3 Reasons Why Prisons Are A Mess

We need a better, more effective punishment system to deter criminals from committing crime.

By Pirajeeth, London · March 20, 2019


Pic: Pexels Creative Commons / Donald Tong

I believe that many criminals don’t receive the punishments that are required for their heinous crimes. For me, criminals can too easily escape from justice.

1. The imprisonment rate is too high

The number of prisoners has increased in England and Wales. There were 45,000 prisoners in 1991, and by 2015, it had risen to 85,000. The imprisonment rate in England and Wales are extremely high. In 2016, David Cameron said: “Reoffending rates of levels of prison violence and self-harm should put us all in shame”.

It is a shame how the UK has a high imprisonment rate and an ineffective punishment system. Liz Truss, the current Justice Secretary, said prisons are “not working”, despite England and Wales having a rate of 146 prisoners per 100,000 people, meaning that England and Wales have the highest incarceration rate in Europe.


2. Prisoners have easy access to illegal accessories

15,000 phones and SIM cards were confiscated last year in prisons. The number of confiscations has increased from 9,600 in 2014 to 15,000 in 2017. Criminals have access to these accessories even though they are meant to be severely punished rather than rewarded. Prisoners can have a console and TV.

In my opinion, it’s no wonder that prisons are insufficient and ineffective. A change must be made to the prison system to lower the crime rate. I am not sure what the solution is, but I am in favour of harsher sentences and making prisons less comfortable places to spend time.



3. The decrease in prison officers means that prisons are harder to control

The number of prison officers in England and Wales decreased from 45,000 in 2010 to under 31,000 in September in 2016. Criminals are now able to do more things they want as there are fewer people in control of them, yet even more prisoners than ever. Prisoners are no longer safe as riots are occurring more frequently between prisoners, for example, the one at HMP Birmingham in 2016. Existing prison officers are unhappy with “chronic staff shortages”, which is bad because prisons require more prison officers if we want to see a change in the prison system.