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Tai Hobson

  • September 4th, 2008

I’ve just watched TV 3’s programme on Tai Hobson.

The fim-makers did an excellent job in portraying the dignity and determination of the man I got to know on the US trip to visit Sheriff Joe’s prisons and the California youth justice system.

The comment that the recidivism rate to tougher prisons seems not too different from ours missed the point. . Measuring a criminal justice system by its re-offending rate is like measuring a health system by its surgery rate. A better measure for health is life expectancy,.

For criminal justice the measure should be the crime rate, or the risk of victimisation, not the recidivism rate. It is generally accepted that prisons do not rehabilitate, and they may not deter criminals hardened into a pattern of crime. But  If a prison system discourages first offending so that the crime rate is low, it still works.

That seems to be the effect of the toughening up in the US. Their serious youth crime rate has plummeted. Sadly ours has soared over the same period.

The serious youth crime rate is a predictor of the future overall crime rate.


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