The pandemic has highlighted the UK‚’s overcrowded and ineffective prison system.
With some research, it is clear that, with a 65% to 77% reoffending rate and inmates facing diminished career prospects, more criminal connections, poor connection to social services, poor education opportunities- which do not link-up with other prisons or when outside of prison – and a higher chance of being introduced to substance abuse or addiction; our prisons represent extremely poor value for money.
We can and must do better, ¬£41k a year per person can be better spent – just imagine how this money might instil change instead of only focus on incarceration. If prison is to ‚’protect the public‚’ but they essentially take an inmate and do nothing with them it just presses pause and upon release, the inmate is in a worse position to integrate well within society. Prison is a golden opportunity to actually DO SOMETHING with people who have taken a path which goes against what we collectively have decided is unacceptable. If offending behaviour is not dealt with at its root cause, if prisoners cannot leave prison with some tangible future within society we cannot expect them to deliver substantially different results.
The UK prison population has been growing steadily, and reoffending is a key driver of an increased accumulation of prisoners, it is clear that something must be done better. If we consider that it is possible to cut reoffending rates by half with better prison systems then the societal impact is tremendous. If we consider not only the human and financial cost through the reduction of crime – but the social shift toward more active and responsible citizenship culturally the long term impact of a better prison system is enormous.