The UK Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is looking for ways to make prison work. He’s talked about getting prisoners to work while doing their time, which sounds like a decent idea but is actually hugely expensive (security costs are so high that no prison-based enterprises are profitable). He’s talked about improving rehabilitation of prisoners through payment by results – let’s see what happens with that. But has Ken thought about pink jumpsuits? These beauties (see left) are intended to shame and humiliate prisoners – and they’ve been used by wacky hard-line sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona – who you can find out more about here. Arpaio is certainly a character – will any of our new directly elected police and crime commissioners be as colourful I wonder – but what do you think of this particularly idea?
Will it reduce crime if we shame prisoners? Is it just a good idea to make prison a more difficult experience to increase its deterrent effect? Or will treating people harshly simply teach inmates it’s ok to degrade and humiliate others?
Have vote and I’ll follow up this story with some evidence that might (or might not) change your mind. Feel free to comment if you want to add views of your own.