Prison Role In Society

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When we think about prison, what are the first thoughts that come to mind? What is its role in society and what are its goals? Does it succeed in meeting them? For many people, the main role of prison is punishment. They want justice, for people to pay for their crimes. For others, prisons are meant to promote safety, by (usually temporarily) separating criminals for the rest of society. Some might believe that prison sentences are dissuasive. Or that, given time to think, prisoners might repent and change their ways. Some believe that prisons offer rehabilitation. And what about the prisoners? What do we believe about them? Do we believe that they can do better? Or do we see them as 'incurable'? What are our goals? Pure, impartial justice? A compassionate system? Do these lead to a safer society? Our ideas, beliefs and values are not necessarily good or bad. But they influence our attitudes and actions. Surely it is important to at least examine them, to see if they are helpful in achieving our goals. 159H The belief that prison is a deterrent for crime is common. It is at the root of many programs and laws. But do we have any proof that it works?…show more content…
But for that to be true, we must believe that humans make decisions rationally. Others think that it works through the behaviorist theory of conditioning. But that isn't true either. Studies seem too show that in reality, prison has very little effect on rates of recidivism. Certain sociological theories even suggest that prison encourage recidivism. This could happen because of social learning from more experienced criminals, reinforcement of anti-social behavior, and loss of protective factors (like jobs and social

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