Community Service: unpaid work that an offender performs for the benefit of the local community rather than going to prison
Electronic Tagging: an offender has to wear an electronic device which tracks their movement to ensure restrictions of movement are observed
Fine: money paid as punishment for a crime or other offence
Probation: an alternative top prison where an offender has to meet regularly with a probation officer to ensure they do not reoffend. Movement may be restricted.
There is an obvious debate about the death penalty, and prison is good for PROTECTING society from dangerous criminals like murderers and rapists, however, where REFORM is the most important aspect of punishment, as it is in most world religions, we might need to look at other forms of punishment that might help the criminal to change their ways!
There are those who see these punishments as ‘soft-options’ because they focus on the DETERRENT and VINDICATIVE aspects of punishment. Those in favour of them are focusing on the potential to reform criminals.
Community Service Orders (CSOs)
In cases where criminal are not a danger to society, and especially where crimes have been crimes against property, such as vandalism and graffiti or crimes against a person such as anti-social behaviour a community service order (CSO) might be given.
Offenders are required to do between 40-240 hours or supervised work in the community. This might be cleaning up graffiti or repairing damage done. It could be working in libraries or shops. Either way it is designed to teach a skill and allow the offender to see the value in being part of and giving back to a community.
If the crimes were drug related then it is possible that offenders may also be put onto a compulsory treatment programme or expected to attend counselling sessions. A curfew may also be given so that they are not allowed out after a certain time or allowed to meet with certain people. This might help break unhelpful friendships and reduce peer pressure to commit crime.
For whatever reason there are far less instances of re-offence than with criminals released from prison.
Often criminals who have committed offences that could result in prison are given a SUSPENDED SENTENCE instead. This means that if they commit any further offences during a set time they will go to prison, but otherwise they are release on PROBATION. This means that an offender will return home (possibly with a curfew to make sure they are at home at certain times and / or an order to stop them meeting with certain people) and have to meet with a probation officer to make sure they are staying out of trouble. Probation officers can offer counselling, advice or help in staying out of trouble in an attempt to REFORM the criminal.
In some cases criminals on PROBATION can be ELECTRONICALLY TAGGED as well.
Often prisoners who are releases early on parole will be given an electronic tag. This takes the form of a device strapped on around the ankle that is connected to a monitoring unit in the home. This can tell a central control centre where an offender is; e.g. if they are at home or out. More sophisticated ones can use GPS to trigger if an offender is near a restricted area. This might include parks and schools for criminals found guilty of child abuse or paedophilia.
So far, electronic tagging has been shown to have a 2% re-offence rate, making it far more effective in REFORMING criminals than prison.
A fine is asking a person, company or institution to pay money in REPARATION for the offence they have committed. For example, if I vandalise a bus shelter I may be asked to pay a fine to cover the cost of repair. If I speed I will receive a fine at a DETERRENT from doing it again. In a magistrates courts the maximum fine that can be levied is £5,000 but a Crown Court can levy unlimited fines, for example the Royal bank of Scotland was fined £500 million for fixing some financial deals in 2013.
Parole is different to PROBATION. A prisoner on PAROLE is released without having served their full sentence. For example, I might serve 10 years of a fourteen year sentence and be release on PAROLE for the last four years. Offences that carry custodial sentences over 15 years the Home Secretary must approve the parole; otherwise it is simply done by the Parole Board.
A prisoner on PAROLE must report to a PAROLE Officer and stay out of trouble. If they break any of the terms of their PAROLE they are returned to prison. Often PAROLE is granted to criminals who have shown remorse and REPENTANCE for what they have done and have a clear plan for what they will do to fit back into society after their release. In this way it encouraged REFORM.
Early release is when a prisoner is let out without having served their full sentence. In effect they are ‘free’ again and are not on PAROLE. Often this is the result of a political decision, such as crime being downgraded or to relieve pressure on overcrowded prisons. It can be as the result of good behaviour while in prison. Again, the idea here is to REFORM the criminal and give them another chance.