Just wondering. Well-intentioned reformers frequently claim that "prison does not work" and point out that many of those who are sent to prison subsequently re-offend.
This ignores that fact that it tends to be the more incorrigible repeat offenders who are more likely to be sent to prison instead of being given non-cusodial sentences.
And I would love to know what proportion of those who are convicted of any given offence and who are not jailed subsequently re-offend, compared with those who are sent to prison.
And the reformers claim ignores the fact that while a criminal is in prison, he is very unlikey to offend. I have heard an assertion that the cost-per-month of keeping someone in gaol is less than the total cost-per-month to society of allowing them to continue to re-offend. I have no idea of whether this is true (anyone got a link?) but given the total 'cost' in terms of nuisance, distress, inconvenience etc. arising from the theft of even a low-value item, I might be prepared tobelieve it.
(I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those terribly dreary people who would rather acquire some honest and impartial facts than argue passionately from a committed but ill-informed standpoint.)