FORENSICS - Dealing with offending behaviour: the aims of custodial sentencing

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  • Dealing with offending behaviour: the aims of custodial sentencing
    • Why do we send people to prison?
      • to get them off the street / confinement -> protection of society
      • acts a deterrence - prevents re-offending of criminals and sets an example for future offenders
      • justice / retribution -> they've inflicted pain on other, get their just dessert
      • rehabilitation -> trying to reform them for when they go back into society
      • punishment for what they have done
    • Rising population in prison rates
      • better 'clear up' rate -> more technology to catch criminals
      • more crimes that wouldn't have been present 100 yrs ago (fraud, internet, driving etc)
      • in the past, people were killed for crimes
      • general population increased
      • proves that deterrence in prison does work
      • eng & wales & scot lock up the most amount of people
      • norway, sweden & finland lock up the least amount of people
      • black people more likely to be locked up than white people
      • RECIDIVISM -> proven re-offending after completing some form of official punishment
        • shows that re-offending varies depending on length of sentence
        • less than 12 months -> 59%, 10 yrs -> 18%
    • Why does prison not work for everyone?
      • differential association -> people will be around people who commit crimes and will become worse (learn tips etc)
      • for punishment to work, it must be probable, prompt and aversive
        • trial process is long and sometimes never happens
        • prison may be safer and better than the conditions that they were living in previously
      • deterrent theory - criminals weigh up risks of committing a crime before doing it
        • not all criminals do this -> intoxication, emotion based
      • prison teaches criminals not to get caught instead of don't commit crimes
    • Impact of prison on the mental health of prisoners
      • Zimbardo - they will conform to their social role
      • Dehumanisation
      • deindividuation
        • Gustav le Bon - individs change when part of a crowd
        • zimbardo - 'cloak of anonymity' - loss of individ identity and reduced inhibitions
        • measured by amount of aggression but in prison many inmates are aggressive
        • prisons could be highly stressful - 25% of inmates are in overcrowded conditions
      • depression
        • hopelessness theory - Abramson
        • internal - external attribution
        • stable - unstable
        • global specific
        • UNHEALTHY ATTRIBUTIONS - internal, stable, global
        • prison can shift attributions to an unhealthy set
        • helplessness theory - Seilgman
          • helplessness learned that it is useless to help your situation
      • self harm and suicide
        • about 10 a month
        • large increase in females
        • major first risk during first 24 hrs
        • increasing per year
        • SNOW - characteristics of prisoners who self-harm and are suicidal separately. Self-harmers display higher anger and stress. Suicidal show depressive signs and withdraw
        • men = 5x more likely to commit suicide than in wider pop
        • women = 20x more likely to commit suicide than outside pop
      • institutionalisation
        • 15% of prisoners are homeless before arrest (recidivism)
      • Evaluation of depression, self-harm and suicide
        • is poor mental health a necessary part of punishment? Argued that criminals need to be a bit depressed for prisons to work
        • NEWTON - self harm is so widespread among prisons - sign of conformity?
        • many prisoners have poor mental health before sentencing
        • prison pop rose when asylums were closed down - less protection for people with disorders and they are being put in prison
      • Recidivism - Why do ex-prisoners reoffend?
        • stealing out of need - on the street before and after prison
        • biological - genes still make them unable to control themselves
        • prisons are very controlled - changing behaviour - token economy
        • lack of support, particularly for institutionalised prisoners
        • prisoners don't make link between crime and punishment
        • prisoners have not finished treatment
        • menatl health / addiction issues
        • drug users more likley to reoffend than non-drug users

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