The aims of imprisonment
31T02:00:17Z December 2017
The stated aims of imprisonment became markedly less ambitious when the confidence that characterised the nineteenth-century reform movement was displaced by a realisation that places of confinement – no matter how well designed or humanely intentioned – could never 'grind rogues honest and idle men industrious'. Today the emphasis is on risk reduction and performance management; lofty aspirations have been trumped by narrow measures of target delivery. In an attempt to find principled common ground upon which to advance the debate, a new formulation is offered in this chapter, namely: the aim of imprisonment is to reconstitute the prisoner’s spatiotemporal world without causing avoidable collateral damage. It is argued that this minimalist statement provides a foundation upon which to build prison regimes that are oriented towards the future and acknowledge that all prisoners, no matter what they have done, possess the capacity to redirect their lives. Devoid of hope, imprisonment is pointless pain.
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Jewkes, Y., Bennett, J. and Crewe, B. (eds.). Handbook on Prisons (2nd edition)
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