Dealing with offending behaviour

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  • Created on: 17-12-18 12:34
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  • Dealing with offending behaviour
    • Aims of custodial sentencing
      • 1) Incapacitation, 2) punish the offender, 3) deterrent, 4)retribution, 5) rehabilitate offenders.
      • Even death penalty not a deterrent - Amnesty International (2015) states that have death penalty do not have low murder rates
      • People often offend in states of high emotional arousal with no thought for consequence
      • Individual differences in re-offending: Walker et. al (1981) found sentence length made little difference to habitual offenders
        • Home office (2005) younger people more likely to re-offend, those who commit crimes such as theft and burglary are 2x more likely to reoffend than drug and sex offenders
      • Rehabilitation; offenders cannot be forced to take part
      • Retribution; Restorative Justice Programmes may be more effective in changing offenders' attitudes.
      • Incapacitation; only relevant for a small number of dangerous criminals
      • Cultural differences in retribution, e.g. UK 1st time vandalism results in a fine. In Singapore, results in 4 months prison, maybe caning and a fine.
      • Latessa and Lowenkamp (2006) found that placing offenders with low risk of recidivism with high risk offenders makes the low risk offenders more likely to reoffend
    • Psychological effects of custodial sentencing
      • Deindividuation: loss of identity, increased aggression + dehumanisation (Zimbardo et. al 1973)
      • Depression, self harm and suicide: removal of self control leads to helplessness and hopelessness
        • Howard League for Prison Reform: 10,000 incidents of self harm in 2008.
      • Overcrowding + lack of privacy: Growing population in prisons in UK but no. of prisons not growing. 25% of prisoners are in overcrowded accommodation.
        • Calhoun (1962) rats overcrowding led to increased aggression, hypersexuality and physical illness.
      • Effects on the family: the family are deeply affected financially and psychologically, and the parent in prison may feel guilt and separation anxiety (Glover 2009)
    • Benefits of non-custodial sentencing
      • Evidence suggests cautions are effective deterrents than arrests (Klein et. al 1977)
      • Home Office 2005 -Community sentences were less likely to reoffend.
    • Behaviour modification
      • Based on the principles of operant conditioning
        • Positive and negative reinforcement - used to encourage people, and punishment can discourage them
        • Token Economy - Tokens are secondary reinforcers, learned through repeated association with primary reinforcers such as food.
      • Hobbs and Holt (1976) Alabama Boys Industrial School - 12-15 years old. Aim was to reduce inappropriate social behaviour before and after dinner when lining up.
        • 125 males in 4 cottages, 1 cottage served as a control. Baseline data - 66%, 47%, 73% (how they behaved before the program was put into place). Good behaviour got them tokens which could be spent on sweets, toys, cigarettes etc. or they could save them up for more expensive off campus activities.
          • Findings: 91%, 81% and 94% = average increase of 27%, control showed no increase.
    • Restorative Justice Programmes
      • Offenders should restore the situation to what it was before their crime was committed.
        • It's respectful and not degrading for victim or the offender - has to be voluntary with a positive outcome
      • Offender has communication with victim.
      • Prison can be avoided by offender if victim agrees
      • Supervised mediation with a trained mediator
        • Victim confronts the offender and explains the impact of the crime on their life. Offender faces up to the consequences and starts rehabilitation.
      • Aims: 1) Rehabilitation of offenders 2) Atonement for wrongdoing 3) Victim's perspective.
      • Very effective with young, first time offenders. Forces them to face up to consequences and is a short, sharp shock.
      • Sherman and Strang (2007) reviewed 20 studies involving 142 men convicted of violence and property offences who had taken part in the programme.
        • Only 11% reoffended, compared to 37% of a matched control group
      • Public opinion may be that it's seen as 'getting off lightly'
      • Offenders must feel genuine remorse so not suitable for all criminals and only works if there is an obvious victim.
      • Tough for both victims and offenders
      • Costs involved in training mediators and high dropout rates from offenders unable to face their victims, so may not be cost effective


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