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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136248 Find in a Library
Title: Prisons and Penal Reform
Author(s): T Blackstone
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 62
Sponsoring Agency: Chatto and Windus Ltd
London, SWIV 2SA, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7011-3554-9
Sale Source: Chatto and Windus Ltd
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London, SWIV 2SA,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The author contends that Britain's prisons are expensive, inhumane, and overcrowded and that they encourage idleness and helplessness.
Abstract: Since 1979, the British government has invested heavily in law and order services and has extended court powers. Yet the annual number of offenses recorded by the police continues to grow. Spending on the criminal justice system increased from about 2 billion pounds in 1979 to an estimated 5 billion pounds in 1989, an increase of about 50 percent in real terms. Between 1979 and 1991, the number of police officers rose by 14,000, the number of probation officers grew by 6 percent, and the number of prison staff increased by over 50 percent. The number of notifiable offenses recorded by the police reached almost 3.9 million in 1987, compared with 2.5 million in 1979. About 94 percent of the 1987 total involved crimes against property (burglary, theft, fraud, forgery, and criminal damage). In its approach to sentencing, the British government has a dual-track policy: arguing for tougher sentences for violent crime while suggesting that nonviolent offenders be kept out of prison. The privatization of services previously provided in the public sector has been the driving force of government policy in many areas. Government policy has also been characterized by populism and punishment. The state of Britain's penal system is examined in terms of who goes to prison, the size of the prison population, prison conditions, and release from prison. Recommendations to reform the penal system focus on overcrowded and unsanitary prison conditions, decreasing the number of prisoners on remand, bail, speedy trials, and coherent sentencing.
Main Term(s): Foreign correctional facilities; Prison conditions
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Crime in foreign countries; Foreign crime statistics; Foreign sentencing; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Prison overcrowding
Note: Chatto CounterBlasts No. 11
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