Punishment as a deprivation of liberty

Punishment as a deprivation. Sykes (1958/1974) identified the deprivation of liberty as one of the inherent pains of imprisonment, alongside the deprivation of goods and services, heterosexual relationships, autonomy security. Associated with these deprivations are restricting on seeing family, not being able to have normal employment and having to comply with the prison rules.

Life in Prison

Prisoners had mixed views on whether deprivation of liberty was punishment in itself: some prisoners explicitly ascribed to this view:

Therefore, For Eric, no matter how good the standard of life in prison, there is still punishment of being in prison. The inherent deprivation of liberty that this entails may be felt more severely by offenders who have a comparatively higher standard of life outside of prison. For instance, offenders who lose their job or house as a result of imprisonment may feel that they suffer greater punishment than offenders who already were unemployed or homeless.

Similarly, mothers and fathers in prison are likely to experience more subjective suffering than offenders without children, all else being equal. Thus, The idea of punishment as deprivation of liberty appears simple and objective in theory, but more complicated in practice.

Liberty Deprivation

James saw liberty deprivation as the official, proportionate punishment, but also feels punished by the negative ‘side-effects’ of his sentence. So, In his view, these side-effects are not justified in relation to the crime committed, and undermine the justice of his sentence. Additionally, Offenders serving community penalties held similar views. Ron for, instance, felt that supervision appointments interfered with his employment prospects.

Moreover, a community penalty may create the illusion that liberty, because offenders are not physically restrained in their behaviour. their behavioural options are only limited by anticipated punishments for non compliance.

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