Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Is our criminal justice system too soft?

After the announcement that prisoners would no longer have the privilege of watching sky TV, (a commodity many of the population live without due to the expense) I cannot have been the only member of the public questioning the seriousness of the UK prisons.

Often described in the media as a 'cushy' lifestyle is it any wonder we have so many re-offenders? In 2011 44% of prisoners reoffended: the highest ever rate.

The question posed is how the government deal with this increase. As prisons are becoming overly full private companies are being looked to to offer additional prison services and space, and it is these that were offering their inmates the luxury not only of TV, but Sky Satellite as well.

Is it morally correct that a criminal should be able to watch the latest football match, whilst the majority of the public do not have that opportunity due to cost set backs of the service?

It would be unfair to say that prisons are a walk in the park, and it is sometimes hard to remember that, although having committed an offence, these criminals are still human.

After a discussion earlier in the week with family regarding the punishment of criminals, however violent, and coming up with such radical penalties as sending them to mars, chopping off fingers and even the death penalty (a joke of course) I couldn’t help but think of the morality behind all of this.

Our neighbours across the pond still use and implement the death penalty: it arguably doesn’t eradicate the additional cost of keeping and looking after violent inmates until their execution date, but does it deter others from committing crimes in the first place?

It is arguably unmoral (from my perspective at least) to kill people purposely, whether lawful or not. It is an irreversible act.

Whilst I don’t agree with some of the rights a prisoner maintains, including the argument that they should be allowed to vote, I do agree that prisons are an effective form of rehabilitation for many.

It is important to look at the positive statistics alongside the negative ones; 55% of criminals in 2011 did not reoffend, and surely this is a figure that shows even with cushy insides with perks such as Sky TV, our criminal justice system does work in deterring offenders.

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