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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 113221 Find in a Library
Title: Crisis in the Prisons: Towards a New Penal Approach (From Politics and Prisons: Prison Reform Trust Lectures 1985-86, P 5-14, 1986, -- See NCJ-113220)
Author(s): I Maclennan
Date Published: 1986
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Prison Reform Trust
London , EC1V 0JR
Sale Source: Prison Reform Trust
15 Northburgh Street
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This lecture outlines the Social Democratic Party's position on penal reform in England and Wales.
Abstract: It is noted that prison overcrowding is a major problem and that there is little evidence to support the view that imprisonment is of itself preventing crime. The speaker suggests that reforms in penal policy should aim at reducing the population through the provision of noncustodial options for prisoners held on remand and for short-terms and for fine defaulters. In addition, a systematic review of the criminal law is needed; civil penalties should be substituted for penal sanctions wherever practical. Attention also should be given to the use of day fines relating the level of penalty to the earning capacity of the convicted individual. In addition to reforms for reducing the prison population, attention must be given to prisoner treatment. There is a need for the codification of prison standards and prison rules in a way that is legally enforceable. A review is needed of the role of the Board of Visitors in responding to inmate grievances. Appointment of a prison omsbudsman as an impartial and independent authority on the rights and freedoms of prisoners also is needed. A duty solicitor should be available in each penal institution to advise inmates on their rights. Finally, greater emphasis needs to be placed on preparing inmates for reentry into the community.
Main Term(s): Correctional reform
Index Term(s): England; Prison overcrowding; Wales
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