Original post by AMac86
Murder already carries a mandatory life sentence, rape carries sentences ranging from long to life. Rehabilitation very much takes a back seat here to protection of the public.
What you're proposing above are lengthy sentences (on a par those for murder and rape) for a *much* wider range of offenses, by their nature less serious,where there is a much greater scope for rehabilitation - the sorts of offenses where sentences currently can range from 1-5 years for example.
Irrespective of your own personal views, the question is why do governments not adopt the kinds of policies your proposing. That's because they have to take (or at least aim to take...) a longer term strategic view. If only on a pragmatic basis, they *have* to care about rehabilitation because it's a key part of longer term crime reduction strategies. If you want to take rehabilitation out of the picture and place a much greater focus on the punishment itself, then you have to also be accepting of a higher rate of re-offending post release, and to spend more money on prisons to meet the expanded prison population, resources you can't spend on other areas which might drive more successful outcomes for society. Let's imagine you're the prisons minister putting these kinds of policies forward to the home secretary & the treasury for approval - here's your case:
In the plus column:
- Being tough on crime and prisoners is a popular electoral position;
- There are cases where sentencing is deficient;
- There can be a moral case for tougher sentencing (focusing on the individuals decision to commit crime);
- Short term protection of the public would likely improve;
In the negative column:
- Your department would need massively more funding to fund the rollout of more prisons - anywhere between £3-5 billion as a starting point - which other department will take the cuts for the money you need?
- There's little evidence that tough prison sentences reduce crime rates;
- There's lots of evidence that removing rehabilitation and increasing imprisonment, particularly in the sort of tough conditions you favour increases re-offending - which *increases* crime, so longer term protection of the public is likely to worsen.
- There can be a moral case for rehabilitation (focusing on the social factors influencing crime)
Decisions, decisions - No easy answers and I think the above illustrates why more, tougher, prisons is far from an obvious criminal justice policy.