The Punishment of Probation- A Proposed Solution to the Prison Overcrowding Problem in England

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Since 1993 the population within prison is increasing leading to majority of prison overcrowding this meaning there is now a higher percentage of people in prison here in England than any other country in Western Europe (Howard League 2006). This is leading to re-offending as offenders are not able to receive individual rehabilitation because there are too many offenders to rehabilitate. As this becomes more of a problem in today’s society the government are coming up with new punishments which will help to reduce the overcrowding within the prisons. One of these new punishments is probation, this is a sentence which is been imposed by court and given to the offender either after the offender has served their sentence in prison or not at all.

Within this essay, the focus will be to explain if the probation service is either soft or a hard option whilst covering three concepts to see what extent this is a true representation of community penalties. The three concepts which will be critically analysed will be history of prisons, prison population and the media’s perception of probation. At the end of this essay it will hopefully conclude whether probation is either a soft or hard penal option.

The first concept which will be critically analysed will be the history of prisons and theories to why prison is a better punishment then probation service and how probation is soft compared to prisons. Prisons are seen as an institution where offenders are placed before and after being tried by court of a criminal offence which they have committed against either a member or the public or society itself for example terror attacks on buildings.

Prisons were first built around the 13th century however these were only used for vagrant...

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...onships Sykes explains his imprisonment also means he is also figuratively castrated by his involuntary celibacy. The fourth form is the deprivations of autonomy where inmates have daily regimes where they are expected to adhere as there is no choice. The final form is the deprivation of security where inmates placed into the institute to associate with others just like themselves where there is one meaning of the involuntary union (Newburn 2007).

The next classic study was done by Erving Goffman in 1961 were his study was called total institutions: Asylums. This is where he explores how entry into a total institution such as an asylum, a prison or the army involves processes that involve what he describes as ‘mortification of the self’, this is a series of ritual humiliation and degradations which have a impact on the individuals sense of self (Newburn 2007).

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