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steve freer

Business Development, Ministry Of Justice UK

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Does prison work?

For a certain cohort of prisoner i.e prolific burglar,should we ignore the issues of why they commit crime or intervene and challenge?
I categorise offenders as Bad / Mad and Sad and the burglars usually fall into the Sad category.To ignore their issues and send them back onto the streets as they came in,is failing society and a backward step.
To engage with them ,deal with the issues and send them out work ready is hugely beneficial to all parties.
Reduce reoffending
Reduce number of victims
Reduce cost to taxpayer
Create a worthwhile being who could pass this on to future generations,rather than the alternative of becoming a career criminal impacting on our society in a negative way..

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  • Jul 22 2012: My opinion on this question is yes and no. I categorise offenders as violent and non-violent. For people who pose a danger to anyone.For the safety of all, then prison is the answer. Now the but part. Prison is not the answer for non-violent offenders.That is where most of the costs go for. The non-violent offenders. Now here is some ideas on how to change the system. Have half-way houses for non-violent offenders. Have them doing community service and teach them a trade that will get them a job. Have strict probation guidelines. Oversight is important.The goal is simple, give the non-violent offenders the tools and supervision that will help with them from being repeat offenders. As I said before, prison is needed for the violent offenders, but in my opinion and observation that a lot of the prisoners that you have could be productive members of society under the right circumstances. And it would save and make society money and good citizens. This can be applied anywhere in the world to reduce prison population in a productive way. Thank you and I hope that I have been helpfull with my ideas and opinions.
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      Jul 22 2012: Terry,
      You provide some very good ideas, and I agree that there are many different levels of crime. Is there any reason, in your perception, that violent offenders cannot be taught skills, and be productive while they are incarcerated?

      For example, years ago, in the state where I live, offenders used to produce license plates for motor vehicles. The production facility was housed in the prison, and supervised. Offenders contributed to society by producing something which cut the costs to the motor vehecle dept. (and reduced our state tax), so they provided a service that was beneficial to the community, and it was a work opportunity that kept them occupied.

      Somehow, people decided that we were taking away their rights, by "forcing" them to work, so that program desolved a long time ago. Now, the state pays a private company to produce the plates. It seems like there are many things like that which could be done by violent offenders within the facility. What do you think?
      • Jul 22 2012: Hello Colleen,
        I do agree that there should be jobs in a prison system for the violent offenders to do to help with the costs of their food, housing and supervision.Education and life skills would be helpfull to. I am not fond of the idea of caging anyone but for societies safety there are offenders that need to be seperated from everyone. I am referring to murderers and anyone else who poses a threat. I do not believe in forced work, whether prisoner or not.Forced work is a form of slavery.But use work as a choice, And reward as in Privileges(no work, no privileges) those who are willing to work with the system and not against it. Thank you for the questions and input.
      • Jul 23 2012: Hello Colleen, great example for this topic.
        Your example as many others we see around is only a proof that as long as the system is not human oriented (either free or convicted) it will always prevail this kind of financial interests.
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          Jul 24 2012: Thanks Cornelia,
          I agree that we need to encourage the systems to be "human oriented". We can still consider the financial, practical, logical, reasonable and safe sides while ALSO considering the human side.

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