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Punishments are said to be given to those people who does wrong in the society. In order to make society safer and to make that offender realize his mistake, punishments are given to the wrongdoer. There are various kinds of punishments that are given to the wrongdoer. One of them is Imprisonment. Imprisonment is said to be most acute form of punishment given to the offenders in most of the nations. It is thoroughly being used widely by the courts in terms of punishing the offenders for their crimes or offences. The prevention of crime is the primary motive of imprisonment. It is being considered as a type of punishment wherein which the society tends to get the safe and secure environment for its people.
The main purpose of thesis is to conclude whether the imprisonment system is achieving its goals in providing a better and safer life to people including prisoners, or are there any better alternatives available for the achievement of such measures?
Even though, this punishment brings out the fact of providing a safer environment to society, it lacks various aspects affecting the life of a person who is living in those prisons, and of those people who are connected with the prisoner. In many ways, it is said to be the effective way in defeating and degrading the number of offences and crimes by sentencing the offenders in the prison according to their term period as per decided by the law. This concerns and affects the living, emotional, mental or physical condition of that person for the rest of their life. Prisoners tend to have a criminogenic effect after they complete their sentence. A criminogenic effect is said to be occurred to the prisoners due to the situation of antisocial prison experiences. Imprisonments have differential effects depending on the nature of offenders’ personal and social characteristics.
Researchers have explored various effects of imprisonment on the people even beyond the walls of prisons. There are consequences that have been highlighted in all these times includes unintended social disorganization of the communities or decrease in the number of the job opportunities for the ex-prisoners or circumstances leading to deflection of funds from schools and universities or various financial burdens on their families. Families are considered to be one of the common factors affecting the prisoners after they liberate. (Cunningham, A. 2001)
An Imprisonment of a person usually results into emotionally devastating and practically debilitating loss and hopelessness for the partners of prisoners. A loss of outside relationship, income, isolation, deterioration in relationships, with burden of taking care of child are some of the most ruinous features in the confinement of prisoners. The prevalence of intellectual disability among the prison population in the State of Victoria, Australia is implementing and their intellectual disability differ from non-intellectually disabled prisoners on factors relevant to their management and rehabilitation in prison. (Persson & Holland, 2010)
The paper reports by an Australian Research Council (ARC) which organized a project with for implementation the human rights in closed environments like prisons. This ARC project aimed at examining on how the human rights values are being applied in day to day activities in prisons or police cells or immigration detention or forensic and disability facilities and to evaluate the actual influence of those legislation based on human rights in these premises. Every prisoner does not get necessarily gets the same conditions while living in the prison. The Signs of mental disorder were also examined in the prisoners including depressive mental disorders, or some anxiety problems, increase in drug-related disorders. (Mullen & Tye, 2006)
The personal autonomy of the people is nugatory and their day to day routines are being highly regimented which includes that they are locked for long periods in small shared cells. These prisons are tends to be overcrowded. The personal possessions, social services, education, welfare are limited and their involvement in occupation is related to production in prison. They are deprived of the liberty and are punished with inhumane conditions (Naylor B, 2015). This has been researched that the increase in growth of the imprisonment does not increase with the crime rates. The most recent Victoria Police crime statistics show that the 2013/2014 crime rate was 1.6% lower than 10 years ago. The type of offences due to which the prisoners are punished or remanded or even sentenced affects the size of the prison and its population. (Anna & Carlos, 2020)
There are other policies and practices which have been changed that have been a reason for increase in the imprisonment factors. Some of these changes are:
In Australia, there were 11000 people who were Indigenous got imprisoned and more than 3200 of them were not convicted at that time. The criminal justice system does not criminalize, but results in social marginalization of the people (Williams S, 2017). The Prisons are tends to be extraordinarily costly. It has been recorded and analyzed that the inmates who get released from the prison tends to suffer with health issues, dependent and impoverished, because they lack their skill and are institutionalized. Many of those people die soon after their release because of strain and loss of capabilities. Victoria’s prisons are reviewed as severe risk institutions where the sanitary and safety conditions are avoided while treating prisoners. (Sands V, 2004)
An amount of effect of incapacity is exerted on prisoners during their imprisonment. The findings from various studies shows that such policies costs greater than the benefits, and as per the imprisonment growth rate increases, those benefits tends to be alter the crime rate as it increases because of the this effect of prison system. There have been studies regarding the risks of the disease and viruses of infections like IDU (injecting drug use) among many prisoners in the central Victorian Prison. (Crofts, et.al., 1996)
Imprisonment has been identified as a type of public control which is not being attaining its main goal. Despite the decreasing of such crime rates, circumstances have resulted in an increase in the population of prison. It was recorded that on 30 June 2014, recidivism worsened with 45.8% of released NSW prisoners returning to prison within two years. And it resulted in making the Australian prisons overcrowded, involving several negative consequences or circumstances for prisoners, their families and the community. There have been many researches which show that the imprisonment is not the only punishment through which such benefits from the prisoners can be gained (Richie D, 2012). There are some alternatives of the imprisonment through which particular measures can be achieved such as Reinvestment in Justice , or offender’s mentoring, or measures for Restoration of justice, or Orders for Intensive Corrections, or monitoring through electronic medium or Detention at home. The mentioned alternatives measures of imprisonment will also help in reducing the strain of resources on society and will allow the prisoners to reintegrate into environment and reduce further reoffending.
Hence, it can be concluded that the main aim is to reconcile the offender with the society and to provide them a forbearing environment in order to make them learn and understand from their faults. And there are better alternatives available other than the imprisonment that can also be implemented for giving punishment for such grievous offences to the offenders. Thus, in order to come into force, these alternative measures require the combining relationship with research and amendment in the laws.
Naylor, B. 2015. Researching Human Rights in Prisons. International Journal for crime, justice and social democracy (4) , pp. 75-79
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Williams, S.M. 2017. Criminal Law: Indigenous Peoples and the Law. What is our problem with imprisonment?. Available at: https://law.anu.edu.au/research/theme/indigenous-peoples-and-law
Ritchie, D. 2012. Sentencing Matters. How Much Does Imprisonment Protect the Community Through Incapacitation?, pp. 2 – 5
Justice Action. 2016. Alternatives of Imprisonment [Online]. Available at: https://www.justiceaction.org.au/prisons/alternatives-to-imprisonment01
Anna, G. and Carlos, C. 2020. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. Imprisonment in Australia: The offence composition of Australian Correctional Population.
Mullen, P.E. and Tye, C.S. 2006. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. Mental Disorders in Female Prisoners 40(3), pp. 266-271.
Sands, V.J. 2004. Australian Journal of Public Administration. Regulatory independence, public accountability and Victorian prison system 63(4), pp. 50-58
Crofts, N., Thompson, S. and Wale, E. 1996. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology. Risk Behaviors for Blood-borne Viruses in a Victorian Prison. https://doi.org/10.1177/000486589602900102
Persson, P. and Holland, S. 2010. Psychology, Crime & Law. Intellectual disability in the Victorian prison system: characteristics of prisoners with an intellectual disability released from prison in 2003–2006. pp. 25-41
Cunningham, A. 2001. Forgotten Families: the impacts of imprisonment. A Study of the needs of children and families of Prisoners in Victoria (59), pp. 35-38
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