Effective rehabilitation lies beyond short term prison sentences

Make Justice Work: Criminal Justice - News . Opinion . Research

Just in case anyone should think going to prison for a couple of months is of more use than building bird boxes (see Bird-brained Justice, Daily Mail, 20th  February 2010), then they should think again. There is no evidence that a short time in prison has any rehabilitative effect on young offenders. Sadly, the reporting of the new Making Good programme failed to explain that it is the public who are invited to choose suitable programmes for these youngsters to pay back to their community for what they have done.  As we all know, young “criminals’ are notoriously difficult to steer away for yobbish behaviour but at least the public are now being given a chance to be involved with the type of punishment they see as appropriate and see the results of their involvement. In fact looking at the testimonials so far with this new programme, it looks pretty positive.

So perhaps this suggests that the public are not as punitive as the papers might like to think they are and that as usual we are being thrown outlandish headlines like titbits to the crowds at the Roman Colosseum. I had rather hoped that nowadays the way we punish people is more just and humane…