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Through Adherence To The Rule Of Law, Does The Prison Service Ensure That Justice Is Administered Properly?

2431 words - 10 pages

Through adherence to the rule of law does the prison service ensure that justice is administered properly?
This essay will evaluate how far the prison service adheres to the rule of law. The prison service is part of the criminal justice system, an official network of agencies whose main purpose is to reinforce law and order within society. The prison service is responsible for those individuals caught up in the process of justice. Through adherence to the rule of law the prison service always has to ensure that justice is seen to be done and is properly administered. The system evolves from the principles of the rule of law. No person can be lawfully made to suffer unless it had been established they had breached the law in a court of the land and no man whatever their rank or condition is above law. The primary principle of the rule of law is that everyone is subject to the law including those who enforce law. (Davies and Croall et al., 2010, p. 18) Criminologists have been interested in the possibility of race, gender and unemployment discrimination in the service. Criminologists have argued that the prison system does not always treat every individual the same; ethnic minorities, lower class and females can be treated in an unjust way.

In the eighteenth century the modern prison was introduced, capital punishment and corporal punishment was no longer believed to be an effective form of punishment. By the nineteenth century the approach to rehabilitate prisoners emerged and became a key function of the prison system. In 1877 the Prison Act was introduced and the prison system we use today is more efficient in crime prevention and also a humane form of penal treatment. The prison service has a duty to look after those who have been committed by the courts. The ministry of justice (2014) key principles are to promote diversity, equality of opportunity and combat unlawful discrimination. The prison service aims to provide an establishment were prisoners are treated humanely, decently and lawfully. To secure these objectives the prison service works closely with other criminal justice agencies and ensures staff have support to achieve there aims effectively.

Black defendants are more likely to receive a custodial sentence than their white counterparts. Hoods (1992) “Race and sentencing” study found evidence of discrimination whilst studying the sentence outcomes of five crown courts. He found that black people were five times more likely than their white counterparts to receive a custody sentence. The study found that black defendants who pleaded guilty received three months longer than white defendants for similar offences. Asian defendants were also discriminated against in crown court. Asian defendant’s received an average of nine month longer sentence than white defendant’s and three months longer than black defendants. However in cosmopolitan areas discrimination whist sentencing was lower than in suburban areas.

In 2009 ethnic...

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