The increasing rates of imprisonment cause a number of problems in the prison system. These problems then have an effect on how effective imprisonment is. This then affects how appropriate a punishment imprisonment is. According to Elkins and Olagundoye (2000) the proportion of prisoners reconvicted within two years of release was 54 per cent for adult males and 51 per cent for adult females. According to Her Majesty's Prison Service Statement of Purpose, which states "Our duty is to help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release-. By looking at reconviction rates, the Prison Service is not fulfilling this purpose and therefore cannot be considered an appropriate punishment. Imprisonment is also very costly and could be considered pointless if roughly half of all adult offenders will reconvict within two years of release. According to Cavadino and Dignan (2002) during the financial year of 1997-1998 " the estimated monthly cost of keeping a person in prison was £2,070 approximately 11 times the cost of a one-month's probation service and 15 times as expensive as a month's community service supervision- (p176) This makes it the most expensive punishment available in England and Wales.
It is not just the reconviction rate and the sheer cost that makes imprisonment an inappropriate punishment but the problems associated with our prisons due to .
overcrowding make it ineffective as a punishment. Due to the ever-increasing rate of imprisonment and the continually overcrowded prisons a number of problems occur, for example, poor living conditions, oppressive regimes and so on.
In my opinion, imprisonment should only be considered as punishment for certain offences, for example violent offences. According to Elkins and Olagundoye (2000) "Of sentenced male prisoners, the largest proportion (22%) were held for violence against the person' offences- (p2). However, the second largest proportion was burglary at 18 per cent.