Are Prisons an Effective Form of Punishment?

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It is a common assumption that for every crime there should be a suitable penalty. Legal systems differ in determining their forms and duration and prison is the most popular way worldwide to punish those who violate law. An ideal form of punishment should not only punish, but also help to socialize the criminal into society and prevent him from further crimes. Unfortunately, jails in many countries are overcrowded and expensive for taxpayers; they do not work as a threat that scares potential offenders and most importantly, they fail to reclaim and reeducate convicted of a crime. According to journalist, Tom Whitehead, longer prison sentences prevent criminals from committing further crimes. To support his claim, he recalls some figures. Those who were in jail for up to two years have a 42.9% likelihood of reoffending and going back behind bars within twelve months after release. In contrast, those who served up to four years showed only a 35.7% chance to violate law again. The same research compares the average of further offences of prisoners with longer and shorter sentence – and the number is lower for those, who spent more time in jail. However, a closer look at this data helps to see that these figures are not enough to claim that prisons are an effective form of punishment. The difference between the averages of crimes committed by convicted after their release for example, is 0.299. That is less than 1%. The difference between the numbers of criminals who reoffended considering the length of their time in jail is 7.2%. These numbers are so small, that instead of justifying the prison system, it works against it. There are other arguments against jails. Jails are expensive, since they support a large number of socially incapable individuals for many years. Furthermore, far too many institutions are overcrowded. To be in such a place for a young

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