• Question: Do you think prisons should take a more reform approach rather than punnishment?

    Asked by Esme to Sally on 14 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Sally Tilt

      Sally Tilt answered on 14 Mar 2019:


      Actually, I’d probably say that they can do both. As part of the justice system, it is important that prisons are a punishment and also serve as a deterrent. However, the punishment and the deterrent parts are the process of going to prison – having your freedom removed is a pretty serious thing to do to another person, and this loss of liberty is the punishment.

      So the other part is what happens when people are in prison – and for this part I would definitely support a regime to encourage rehabilitation, compassion, and decency. Nearly everyone of the 80000 people in prison today will at some point in the future be released and be someone’s next door neighbour. For me then it makes sense that we should work really hard in prison to change people’s attitudes, give people new skills, and encourage them to find a path which leads them away from crime – it is in their interest and also everyone’s interest. The evidence also supports this approach – countries with the most progressive prisons seem to have the lowest rate of reoffending – Norway is one example of this https://www.lifeinnorway.net/prisons/

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