Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saving Money

Expensive business, throwing someone in prison. There is the £40 odd grand a year direct cost. Then you should add on the loss of the prisoner’s economic activity, paying no tax, etc. Include the social costs to his family, which may now be on benefits because the main earner is 'away’.

Add in the intangibles that no accountant, let alone a government one, cares about. There is the lifetime loss that accrues from being condemned to crap jobs for being an ex-con. That's a lot less tax not being paid. Then there is the likelihood of the family breaking up and the kids being far more likely to either be taken into care or offending themselves.

All of this costs. Not just emotionally and socially but in cold hard cash. Sending someone to prison, then, should be a significant decision. As there are tens of thousands of men, and most women, in prison for non-violent crimes then it should be seriously asked if there is not a better way to allocate a due measure of punishment.

Imprisonment as punishment has only been popular for under 200 years. It can't be beyond the wit of Man to find another option or two. Or do we really have so much money to waste that we can't be bothered trying?

1 comment:

  1. Here's an interesting little link on the subject: