Nov 10, 2017 in Law

Incapacitation and Imprisonment

Imprisonment is a severe punishment in democratic societies and is aimed at protecting the community from any harm from an offender and at the same time protecting the offender from the fury of those aggrieved. When committed crimes threaten the peaceful existence of the community, it is upon the criminal justice system to decide on the level of punishment to be administered to the offender. The court has two types of sentences: this is non-custodial and custodial one. A custodial sentence refers to imprisonment where the offender’s freedom is curtailed. Imprisonment sentences put on main incapacitated consequences on offenders for the period of their imprisonment.

Imprisonment may influence re offending in different ways due to interaction with hardcore criminals in prison. Crime can be reduced by a combination of rehabilitation and what criminologists refer to as deterrence. Many arguments have been made in regard to the criminogenic effect of antisocial prison experiences. There is doubt over the general effect of the prison experience toward reformation. Incarceration appears to have a mild criminogenic effect on the future criminal behavior. This conclusion is not sufficient to rule out imprisonment but casts doubt on claims that imprisonment has a strong deterrent effect on offenders.

The concept of prison rehabilitation dates back to the 18th Century during the medieval period. During these days, prisons were regarded as dungeons of death or chambers of death, since prisons incorporated inhumane elements of punishments and rehabilitation. However, after the period of 1779, the concept of prison rehabilitation was mainly evident in the British Government where Penitentiary Acts were legislated to regulate all forms of imprisonment and rehabilitation issues. Therefore, under the criminal justice system, prisons were regarded as the main forms of rehabilitation and emphasis was mainly placed on corrections rather than punishment.

Although rehabilitation techniques varied from one prison to another depending on the country’s laws O’Toole (2005) contends that most forms of rehabilitation were similar. Some of the techniques used for prison rehabilitation include vocational training to enhance the prisoner’s skills once they leave prison and educational training. There was also psychological training that was condected for offenders who had issues such as drug addiction, to help them cope well in society once they are released from prison.


Offenders are in prison because they were sentenced there by the courts.  There are two primary ways that prisoners are placed in prisons by the courts. The first and most popular avenue of imprisonment is the virtue of sentencing policies following a conviction. The second method for courts to order imprisonment is by an order for imprisonment following the violation of a parole or probation condition.   Recidivism indicates that many offenders have already been the subject of imprisonment. This in and of itself speaks to the relative failure of the prison system to rehabilitate offenders.  However, in light of the reports substantiating prison overcrowding it is hardly surprising that prisons are ill-equipped to rehabilitate the prisoners.

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