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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

November 5, 2007: New Report: Economics of Imprisonment

The debate, whether for or against prison, has historically focused on the moral, political and social arguments for sentencing. With the current prison population at a record high, and with further demand for prison places projected, a timely new research report from the Matrix Knowledge Group on 'The Economic Case for and against Prison', provides new evidence on the most effective ways to spend public money.

The objective of the research is to provide an evidence base that estimates the value for money of different alternatives to prison. Value for money models are widely applied in other government sectors, e.g. healthcare, but little has been done in the criminal justice sector. Although a prison sentence can be applied for several reasons, the research focuses on its ability to reduce re-offending.

The analysis demonstrates that more effective community based alternatives to prison for reducing re-offending do exist. The research also shows that where prison is necessary (for example in the case of violent offenders), prison sentences accompanied by training and treatment interventions are more effective than prison alone in reducing re-offending.

Seven alternatives to prison are shown to offer better value for money for the taxpayer when reduced re-offending is the desired outcome. The value for money savings per offender can be significant, ranging from £425 to £88,469 when considering only the public sector costs, and between £16,260 and £202,775 when also including costs to the victims.

According to Jacque Mallender, CEO of Matrix Knowledge Group:

"Economic research of this nature delivers a more complete picture on value for money... “as an independent research company we’re very pleased to have been commissioned to undertake this work. Matrix Knowledge Group prides itself in delivering unbiased and evidence-led support to decision makers to assist them in implementing effective policy solutions. An economic approach is not about minimising cost, it is about getting the most value for each pound of taxpayer money spent.”

 The full report is available online.

Responding to the publication of The economic case for and against prison, Howard League for Penal Reform Director Frances Crook said:

"This new analysis by a group of leading economists makes it clear that prison is not working for you, the taxpayer and law abiding citizen. Community interventions have a far better rate of reducing reoffending and can save the taxpayer up to £200,000 per sentenced offender, when taking in the savings to the public sector from reducing future crime. Surely our politicians must now grasp the nettle, putting in resources and fighting to increase public confidence in 21st century solutions that cut crime and are cost effective, compared to the old fashioned and costly failures of prison."