What is the purpose of prison?‏ : letter to Express 12/08/13

The case of Mafia boss Domenico Rancadore raises a paradox.
We are told that prison is about reforming criminals and returning them to Society, as useful citizens.
This man has been working quietly, in this country, since 1993; apparently a polite and peaceful citizen.
At least I have not read of anything to the contrary.
How then will prison reform him?
For most of us, I believe, imprisonment is seen as a punishment, a warning to others (not necessarily a deterrent) and a means of protecting the law-abiding.
If it does prove to be reforming, then this is a bonus, rather than the raison d’être
In this respect, his arrest is understandable.
However; if it is the intention of our leaders to persist in the assertion that prison is only about reform, then he should be speedily released and congratulated on having seen the error of his ways, 20 years ago and acted accordingly.
I suspect he will be given a substantial sentence.

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