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NCJ Number: 78430 Find in a Library
Title: Critique of Penal Philosophy and Recent Penal Policy
Journal: Cambrian Law Review  Volume:9  Dated:(1978)  Pages:27-39
Author(s): L M Koffman
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: British penal philosophy and recent penal policy are critiqued, with a focus on initiatives to provide alternatives to imprisonment.
Abstract: Recent developments in penal policy have been largely motivated by a desire to use prisons as a sentence of 'last resort' and to devise alternatives to the custodial sentence. While there is ample evidence that the large-scale imprisonment of offenders has not in itself reduced crime, there have not been exhaustive studies regarding why the present penal system has failed and whether certain revisions in the current prison format might produce different results. The continued use of prisons requires that this be done. The popular movement toward developing alternatives to imprisonment has proceeded largely on the intuitive and naive belief that since prisons have not worked, alternatives to imprisonment will. The philosophy behind these alternatives and their objectives, however, is rarely expressed in any coherent form, and the sparseness of evaluative research measuring the effects of specific community programs on offenders leaves judges and the general public in doubt about what to expect from sentencing to community alternatives for imprisonment. Politicians have adopted an equivocal and almost opportunistic attitude to penological and criminological research, using only those studies which appear to be of pragmatic value. Until some systematic network of decisionmaking yokes policymaking to such research, reform will continue to be haphazard and responsive to purely political considerations, to the detriment of both the offender and society. A total of 49 references are listed.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Correctional reform; Custody vs treatment conflict; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Penology; Policy analysis
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