Crime and Punishment

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Life imprisonment, parole and early release


Prisoner released without completing sentence; they've been good and accepted guilt. Prisoner monitored to ensure not re-offending.
Applications must be made. If released - report to parole officer.

Life Imprisonment:
Prison sentence; theoretically keeps people in prison until death.
Av. life sentence: 15 years (before criminal can apply for parole). Judge can set a longer sentence if necessary.
Prospect of release gives hope to prisoners - deters bad psychological impact.
Victims and public may not be happy that a convicted murderer is released from prison.

Early Release:
Allowed out of prison even if they haven't completed their sentence or fulfilled criteria for parole.
Those regarded as a low risk to society - relieve overcrowding of prison.
Person given early release if demonstrated good behaviour, repented etc.
Gives offender second chance.
Victims might feel decision unfair; re-offending possibilities.

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Prison Reform

Religious believers believe necessary.
Eg. Prison Reform Trust - campaigning on improving conditions for prisoners

Concern: Overcrowded prisons do not help reformation. Prisons should be reserved for worst offenders rather than for people committing relatively minor offences.

Disagreement: Prisons would become like holiday camps; no longer be a deterrent to crime.
Most prisoners reoffending when released instead of reforming.

Hindus encourage education and meditation in prisons: way of repairing minds of lawbreakers.

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Forms of Punishment 1

Community Service:

Unpaid work that an offender performs as a type of punishment for the benefit of the community rather than going to prison.

Used as punishment for: driving whilst disqualified, non-payment of fines, antisocial behaviour etc.

Aim: changing offenders behaviour; making amends to the community.

Sometimes offender given curfew.

Opposition: some see as soft option - criminal may continue to break law whilst doing service.

For: allows offender to keep day job, less contact with other criminals, greater success rate in reforming.

Electronic Tagging:

An offender wears electronic device which tracks their movement to ensure restrictions of movement kept.

For: Much cheaper than prison; only 2% of offenders committed more crimes while tagged.


Money paid as a punishment for a crime or other offence.

Eg. parking tickets and speeding.

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Forms of Punishment 2

Alternate to prison - offender frequently meets with probation officer to ensure they don't reoffend. Movement may be restricted
For: probation officer gives advice, helps offender obey the law, offender can keep job

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