Fashion Reader: Crime & Punishment

The Fashion Reader is a series where I explore the books that have influenced, inspired and intrigued me. I share stories about writers who have provided that creative spark, those who have shaped my beliefs and those who have simply been a pleasure to read. With some, the link to fashion will be obvious, with others, the relevance to women in fashion might be more subtle. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading…

After writing a piece on fashion and prisons this week, I started to think about Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

The link between fashion and Dostoyevsky might not be inherent, but his book encourages its reader to think about the role of punishment and resettlement into society.

One of the most significant themes of the book is alienation and how man cannot survive isolated from society. The feeling of separation from mankind, nature, and morality take their toll on the protagonist Raskolnikov.

It is the separation from society which is presented as the true punishment and it is in prison where Raskolnikov actually manages to recover.

Crime and Punishment views the prison not just as a continuation of suffering, but rather as a sort of hospital for criminals, a place where criminals learn how to reintegrate to society.

Thoughts raised from this book have inspired LCF’s Made for Change initiative, which tries to help ensure that female offenders can gain life skills and confidence whilst in prison, so that when they leave, they have a better chance of integrating into society again.

Like Dostoyevsky we realise that by preventing alienation from society we may also be able to help prevent reoffending.

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