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Incentives and Earned Privileges Policy’s Aims Essay (Article)

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2022

Introduction

Alison Liebling casts light upon the life of prisoners in England and Wales in the article under the title “Incentives and Earned Privileges Revisited: Fairness, Discretion, and the Quality of Prison Life”. The author points out that the prison officer’s abuse their authority towards to the prisoners and as the result their behavior causes negative and even aggressive reaction of the prisoners. The incentives and earned privileges (IEP) is an important component of the keeping order in the prison. These privileges are given to the prisoners for the good behavior. Factually, the main question is what the notions of “privilege” and “good behavior” denote.

The basic aims of IEP policy

Not every prisoner may enjoy the privileges only those who earn it with a good behavior that is the main point of IEP policy. Such privileges are not permanent. They may be lost because of some violations. Everything seems to be simple and factually this structure should work to keep the order in prisons nevertheless there are some problems. These privileges do not stop the prisoners from the violations of the order. Such actions are caused by the treatment of the prison staff. According to the statement of Conservative Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, during the preparations for anti-custody Criminal Justice Act 1991, “prisons were an expensive way of making bad people worse” (Liebling, 27).

Prisoners became more aggressive before their discharge which is more dangerous for the society. Prison officers understand that the only way out is to treat prisoners more carefully. According to Woolf’s analysis of the importance of justice in prisons, the main problems of prisons in Britain are the unsanitary conditions, the unconstructive regime, the lack of respect in treatment according to prisoners, the destructive effect of the prisoners’ family ties and any redress for grievances. A liberal humanitarian regime proposed by Woolf as the way out failed as far as assaults and drug use were high in this regime.

The main problems of IEP policy

The probable escape provided in 1994 and 1995 linked collective disorder to a sense of fairness. From around 1993-94, there was a harshening emotional tone of penal policy. The principles of IEP was proposed by the Prisons Board during the development of principles of White Paper “Custody Care and Justice”. As the result the moral status of the imprisoned is lowered and the rules of prison regime become stricter. The policy aims at the controlling not only the prisoners’ behavior but also the staff’s attitude to the prisoners. There are three levels of privilege entitlement namely basic, standard and enhanced which may encourage a good behavior and may be effectively used by prison staff.

Staff-prisoners relationships as the core of IEP policy

The problem is that although the prisoners are aware of this system of privileges they think it was operating unfairly. Many prisoners feel themselves powerless and they become angry and organize collective groups against the policy. The main problem of prison regime is staff-prisoners relationship. The main aim is to present the same vision of these relationships to the staff as well as to the prisoners. As for the staff, they have different responses to the police of IEP. They believe it has positive effects or they think that sanctions are more effective than rewards. Nevertheless, IEP policy helps the staff to motivate some prisoners on the one hand and it is liked by the staff because they have a control and power over the prisoners. The problem is they often abuse this power which causes disorder in prison regime.

References List

Liebling, A. (n.d.). Incentives and Earned Privileges Revisited: Fairness, Discretion, and the Quality of Prison Life. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, p. 25-41.

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IvyPanda. "Incentives and Earned Privileges Policy’s Aims." January 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incentives-and-earned-privileges-policys-aims/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Incentives and Earned Privileges Policy’s Aims." January 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/incentives-and-earned-privileges-policys-aims/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Incentives and Earned Privileges Policy’s Aims'. 23 January.

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