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Intelligent Justice: Balancing the Effects of Community Sentences and Custody

“This paper revisits the much argued question about the relative merits of prison and community sentences. We decided to write it out of a sense that debate has become trapped in an unproductive Punch and Judy fight about which of the two sentences ‘works’ better. To anticipate our conclusions, assessed in narrow instrumental terms the arguments are more finely balanced than either side usually recognise. However, pro- and anti-prison camps are really arguing - in an oblique sort of way - about broader values, and if this paper helps to promote a more mature debate about penal policy that recognises this, we shall have succeeded in our task” (p. 5). Sections of this publication include: introduction; who is right-general deterrence, the impact of the punishment in the punished and differences in revocation rates, incarceration and keeping people who offend out of circulation, and cost-benefit analysis; and the purpose of community or custodial sentences.