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1 Social Work, Payback and Punishment Fergus McNeill Professor of Criminology & Social Work Universities of Glasgow

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Presentation on theme: "1 Social Work, Payback and Punishment Fergus McNeill Professor of Criminology & Social Work Universities of Glasgow"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Social Work, Payback and Punishment Fergus McNeill Professor of Criminology & Social Work Universities of Glasgow

2 Scotlands Choice (2008) The evidence that we have reviewed leads us to the conclusion that to use imprisonment wisely is to target it where it can be most effective - in punishing serious crime and protecting the public. 1.To better target imprisonment and make it more effective, the Commission recommends that imprisonment should be reserved for people whose offences are so serious that no other form of punishment will do and for those who pose a significant threat of serious harm to the public. 2.To move beyond our reliance on imprisonment as a means of punishing offenders, the Commission recommends that paying back in the community should become the default position in dealing with less serious offenders [emphasis added].

3 McLeish and CJSW Community payback and the CSS Enhanced court SW units –Diversion –Bail –Stage 2 sentencing vs. social enquiry –Stage 3 sentencing -- progress courts NCJC and NSC –Leadership and dynamism Resettlement and recall –The right to reintegration

4 Payback in McLeish (2008) In essence, payback means finding constructive ways to compensate or repair harms caused by crime. It involves making good to the victim and/or the community. This might be through financial payment, unpaid work, engaging in rehabilitative work or some combination of these and other approaches. Ultimately, one of the best ways for offenders to pay back is by turning their lives around (Scottish Prisons Commission, 2008: 3.28, emphasis added).

5 PRISON Punishing Serious Crime Protecting the Public THE COMMUNITY SUPERVISION SENTENCE Paying Back in and to the Community OTHER PENALTIES Paying Back without Supervision Paying Back through Restriction of Liberty Paying Back through Unpaid Work Paying Back by Working at Change Paying Back Financially Paying Back through Restorative Justice Conviction Admonition Fines, etc.

6 STAGE 1: How much payback? STAGE 2: What kind of payback? STAGE 3: Checking progress and payback The judge makes a judgement about the level of penalty required by the offence – with information from the PF & defence agent The judge makes a judgement about the best form of pay back – with input from the court social worker and the offender The compliance court holds the offender to account for paying back – recognising progress and dealing with lapses and setbacks

7 Paying Back by Working at Change Drugs Use Alcohol Use Housing Work and Leisure Education and Training Family Issues Personal Problems Mental and Physical Health Money Problems Other Problems Attitudes, Values, Thinking Peer Pressure

8 Payback in Casey (2008) Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime –A solution to perceived problems of public confidence in criminal justice and community penalties… –Community service re-branded (again) as community payback –CP to be more visible and more demanding; not something the general public would chose to do themselves (i.e. painful or punishing) –Offenders doing payback should wear bibs identifying them as such (i.e. shaming)

9 Caseys Payback vs. McLeishs Payback? Casey is absolutely right to utilise emotive appeals to the public in order to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. Justice is, at its heart, an emotional, symbolic process, not simply a matter of effectiveness and efficiency. However, if Caseys purpose was to increase confidence in community interventions, then she drew on the exact wrong emotions. Desires for revenge and retribution, anger, bitterness and moral indignation are powerful emotive forces, but they do not raise confidence in probation work -- just the opposite. To do that, one would want to tap in to other, equally cherished, emotive values, such as the widely shared belief in redemption, the need for second chances, and beliefs that all people can change (Maruna and King (2008) Selling the Public on Probation: Beyond the bib. Probation Journal 55(4): ).

10 Social work, payback and punishment Punishment or alternatives to punishment? Constructive punishment versus merely punitive punishment (Duff, 2003) Justice (criminal and social) versus effective crime control Rehabilitation and punishment in conditions of insecurity Trust, confidence and leniency Expressive punishment CJSWs proper signals?

11 Safer, Stronger [and Fairer] Retribution (but not merely punitive punishment) ReparationRehabilitation CJSW

12 Safer, Stronger [and Fairer] Communities Victims Offenders Courts CJSW

13 Conclusions and questions Insecurity, safety and protection –Community justice and safety or public protection? –The paradox of protection and the risks of risk –Prioritising imagined victims and offenders over real victims and offenders Rehabilitation as reparation and restoration –The moral and practical necessity of the other re-: redistribution (and the link to social justice) Rethinking CJSWs moral priorities and practical focus –Taking communities, offenders and victims rights and responsibilities (to retribution, reparation and rehabilitation) seriously But to what extent is maintaining the balance the job of CJSW and/or the job of the whole CJS and/or the job of the whole of society?

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