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Leaving crime behind

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 737 ✭✭✭ Kewreeuss


    I was struck by a headline in the Indo today to which my immediate reaction was to wonder why on earth that was presented as an excuse for committing this particular crime.
    I read the article through and had a think.
    We read so many articles in which repeat offenders never get sent to jail, even with phenomenal amount of successful prosecutions against them.
    Would they have got counselling and help?
    Or would they have got better access to services had they been sent to jail?
    Those two questions aren’t really what this post is about and apologies for taking time to get to the point.
    Which is that we never hear of the successes.
    People who have had dreadful upbringings, committed many crimes, culminating in something dreadful and have then made the most of the rehabilitation services and left their criminal activities behind them.
    Please don’t tell me that I am naive, that it doesn’t happen in real life.
    Is this information available or is it all anecdotal, ie gossip in the pub, or the boyfriend’s cousin’s husband knew a guy who etc etc.?
    The CSO provides data on recidivism but for 1 and 3 year periods and it is a it depressing to be honest.


Comments

  • #2


    Lots of people "leave crime behind".

    The thing is, we have no real idea how much of this is attributable to the effect of rehabilitation services, etc, and how much is simply people growing up, settling down, and acquiring hopes and aspirations that are more enticing than a life of crime.

    A large part of the rehabilitation support needed by ex-prisoners is not to rehabilitate them from crime, but to rehabilitate them from the effects of having been in prison.


  • #2


    Oh!
    A person who says they had a blighted childhood as a reason for their criminal activities, would they get any help at all? Is this something their lawyers just throw in there when they are in front of the judge?
    People who do community service over and over again, do they just do their stint and are left to their own devices? Do they not get any counselling or anything?


  • #2


    You assume that there is a large cohort of people doing community service "over and over again". I don't think this is correct. Repeat offenders tend not to be given CSOs, but more conventional penalties.

    As for whether people on CSOs get counselling, no, they don't — at least, not as part of the CSO. The Probation Service isn't resourced to provide that.

    The theory behind the CSO is that the community service itself is rehabilitative - or, at least, more rehabilitative than fines or imprisonment. The idea is that performing useful work that is of benefit to the community, or to persons in need, will do more for an offender's sense of self-worth, self-esteem and ability to make a positive contribution than spending time in prison will. The hope is that by doing so offenders might develop a sense of social responsibility and their outlook and their role in society might change.

    A second factor is that community service is supposed to be reparative; by doing community service offenders do something to repair or repay society for the damage their offending is inflicted. This is seen as a positive, even if the offender himself is not rehabilitated by the experience.

    And a third factor is that CSOs are cheaper than prison. Prison is vastly, vastly expensive and, worse, it's an expensive policy that largely doesn't work. Even if CSOs are no more effective than prison at deterring further offending, they are a much cheaper way of achieving the same outcome, so there's a gain to taxpayers.

    in Ireland, commentators suggest, implementing CSOs has largely been seen as a matter of saving money and repairing/repaying damage than of rehabilitating offenders (which is possibly the reason, or part of the reason, why the probation service is not resourced to provide counselling, etc). This may have beging to change in recent years, with a pilot programme under which some offenders serve their CSOs not by working (or not exclusively by working) but by spending time in training, education or treatment. But I don't know if the outcomes of this pilot programme have been evaluated yet.


  • #2


    Thank you very much Peregrinus.
    I understand, in relation to community service.

    When someone’s barrister tells the judge his client has had a traumatic and abusive child/teenager good, is it only to get the Judge to be lenient?
    Does it end there? Are they offered any help?


  • #2


    Kewreeuss wrote: »
    Thank you very much Peregrinus.
    I understand, in relation to community service.

    When someone’s barrister tells the judge his client has had a traumatic and abusive child/teenager good, is it only to get the Judge to be lenient?
    Does it end there? Are they offered any help?
    They are not offered help by the court or the probation service. It's just a plea for lenience, suggesting that there moral culpability for what they have done has to take account of their disadvantaged circumstances. It doesn't usually carry a lot of weight, to be honest.


  • #2


    Interesting. I always thought of prison primarily as a means of protecting people and society by removing dangerous folk from circulation.

    Which puts CSOs in proportion. And that can be a huge service to remoter communities.


  • #2


    Graces7 wrote: »
    Interesting. I always thought of prison primarily as a means of protecting people and society by removing dangerous folk from circulation.

    Which puts CSOs in proportion. And that can be a huge service to remoter communities.
    Prison has always had a number of objectives:

    - Confinement: As you say, to protect the public from crimes.
    - Deterrence: To discourage people from committing crimes in the first place.
    - Rehabilitation: To treat prisoners in ways that will make further crimes less likely.
    - Retribution: To mark society's disapproval of crimes.

    Each of these objectives can be more or less in vogue at any time, and different objectives may apply to different prisoners. (For example, lots of people are in prison because they have defaulted on fines, or because they have infringed immigration rules. We are not being "protected" from them in the way that we are being protected from prisoners who have committed crimes of violence, say, because they don't present the same kind of threat.)

    For 15-20% of prisoners, none of these reasons apply, because they haven't been convicted of any crime. They are in prison because they have been charged with offences for which they have yet to be tried, and have been denied bail because they are a flight risk or for some other reason.


  • #2


    White collar crime is a rarely addressed topic on Ireland. There have been some high profile cases with very lenient if any consequences.

    It is neither punished or discouraged in Ireland.


  • #2


    I think that's true.

    It doesn't follow that prison would be an effective or efficient way of discouraging it - it's not especially effective or efficient when it comes to discouraging other forms of crime.

    However ineffective or inefficient it is, a double standard under which white collar criminals escape prison for economic crimes of considerable value, while "ordinary" criminals are sent to prison for economic crimes of much less value, is obviously objectionable. But I think that's a separate issue from the question of how good an idea prison is for any crime.

    To go back to the point Graces7 raised, if the main objective of prison is to protect people from further criminal acts by the same offenders, it's rarely necessary to send white collar offenders to prison to protect people - you can do it just as effectively, and much more cheaply, by revoking their professional qualifications, banning them from being company directors, etc.

    Whereas, if your object is retribution, to mark disapproval of their crime, then you should absolutely be sending them to prison for a fraud involving millions, if you would send someone to prison for a theft involving thousands.


  • #2


    There's a great video podcast from 2 - former scumbags - in Cork that is exactly about this. They are about making sure kids don't do the same amd basically have a better life and don't get caught up in addiction.

    It's really good. Plus the two lads seem really sharp now, went to college got masters and all that. They raise some good points.

    You need an hour as you can't really jump in and out of the episodes.

    Channel here -
    https://youtube.com/channel/UChP21E_thSAqbvHeyeHmc3w

    Example
    https://youtu.be/QmiQMzLVOI0


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