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Cutting Prison Overcrowding in Great Britain: Sources of Help and Hindrance

Wright, Martin
June 4, 2015

Source: (1980) Crime & Delinquency January 1980

There is a wide range of projects for dealing with offenders in the community, but strongly punitive attitudes receive wide publicity. These attitudes are shared by many working-class people, although the most alienated are often anti-authority. Pressure for change has sometimes come from within the system; voluntary organizations such as the Howard League and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders have also worked for reform, as have individual volunteers. Forces impeding correctional reform include the public, although most people generally can be persuaded to give a new project a try; and the workings and financial structure of the correctional system itself.
An example of a recent reform is the community service order, whereby offenders are required to provide community service for a specified number of hours – in hospitals, youth clubs, and a range of other settings. The widespread acceptance of the new measure may be an indication of a new attitude among the public toward criminal justice, one that combines concerns for victims with restitution and reparation by offenders, that shifts the emphasis from general deterrence to more specialized methods of crime prevention.


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