Evaluation

   

 

On the basis of the data collected it seems that the inmates and the prison staff agree in relation to the question of re offending. The majority of each of the two groups (that's over two thirds) agree that most prisoners will not re offend after their release from prison.

The fact is that most of these inmates will actually re offend. The Governor of the prison I used for this study , who has held that position for over ten years, agrees with the fact that most prisoners will re offend. Government statistics support this belief, with the rate of re offending amongst prisoners being around two thirds of those released. However if these statistics contradict the answers given by the prisoners on Reoffending (which they do) then is it fair to sat the truth has been distorted somewhere along the line? the answer would have to be yes of course, but the views of individuals who are serving sentences will undoubtedly change upon and after their release from prison. In sociological analysis of exposť there are many theories which aim to explain why individuals re offend, with the labeling theory being one such approach. The tag of being an ex con can certainly alter ones lifechances, and therefore they may suggest that social stigmas play a pivotal role in the Reoffending rates.

What about the public..what do they think about the effectiveness of custody? Well the views from my research conducted suggests that most feel that prison is simply a tool which removes dangerous individuals from society, that incarceration is not about rehabilitation but rather containment. The question of 'does prison work?' was directed at a cross section of fifty members of public, and their responses indicate overwhelmingly that it did not (70%). A further 10% said that they did not know.

Of course prison policy was driven for a large part of the 20th century by the hope that prison would rehabilitate, yet the collapse of the rehabilitative ideal in the 1970s indicated that the purpose and direction of the prison had to change. Rehabilitation per se is not currently sought as an active aim within a prison sentence, although limited facilities are available for prisoners to access. In other words the primary aims lie in deterrence and protecting the public, not in rehabilitating the offender. I would go as far as to say that the future of prisons as a form of punishment is by no means uncertain, the government are building more and they do act to contain those who are deemed dangerous, yet perhaps the purpose of incarceration will continue to change.

One would conclude by stating that the results gained are far from conclusive. This was a very small scale study and I do feel that its lack of participants negates its findings to some respect. We know that Reoffending rates are high for prisoners, and it comes as no surprise that most current prisoners think that they will not re offend upon release. The question which results is why so many re offend when clearly their intentions at the time of sentence suggest otherwise. The answer to this lies in further sociological study and the utilisation of theories such as the labeling theory as one example. Rather than answer a question this small study simply asks a far more important question.

The hypothesis can, on the evidence provided, be proven up to a point. The views of the prison governor and his staff, combined with official and independent statistics must outweigh the views of the prisoners, whereby two thirds said they would not re offend.

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