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Understanding Prisons and "Conditional Release

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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses

st Monday March 21 2011 Lecture: Understanding Prisons and Conditional Release Mini Essay Discussion: Organization: say why a particular sentence is appropriate, when u do that u have to bring in the evidence that would suggest something on the other side, but dont feel that u have to figure out what the appropriate sentence is, u may agree with the judge or u may not but i want u to bring in the evidence from various parts of the course that would be something to consider when deciding which sentence to hand down question is what are the considerations one might want to consider supporting it or not, what were looking for is your ability to take the various things that have been covered in the course and apply it to the case obviously that means everything is up for grabs slide 1 Talk small about operation of prisons, largely focusing on the importance of prisons and how they operate and introduce u to the idea that they are a big institution that has characteristics that we should understand Peculiar way, complex set of rules on conditional release one of the issues is how to deal with difficult populations like sex offenders Slide 2: When youre talking about custodial sentences, the idea that prison sentences are seen as less favourable turns out not to be true if you choose to get a non custodial sentence there are risks of the consequences of not complying with restrictions risks of brought back and punished more than one might other wise be punished Study where prisoners were asked simple questions and given choices and said which would you choose 1 interesting thing was that they preferred straight time, the consequences of living in the community and seen as failing they could be brought back to prison for additional charges The equating of prison time to non custodial was that those groups who didnt have confidence in the system were more likely to say that non-custodial sentence would have to be a lot more lenient So the idea of wanting to get out of prison depends on what the alternative is The guest lecturer told us about the conditions that people have to live under and it makes them vulnerable to additional controls www.notesolution.comSlide 3: Whether u can equate a no custodial sentence with a custodial sentence its not easy to compare in some circumstances Imagine for theft someone steals something and judge says ok youre going to prison n someone says okay what about a fine but violent offences and sexual, people have difficulty doing that because its monetizing violence, youre putting a dollar sign on someones pain All penalties dont accomplish the various purposes of imprisonment equally fines dont have the denunciatory value that prison does, where you want to make a statement about the unacceptability of the behaviour fining someone just doesnt seem to cut it, which suggests our own calculations of sentence severity are complex Slide 4: Other problem that comes up is that there are unintended effects of incarceration individual deterrence it seems sentences increase the likelihood of future offending the other problem is the impacts on other people, whats interesting about the guideline movement, they address these things and make salient some of the problems So theres concerns what the impact of sentences of imprisonment on families and in some of the guideline systems say no you cant take into account this because then youre handing down different sentences based on who is dependant on them and thats unfair, - this is NOT what Canada does What we say, judge takes everything into account and it includes whether the person is working or taking care of children we avoid the issues by having a loose system of decision making But going to imprisonment does have an effect - found that the consequences of being in prison and being on parole = it reduce the likelihood of getting a job suggests that there are consequences and some of them are pretty severe Slide 5: The size of the gap reduces with time but the wage gap as time goes on youre getting to be closer to having the same likelihood of having a job compared to non-convict Bizarre consequence, convicted felons cannot vote may not be seen these days as not severe but its interesting in what it says about how society sees people who go to prison
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