This website is a source of information and commentary about prison, justice and the police, with a view to setting out once and for all that prison works. Prison isn't perfect, as evident from the high re-offending rates, which is why we intend to discuss the problems of the current situation and possible solutions, in a serious manner. This website seeks to analyze the issues with rigor, taking into account the widest set of evidence as possible.
Please be aware that this website is new, and still under construction. Whilst the research has been done for much of the content, there still exists the unenviable task of compiling and preparing it for publication. For this reason, please be patient with us. This is a long term project, and as a result, will most likely take many months to form its final manifestation. If you would like to contribute to this project, please contact us
Our position is that prisons work - if we make them.
Crime falls when more offenders are put in prison. This claim is controversial, but true. Despite misleading rhetoric about short-sharp shocks, during the 1980s the Tory Government pursued an anti-prison policy, and between 1988 and 1993, the prison population was cut by nearly 10 per cent. The crime rate reached an historic peak soon after and towards the end of 1993 the policy was reversed by Home Secretary, Michael Howard. Between 1993 and 2001 the average number of people in prison rose from 45,633 to 66,300, and crime rates almost immediately fell. Some academics may argue this is a coincidence, but no one disputes that while in jail, offenders cannot break into your house
There are a number of sections to this site. Firstly, we set out a clear argument, based on the best evidence available, that prison works
. What we mean by this is simple: putting people in prison reduces crime. Reducing crime should be the primary concern when forming policy; everything else should be put second to this. Unfortunately over several decades, but never more than in the last, confusion over this very important issue has distorted policy.
And part of the problem is the current state of our penal system. It has lead a number of commentators and politicians to assert prisons do not work. For example, rehabilitation of prisoners back into society has, by most measures, failed - currently two thirds of prisoners re-offend within 2 years of release. It is important that reoffending rates are reduced. These issues have to be addressed, because eventually, all but the most serious offenders are released. To address this, we must look into the reasons why reoffending rates are so high. These include poor education of prisoners, drug additiction (and even just habitual drug taking), lack of employability, family breakdown, mental illness. So we next take a critical look
at the current state of our prisons. There is no point forming policy without an accurate knowledge of the current system, warts and all.
And this brings us to the next sections of the site - the related issues of policing methods
and the criminal justice system
. Failing to catch criminals, or awarding sentences unsuitable for the crime, is fundamental to reducing crime. Indeed, if the system that precedes prisons is endemically failing, it undermines any work in reducing crime that prisons do.
Next, we have a critical look at how the Home Office
, and its mismanagement, has undermined criminal justice, policing and prisons. Many policies and initiatives, directly attributable to successive Home Secretaries, have made matters considerably worse, not better. In this section, we dismiss the rhetoric of our politicians and show them, and their departments, to be the failures that they are.
And finally, in the last two sections, we attempt to dispel the myths
that the media frequently portray. When coupled with the news review
section, we are confident we can counter the many misleading statements that can be all too easily found.