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1. Outline the role of custodial sentencing and discuss its effectiveness (12 marks)<br /> 2. Definition of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />A form of…
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  • 1. Outline the role of custodial sentencing and discuss its effectiveness (12 marks)<br />
  • 2. Definition of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />A form of punishment for offenders<br />Involves the offender serving time in a prison or young offenders institution.<br />
  • 3. The aims of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />Deterrence – a type of vicarious learning. Others should avoid offending if they see the negative consequences for others who have offended.<br />Also, those who have received sentences in the past should avoid offending in the future if they have received a prison sentence.<br />
  • 4. The aims of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />Rehabilitation/Reform – changing the offenders’ behaviour so that they become law-abiding citizens upon release.<br />In prison, the offender may have access to treatment sessions to change attitudes and behaviours.<br />
  • 5. The aims of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />Retribution – society “gets its own back” on the offender by making him/her pay for what s/he has done.<br />Many argue that prison serves this function more than any other.<br />
  • 6. The aims of custodial sentencing (AO1)<br />Incapacitation – offender is prevented from offending for the duration of sentence.<br />Important for serious violent crime<br />Not really necessary where there is no threat e.g. old lady who refuses to pay council tax.<br />
  • 7. The benefit of custodial sentencing <br />Prisoner may have access to treatment programmes that may prevent them from offending in the future.<br />E.g. in drug-related crime, a prisoner may be put on a full addiction programme to help him/her come off drugs so that when they are outside they do not have to turn to crime to feed their habit.<br />
  • 8. The benefit of custodial sentencing <br />Prisoner may have access to education programmes that will give them a recognised qualification. <br />Most prisoners have access to educational courses and training while in prison. The objective is to help them gain skills and qualifications that help them find employment when they are released. Research has shown that prisoners who gain employment after release are much less likely to re-offend.( <br />
  • 9. How effective? (AO2)<br />Recidivism – re-offending upon release from prison.<br />Recidivism rates for those receiving prison sentences tend to be high, especially for less serious offences such as theft. (Sex offenders low recidivism).<br />Suggests that prison does not rehabilitate or deter.<br />
  • 10. Recidivism study (AO2)<br />Aim: to see if prison is more effective than other alternatives to treating crime.<br />Method: Smith et al (2002) reviewed more than one hundred research studies looking at the relationship between reoffending, length of sentence and the use of prison vs. non-custodial sentences.<br />Results: recidivism rate following imprisonment was no lower than for non-custodial sentencing and that longer prison terms did not lower the risk of reoffending.<br />Conclusion: recidivism research does not support the idea that prison is any more effective than other sanctions.<br />
  • 11. Why doesn’t prison work (AO2)<br />Argued that prison may act as a “college of crime” and increase the probability of offending later. Young offenders may learn from the more experienced offenders.<br />Disruption to employment may make it difficult to gain employment upon release, making the offender turn to crime in the future.<br />
  • 12. Institutionalisation (AO2)<br />May become institutionalised into the prison system and unable to function adequately on the outside.<br />
  • 13. Study to support institutionalisation <br />Zimbardo (1973) found in a prison simulation study that participants very quickly took on the roles that were assigned to them.<br />“Prisoners” became passive and miserable. “Guards” became domineering.<br />Had a massive effect on the psychological well-being of “prisoners”.<br />Supports the argument that people become institutionalised and that prison has a negative effect on psychological health.<br />
  • 14. Why doesn’t prison work (AO2)<br />The issue of aversiveness: being separated from family, friends and work, deprived of liberty and confined in cramped and unsanitary conditions might seem very aversive to most people, prison might be perceived differently by some offenders:<br />‘What was on offer when they left – family problems, unemployment, probation, poor housing, little money – was considerably worse than their current plight […] at least they had three square meals a day and the company of some good mates.’<br />
  • 15. Behaviourist theory linked to prison (AO2)<br />Punishment is an effective way of controlling behaviour only under specific conditions: <br />Probable(i.e. it must always or nearly always follow the targeted behaviour)<br />Prompt (i.e. must follow the targeted behaviour with minimal delay) <br />Aversive (i.e. it must be genuinely unpleasant). <br />In the case of imprisonment, these conditions<br />are frequently not met. <br />
  • 16. Behaviourist theory linked to prison (AO2)<br />1. Many crimes are not solved and so in the offenders case, punishment may not be probable.<br />2. Even if the offender is caught and convicted there may be a long delay between the committing of the offence and its consequences, so punishment is rarely prompt. <br />3. There is also the fact that the offender may have benefitted from his offence e.g. through financial gain, so the short term reinforcements from offending may outweigh the long term punishments for doing so.<br />
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