Latest Issue

Crime and punishment

By Tom Chatfield  

Britain’s prison population now stands at 82,000. We’re locking up more people than ever, and the number seems set to rise no matter who takes power at the next election. But is this increase a cause of falling crime rates, or an unhelpful response to the public’s fear of crime and desire to punish?

In his essay for Prospect this month, philosopher Jonathan Wolff addresses the motivations behind the statistics, and asks what the role of prison within a justice system can and should be. To understand what is going on, he suggests, we need to understand sentencing policy in…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect