security prisons and costs the taxpayer about i?? 1. 8 billion (Home Office, 1999). Privatisation There are 11 privately managed prisons within the UK. There are three main arguments for private operation of prisons.

Firstly, the private sector will deliver cheaper and better prisons. This is because it is subject to the rigours of competition, it is free from bureaucracy, and it is more innovative. Secondly, private prisons will set new benchmarks for the public sector and act as a catalyst for reform of the entire prison system. Thirdly, privatisation will strengthen accountability through competition, establishment of objective performance standards and also because the state should be able to monitor a private operator better than it can monitor itself (Doherty, 2000).

Although critiques such asking et al, (1995) argue that imprisonment is an essential state function that should not be delegated and, separately, that it is morally wrong to allow profits to be made from the infliction of punishment. They also contend that privatisation will weaken accountability. Furthermore, they argue that the profit motive will conflict with prisoner welfare as private operators have an incentive to cut costs at the expense of standards and an incentive to make decisions that increase the length of an inmate's stay. Critics also fear that private corporations will form a powerful lobby for high-imprisonment policies.

4. Does Prison work? Rehabilitation The aim of prison to provide a chance for inmates to change their attitudes and to provide skills and education with the emphasis being in the behaviour of the offender opposed to the actual offence, so that they are less likely to commit offences in the future. Is there evidence to suggest that this type of therapy is effective? Bottoms and Preston argue in The Common Crisis (1980) that rehabilitative sentences are fundamentally flawed. First such sentences assume that all crime is the result of some deficiency or fault in the individual offender

There have been many offending behaviour programmes have been developed in many prisons, namely 'Reasoning and Rehabilitation Programmes' and 'Enhanced Thinking Skills', but the effectiveness of the many programmes has been highly acclaimed. A recent report of the Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group, 'Changing Offenders Behaviour'(1999), found that 'cognitive behaviour' programmes did work- but in addition, they argued that there is increasing evidence that programmes focused directly on the needs of the offender in relation to the offending behaviour are successful in reducing the risk of re-offending.

Re-offending rates If prison is to be considered as an effective form of rehabilitation, then why are re-offending rates so predominant? Kershaw et al (1999) examined the data on reconvictions of offenders sentenced or discharged from prison in 1995. The message to be derived from the evidence in this report is that imprisonment and indeed other sentences fail in terms of preventing recidivism. Provides the data for a two-year follow up. It includes alternative solutions to imprisonment.