The aim of imprisonment is to prevent crime and enhance community safety by removing offenders from the public sphere and deterring potential offenders, as well as meeting society’s need for reparation and retribution for crimes committed. However, while a period of imprisonment may deter some people from re-offending, it can also foster in others further criminal behaviour. Since 1989, the imprisonment rate has increased by around two-thirds; currently almost 40 per cent of Australian prisoners released after serving their sentence return to jail within two years.
This book examines crime and incarceration in Australia – does it work as deterrent or rehabilitation – or is it simply ineffective retribution? A range of opinions are presented, which canvas a number of justice issues including harsher sentencing and longer jail terms, overcrowding in prisons, tough-on-crime policies, public perceptions of crime and safety, indigenous over-representation, intervention programs and prison reforms. Does being tough on crime pay?