Letter: Prisons are not the only alternative

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The Independent Online
Sir: Why should the Home Office stop at just comparing the performance of individual prisons in terms of their effectiveness in the rehabilitation of offenders ('Clark considers plan for prison league tables', 27 March)?

Since the non-custodial penalties available to the courts operate at a fraction of the cost of imprisonment, any such league table should at least incorporate an analysis of the effectiveness of all these alternatives to prison.

With the Government seeking to achieve substantial savings in public expenditure, it would seem particularly appropriate for it to consider not just the rehabilitation rates of different prison regimes but rather the overall cost-effectiveness of the whole of the sentencing system.

Yours faithfully,

NIGEL WILKINS

London, SW7

29 March

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