Fines From Custodial And Community Sentences Criminology Essay

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Fines are from custodial and community sentences, they may be imposed on companies and other organisations. The number of offenders which had been fined for all offences in 2008 was the figure of 890,000, which is a fall of five percent on 2007. Since 2007, there has been an increase of the number of fines given for indictable offences, it had risen by 0.7 per cent to 48,100 and the fine rate also had risen from 20 to 21 per cent.

The equivalent figures 10 years ago: We can see from the figures above that the fines has risen since 2007 in 2008, but the percentage is still lower since 1998 at 35 percent in comparison to recent figures above at 20 to 21 percent [1] .

Community Sentences: Community sentences were accounted for 102,800 indictable offences. In 2008 the percentage that a sentenced person is given a community sentence for indictable offences was 33 per cent which is 1 percent down from 2007 which was 34 percent. 54 percent of community sentences were given for indictable offences, 21 percent of which was for handling stolen goods and theft. This percent has remained the same since 2007. [2] 

The equivalent figures 10 years ago: For community sentences show that The overall number of community sentences at all courts was 190,200 in 2008, which is 3 per cent lower than in 2007, the equivalent figures 10 years ago show that it is 27 per cent higher than 1998. Community sentence rate for robberies largely increased over the last decade, rising from 24 per cent in 1998.

Custodial Sentences: Indictable offences accounted for 76 per cent which is 107,500 of custodial sentences in 2008. These figures were made up of 28,500 suspended sentences (69 per cent of 41,200 suspended sentences given) and 79,100 that were sentences of immediate custody (79 per cent of 99,500 such sentences) [3] 

The equivalent figures 10 years ago: In 2008, 7% of individuals were sentenced to a custodial sentence. This is a rise of 0.6 percent compared to 2007 figures and 0.4 percent compared to 1998 figures. The percentage of both sexes sentenced to immediate custody also increased by 0.9 and 0.3 percentage points respectively from 2007. The most noticeable rise was for indictable offences where there was a rise of one percentage points to 25 per cent. At the Crown Court, where indictable offences are sentenced, there were 49,200 sentences of immediate custody which is up 5,100 or 12 per cent and 17,400 suspended sentences which means 75 per cent of persons had been sentenced to custody. This figure is up from 73 per cent in 2007 and shows it as being the highest this decade. We also note from figures that custodial sentences in the Crown Courts were at around 60% but figures started to increase between 2005 to present. [4] 

How much has the prison population increased over the past 10 years?

(Source: Ministry of justice, offender management caseload statistics pg 7)

Looking at the graph above it shows the prison population from 1998 to 2008. This graph shows us how much the prison population had increased over the past 10 years. Also due to many policy changes and events which occurred within the ten years between 1998 and 2008 may have affected the size of the prison population during that period. It is clear to see in the graph that the prison population has increased a lot over the past 10 years. The sentenced prison population had increased by 31 per cent between June 1998 and June 2008. This rise is largely due to courts sentencing more offenders to prison up to 2002 and because offenders have been staying in prison for longer. The prison population at end of June 2008 had risen to 83,200 which is a huge increase since 1998.

2) What percentages of each of the following groups does the prison population consist of:

Sentenced prisoners: Sentenced prison population had increased by 31 per cent between June 1998 and June 2008. This rise is largely due to courts sentencing more offenders to prison up to 2002 and because offenders have been staying in prison for longer. The total population In April 2008 of sentenced prisoners was 1,362,000. [5] 

Prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months: The number of adult offenders in prison serving sentences of less than 12 months was at 1,613 in 2008. This is a noticeable increase from 1,456 figures reported prisoners in 2002. Between 2007 and 2008 there was a 15 per cent increase in the number of prisoners serving a sentence of less than 12 months. Whilst the number of adults serving a sentence of less than 12 months increased by 19 per cent, the number of 15 to 17 year olds rose 5 per cent and there was a less than one per cent increase in the number of young adults serving a sentence of less than 12 months. [6] 

Prisoners serving indeterminate sentences: Prisoners serving indeterminate sentences in 2008 was at a figure of 10552.

Men: The average prison population for men in 2008 is at around 95%. This is a huge percentage of the prison population compared to the women prison population. The population of men had a constant increase over the years reaching almost 80,000 by 2008.

Women: The average annual prison population for women in 2008 was 4,414. The percentage of women amongst the annual average prison population has fallen from 6.0 per cent in 2004 to 5.3 per cent in 2008. [7] 

Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups: For BME groups they had accounted for 27 per cent (22,406) of the prison population in June 2008 which is similar to the previous two years when 26 per cent of the prisoners had been identified as being from BME groups. The male prison population which consisted of 15 Per cent Black, 7 Per cent Asian, 3 Per cent Mixed and 2 Per cent Chinese or Other and 29 per cent of the female prison population consisted of 19 Per cent Black, 3 Per cent Asian, 4 Per cent Mixed, and 3 Per cent Chinese or Other were from BME groups. [8] 

Juveniles (aged 15-17): by the end of June 2008, Juveniles aged that are aged between 15-17 amounted to 883, so of the whole prison population equals to 6 Per Cent. The number of juveniles sentenced fell by nine per cent between 2007 and 2008 (9,000 fewer juveniles sentenced).

Young prisoners (aged 17-20): The percentage of young prisoners that are aged 17-20 amount to 10 per cent of the prison population which is the figure of 137,575.

3) Compare the use of custodial and community sentences for men and women for different offences.

(Source: The Ministry of Justice, Statistics on Women and the Criminal Justice Pg 8)

The table above shows percentages of both men and women in the criminal justice system. It shows that 16 percent of women are given community sentences compared to 84 percent of men. It also shows that 8 Percent of women are given immediate custodial sentences and 92 percent are given to men.

The main target of a community sentence is to merge punishment with changing offender's behaviour. In 2008, 189,101 men and women had been given a community sentence. All those who had been given a community sentence, women had accounted for 16 per cent which is a figure of 30,809 in 2008. All women sentenced in 2008, 11 per cent received community sentences. This amount is smaller than for men where 15 per cent of men that had been sentenced were given a community sentence. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of community sentences that had been given to women increased slightly, up less than one per cent, while for men they decreased five per cent. More than half of the community sentences that had been issued to women for an indictable offence were for theft and handling (8,724) in 2008. Offences such as violence towards the person, fraud and forgery had accounted for 13 and 12 per cent of indictable offences for which women had received a community sentence. For men however the distribution of community sentences which had been given out for indictable offences was different from what women were given. They had been given for a wider range of indictable offences. Stolen goods, theft and handling For men was the largest indictable offence category whereby men had received community sentences (37 per cent),the amount than for women however was smaller (51 per cent). Men, like women, had received community sentences for violence against the person as the second largest indictable category (16 per cent; 13,271 offences). The third largest category for men was drugs offences (13 per cent; 10,993). [9] 

Between the period of 2004 and 2008 there had been an 11 per cent increase in the prison population. In the same period there's been a decrease of just under one per cent in the number of women who are in prisons. The percentage of women in the prison population has decreased from 6.0 per cent in 2004 to 5.3 per cent in 2008. It also shows 28 per cent of women prisoners had served a custodial sentence for a drug offence in 2008, but there has been a five per cent descend from 2007 in the number of women who have served a prison sentence for this particular offence. A additional 22 per cent were serving for violence against the person in 2008. Offences amongst men and women are differently distributed. In comparison to women, a higher proportion of men served a prison sentence of 28 percent for a violence offence, with a lower proportion of 15 per cent for serving a sentence for drug offences.

It is clear to see that the comparison of the use of community and custodial sentences for men and women for different offences are very different. Women had received a higher Percentage of community sentences in comparison to men who received a higher percentage of custodial sentences.

4) What percentage of people given determinate prison sentences are recommended for parole? What percentage of those granted paroles are recalled to prison? What were the equivalent figures ten years ago?

Around 2,900 determinate sentence prisoners had been considered for parole in 2008-09, which is a decrease of 52 per cent compared to 2007-08. In 2008-09, 450 parolees were recalled, a decrease of 51% from 2007-08. In the same period, there was a total of 11,840 determinate sentence offenders that been recalled to custody, which is a 1% increase of 2007-08. In 1998-99 there was 11% (233) recalled to prison that had been granted a parole, this is an 8% increase from 1998 to 2008. Also in 1998-99 39 Per cent of determinate prisoners had been recommended for parole contrast to only 24 Per Cent in the years 2008-09 [10] 

5) Focus on one of your findings of your research for questions 1 to 4 that you found particularly counter-intuitive. Citing recent examples, reflect on the accuracy of political and media representations of the matter. Citing academic literature, explore sociological explanations for the matter.

Having looked at the research for the questions, one of the topics which were focussed on from the findings of the research is, women having a smaller percentage of prison population than men.

From the findings it was found that men account for 95 per cent of the prison population whereas women account for 5 per cent. This may be due to the fact that women receive a higher percentage of community sentences in comparison to men who received a higher percentage of custodial sentences.

The question is why do men receive more custodial sentences than women and why women get more community sentences than men? Could this be due to the likelihood of men re-offending again than women, or are women let off lightly?

It's fairly well-known that young men commit the majority of crimes in society. We know this because of what we hear through the media. We often hear more about men committing crime and very rarely hear women committing crime. However this reflects on the actual statistics as there are more men who commit more crime therefore naturally would be expected to see men represented as criminals in media. Statistics of men having committing more crime has led many to look for an explanation for such disparity between the sexes. It has become generally accepted that women commit a small share of all crimes, which are less serious and less professional in nature, resulting in their smaller representation within the criminal justice system. There are many media representations on this matter whereby it glamorises men being in prison, movies such as 'Shawshank Redemption'. Gangster music and music videos which shows men in prison, is often interpreted as being in prison is 'cool'. However this is reflecting on the accuracy of the matter as the reason why it shows more men in the media is because there are more men who are actually in prison.

A high profile murder case in August 2002 of two ten-year-old girls in Soham, England were murdered, They were murdered by Ian Huntley who was sentenced to serve at least 40 years in prison, and Maxine Carr who was also involved with the murders and was sentenced to 4 years for perverting the course of justice, who was released early. Is this because the criminal justice system let women off lightly, in this case showing that the male committed the actual serious offence where the female committed a minor one compared to him.

There are some sociological explanations as to why there may be a disproportionate number of males in prison and why there are less women in prison. Males are said to be more naturally inclined to be criminals rather than women. One reason of this matter was by Sigmund Freud who offered an explanation of female crime which stated women are universally not able to fully resolve the Oedipus complex. They have a great deal of need for the approval of men, so as a rule they do not risk upsetting them by committing crimes. He analysed boys and girls and concluded that due to genetic differences, women are more passive than men. Otto Pollack (1950) was apprehensive with the hidden nature of female criminality. He suggested that the prosecution of women should be lenient in comparison to men. This 'chivalry' hypothesis claims that police and courts are self deceiving and deceived about the essentially passive nature of women. [11]