Essay Questions

Prepare for exams and future essays with the questions below that align with key concepts discussed in the chapter. Try timing yourself as you write to practise in a mock exam environment. Create mindmaps of key themes, quotes and arguments you could include in an answer to use as a revision tool.

  1. What is the most worrying problem facing the prison systems today, and do you think that it can ever be solved?
  2. Explain the fluctuations in the prison populations over recent years. In your answer outline and consider the main factors influencing some of these changes
  3. Prison regimes are ‘excessively punitive’ for minority groups such as older people, women and black and minority ethnic populations, as they fail to take proper account of their particular circumstances and needs. Critically discuss this statement making reference to at least one minority or vulnerable group
  4. ‘Instead of prisoners being corrected, educated, and rehabilitated, I see prisoners plunged into a criminal “netherworld” revolving around violence, intravenous drug use and racism’(Attwood,2006). Evaluate this statement in relation to the current nature of imprisonment
  5. If the ‘tasks involved in punishment … have become hidden’ (Garland, 1990: 186), explain how we know whether people are punished, rehabilitated and treated fairly in prison. Does, and should, this matter for the rest of the law-abiding population?