ABSTRACT

At first glance, the rehabilitation of those in custody might appear to be a desirable but unachievable goal. Reoffending rates for those released from prison remain stubbornly high, with evidence suggesting that a custodial sentence might, in and of itself, have a criminogenic effect, and for those who succeed in desisting from crime, it is not clear how and to what extent this is a product of their experiences in prison. Yet the concept of ‘rehabilitative culture’ has rapidly gained currency across Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) in very recent years. This chapter will discuss some of the efforts being made in individual prisons to rehabilitate people, and will reflect on whether the goal of rehabilitation is even morally acceptable or whether it is simply another form of ‘coerced correction’. In short, the chapter asks: is the ‘rehabilitation prison’ an oxymoron, or is it an opportunity to radically reform the way we do punishment?