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Brief 108983

Measure the effectivity of non-custodial penalties compared to imprisonment.


Society requires the legal countenance of penalty and the tribunals administer this to convicted suspects by assorted agencies. Traditionally tutelary sentences have had primacy but non-custodial sentences are now often used. An accurate rating of the ‘effectiveness’ of the assorted signifiers of penalty must ab initio set up the generalendof the penalty and secondly have clear indexs of ‘success’ . This short survey will analyze the assorted sensed ‘goals’ of penalty and see the effectivity in accomplishing the coveted result, utilizing assorted indexs.

Options to detention mention to a broad mixture of undertakings, sentences and temperaments and there is no individual definition as to what they are ( Vass, 1990 ) . [ 1 ] Bail ; constabularies admonishing ; probation orders ; conditional discharge orders ; mulcts and fixed punishments ; tracking strategies ; attending order sentences ; compensation orders ; binding over and community service orders are the most common but this list is non thorough.

The end of penalty

Crime and the penalty of offense have ever been extremely politicised and combative issues. Assorted schools of idea have long debated the comparative importance of ‘retribution’ , ‘restoration’ , and ‘rehabilitation’ .

The national wrongdoer direction system [ 2 ] was created in June 2004 as an supervising organic structure and the authorities asserts that

‘Home office Prison sentences are used to penalize wrongdoers for serious offenses. Captivity in prison efficaciously punishes wrongdoers and protects the public – two of the chief considerations for Judgess and magistrates when they decide on a sentence [ 3 ] .’

This governmental position on poenology follows a Hobbesian legal rationalist statement that a ‘social contract’ is entered into to protect both the felon and society from their behavior. Besides present in official policy is the humanistic position is that the primary end of captivity should be the reform and reeducation of captives that would ease their re-integration into the society.

The Crime ( Sentences ) Act 1997 highlights the bounds to judicial discretion in condemning and there are certain minimal compulsory sentences, nevertheless the development of new non-custodial steps is encouraged and closely monitored and their usage consistently evaluated.

In this lineation of the assorted arguments psychiatric imprisonment is non taken into history due to the extremely specialized nature of such strong beliefs and because the nature of their intervention is mostly medical.


The United Kingdom has the highest imprisonment rate in Western Europe. Part of the thrust to research alternate signifiers of penalty for offense is fuelled by the serious overcrowding. The official tenancy is 69,607 whereas the existent figure of people incarcerated is 75 661. [ 4 ]

In its statement of intent, the prison service declares ;

“ Her Majesty ‘s Prison Service serves the populace by maintaining in detention those committed by the tribunals. Our responsibility is to look after them with humanity and assist them take observant and utile lives in detention and after release. ”

Pratt ( 2002 ) casts a more baleful visible radiation on the impression of imprisonment, reasoning that the chief map of prison was to conceal off violative and brutal methods of penalty and concludes that with ‘civilisation’ comes the development towards a more unfastened, non-custodial agencies of penalty [ 5 ] .

At present, captives sentenced to less than four old ages are released without conditions after functioning half their term. One of the strong statements against imprisonment is that non violent wrongdoers are introduced to hardened condemnable elements and larn more about offense, whilst in prison. This undermines the rehabilitative component

Non-custodial penalties.

Worrall ( 1997 ) [ 6 ] explains that the phrase ‘punishment in the community’ entered penal vocabulary with the government’s green paperPunishment, detention and the community[ 7 ] in a deliberate effort to free prison from its cardinal place, climaxing in the Criminal Justice Act 1991, which produced the phrase ‘community sentences’ [ 8 ] .

Non-custodial sentences are non a modern innovation and one of the most challenging books on condemnable justness is said to be Cesare Beccaria’s ( 1764 )Dei Delitti e delle Pene( On Crimes and Punishments ) , . Beccaria paperss the relationship between the brutalisation of society and its support of badness of penalties and emphasiss that the jurisprudence should non embrace more than what is necessary to keep the public order. This mirrors the modern tendency off from imprisonment.

There are nevertheless rigorous bounds to the usage of non-custodial orders. In April 2005 the highly complex mandatary condemning commissariats contained in US Secret Service. 224 to 229 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force. 153 classs of violent or sexual offense were non to be given the option of non tutelary sentencing, so there are precautions which efficaciously allow the populace to experience ‘safe’ from certain sorts of felons [ 9 ] .

The end of non-custodial penalty

The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the UK. Established in 1866 it believes that community sentences make a individual take duty and populate a observant life in the community. This position is besides supported by many prison abolishment and reform motions. The United Nations provides clear guidelines for non-custodial imprisonment in what are known as the Tokyo Rules [ 10 ] . The desire is to cut down rates of imprisonment and to accomplish a proper balance between the rights of single wrongdoers, the rights of victims, the concern of society for public safety and offense bar, whilst promoting among wrongdoers a sense of duty towards society.

There are many defects built-in in the non-custodial attack, where the hazard of bolting is high. There are precautions in topographic point, nevertheless, as instances such asR V Tripp[ 11 ] andR V Kearns[ 12 ] show that it can be possible to incarcerate for breaches of non-custodial orders [ 13 ] .


‘Recidivism, in a condemnable justness context can be defined as the reversion of an person to criminal behavior after he or she has been convicted of a anterior offense, sentenced and ( presumptively ) rehabilitated’ ( Maltz 2001 ) [ 14 ] . Both imprisonment and non-custodial sentences have the inexplicit desire to cut down rates of re-offending. The methods of accomplishing this end vary.

Lloyd ( 1994 ) [ 15 ] intents that the reoffending rates of those sent to prison are no worse than for those placed in community penalties’ proposing both tutelary and non-custodial sentences are every bit effectual in this regard. He adds that he UK attributes its lower recidivism rate to its focal point on rehabilitation and instruction of captives as opposed to the US concentrate more on penalty, disincentive and maintaining potentially unsafe persons off from society.

Raynor, Smith and Vanstone ( 1994 ) explore the construct that when probation officers talk about ‘effectiveness’ they tend to mention to their success in deviating wrongdoers from detention and reconviction rates have ne’er been of much involvement. There need to be clearer indexs of effectivity instead than crude reconviction rates’ .


The public by and large regard the want of autonomy in a retaliatory sense, and as portion of the end of penalty is to ‘see justness being done’ imprisonment is extremely effectual signifier of penalty in this regard. Worrall ( 1997 ) [ 16 ] opines that the function of community penalty as a agency for cut downing the prison population is a failure. Besides unequal subsidiary relationship with detention means they should be viewed as a domain of societal control which is rather separate from prison, non a replacement.

We must understand the expressive or symbolic intent of penalty, and failure to make this has been viewed as a specific ground for the comparatively low success rate of diminishing the usage of imprisonment, peculiarly with regard to public answerability ( Marinos 2005 ) [ 17 ] Her decision is that ‘specific countenance is seen as carry throughing specific intents merely with regard to certain offenses and offenders’ . Her recommendation to increase the effectivity of what she footings ‘intermediate sanctions’ would be to increase the ‘denunciary’ map by attaching conditions to the countenance that resemble prison – conditions that are seen as intrusive or curtailing an individual’s autonomy.

In decision it must be realised that ends of imprisonment and non-custodial sentences are different therefore the effectivity is non needfully open to direct comparing. The success of non-custodial penalty varies widely depending on the method in inquiry. As a whole their effectiveness relation to their end of rehabilitation is arguable, but imprisonment remains the most popular with the public intermediate countenances. Non-custodial footings are non effectual in cut downing the cost of penalizing wrongdoers due to the cost of supervising.

Foucault’s impression of the ‘panopticon’ was that the monitoring of captives modified their behavior. This is being replaced with CCTV, conveying the ‘panopticon’ into modern society [ 18 ] for both convicted and guiltless and arguably taking one of prison’s chief maps and therefore cut downing this demand for imprisonment.


Beccaria Cesare 1764Dei Delitti e delle Pene( On Crimes and Punishments

Foucault, Michel 1975, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison,New York: Random House.

Maltz, Michael D. ( [ 1985 ] 2001 ) Recidivism.Academic Press Inc. , Orlando, Florida.

Pratt, John 2002 Punishment and Civilisation: Penal Tolerance and Intolerance in Modern Society,London, Sage

Vass, Antony 1990 Alternatives to Prison: Punishment, Custody and the Community.Hardcover Sage Augustat page 3.

Worrall, Anne 1997 Punishment in the community: the hereafter of condemnable Justice

Longman London and New York.


Lloyd C, Mair G and Hough, M. ( 1994 )Explaining reconviction rates, a Critical analysis.Home office research survey 136, London HMSO.

Marinos, Voula 2005 Thinking About Penal Equivalents.Punishment and Society, the International Journal of Penology.Volume 7 Number 4 October Page 441.

Solicitors Journal Vol. 150 No 6 page 188.


R V Tripp [ 2005 ] EWCA Crim 2253.

R V Kearns[ 2005 ] EWCA Crim 2038.

Statutory instruments/official studies

Criminal Justice Act 1991

Criminal Justice Act 2003

Crime ( Sentences ) Act 1997

Home office 1988

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures ( The Tokyo Rules ) . Adopted by General Assembly declaration 45/110of 14 December 1990. General rules 1.1-1.5


hypertext transfer protocol: //www.homeoffice.gov.uk/justice/prison/

International Centre for Prison Studies, Kings College London. At 27.1.2006 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/rel/icps/home.html


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