Prison System in Crisis?

2466 words 10 pages
The prison system in England and Wales could reasonably be described as being in crisis. Discuss.

The term crisis refers to an intense time of difficulty, trouble or danger, or a time when difficult decisions must be made. However, in the context of the prison system, it has to be looked at differently. This can be seen throughout the essay in how there have been times of danger, and difficult policy decisions made. In looking at whether these problems are important to the prison system, it has to be looked at whether it is hindering the purposes and objectives of prison. It is also worth noting that the prison system has been regarded in being in crisis for many years by the media and academics (Cavadino & Dignan, 2007). Thus it
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Another aspect that has to be looked at here is the fact of security inside prison.
Riots are still present, as seen last year in the Ford open prison riots. This would suggest that in some instances prisons are not actually capable of controlling their prisoners. Riots are seen clear evidence of a crisis in prison but riots are very rare in the prison system.

From all of this stated above it is clear that the orthodox account, is still very relevant in todays prison society. In particular is the issue of high prison population leading to increased overcrowding levels. Which in 2012 are at an all time high. However one development to this theory comes from Lord Woolf who agreed with orthodox accounts of security and control being crucial to a stable prison system, put also placed importance on justice.
‘Justice refers to the obligation of the Prison Service to treat prisoners with humanity and fairness and to prepare them for their return to the community in a way which makes it less likely that they will reoffend’ (Woolf 1991: para 9.20).
This quote coming from Woolf’s report in 1992 can be seen still to be extremely relevant today, when looked at the prison systems aims and purposes, as mentioned earlier in the essay. This makes Woolf’s recommendation crucial to looking at what the state of the prison system is in today.

In terms of conditions there are said to be three elements, which influence the quality of life for prisoners. The first


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