Sentencing & penal policy: ending prison as the default

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For decades we have imagined that if only community alternatives to imprisonment could be sold as more credible then the use of imprisonment will fall. It is a seductive logic. Yet instead what we have seen is increases in both community ‘alternatives’ and imprisonment, while the use of the fine has plummeted. Although it sounds progressive, the prevailing approach that ‘custody is a last resort’ ends up meaning in practice that imprisonment becomes the default. This article proposes a way out of this problem.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationProbation Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • sentencing
  • sentencing reform
  • penal policy
  • imprisonment
  • community sanctions


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