Thomas Mathiesen
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Ten reasons for not building more prisons
in Incarceration and human rights
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This chapter deals with the future of prisons, and proposes a total ban on prison construction. In the field of prisons and criminal policy, the development of the prison movement throughout Europe is a case in point. It is important to point out that in terms of organisational context, the position of prisons in the Western world has changed considerably since the 1960s and 1970s. The chapter presents ten arguments against building more prisons. These arguments are rehabilitative ineffectiveness, preventive ineffectiveness, incapacitative ineffectiveness, question of justice, irreversibility, insatiability, inhumanity, breaking with values, does not help the victim and overpopulation may be solved in other ways. Around these arguments, a movement can be created drawing on the potential inherent in today's anti-globalisation and peace movements. General prevention, deterrence of others in the community, is the major argument of at least Norwegian courts when sentences are passed.

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Incarceration and human rights

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2007


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