Heard it all before ?
The Government is getting tough on crime, especially since the riots … but will it last ?
As has been well publicized some pretty heavy sentences have been handed out as a result of the riots, but call us cynical, but many offenders will probably be quietly released long before the end of their sentence. We simply do not have the space in prisons and nor can we afford as a society to pay for more and more people to be in prison.
But is the government really serious about addressing crime and alternatives to prison ? If the latest news is anything to go by, we think not.
It has been announced that unemployed offenders will have to work a full week of unpaid work, possibly including hard labour, as part of new “tougher” community penalties or they won’t receive their benefits.
One whole week ! This is hardly going to stop a repeat offender from committing a crime, really it seems to us as laughable.
Perhaps more relevant and of greater impact on offenders, although it remains to be seen how civil law will interpret any possession claims bearing in mind the Human Rights Act is the action taken by at least one local authority, Southwark, in the wake of the riots. It has served notice on some tenants charged over recent rioting warning they could be evicted from their homes if convicted. We suspect this will probably not lead to evictions but is at least a more realistic way of penalising these people in a way which means something to them.
Civil claims relating to prison
With the number of people in prison at a historical high, those of us who do not thankfully have experience of prison and prison life can easily forget that incidents, accidents, court claims and civil law claims do occur in prisons and that notwithstanding their wrongdoing, prisoners do still retain legal rights.
The Freedom Of Information Act regularly throws up some very interesting data and some newly released information in response to a request shows that civil claims relating to prison are common. In particular :-
- The figure for overall civil claims payouts relating to prison was some £60 million over the last 4 years
- Last year, approximately 700 prison staff received compensation totalling nearly £7 million for injuries and other civil claims. This was a reduction on previous years
- 16,000 prisoners have made successful claims in the last 4 years
- The overall payouts equate to around £40,000.00 per day
Do you think that prisoners should be able to make such claims ? If not, why not ?
Get tough on community service
We all saw evidence last night that, in terms of deterrence and young people, the criminal justice system is simply not working.
The astonishing scenes in London last night and elsewhere clearly show that our young people have no respect or fear of authority whatsoever. Schools have virtually no power to discipline young people and our society is in a mess.
Against this context, some somewhat ironic but perhaps prescient news yesterday. The Minister for Prisons and Probation Crispin Blunt said yesterday that :-
- Community based sentencing is being beefed up so that offenders will have to spend up to 16 hours each day at home, from the current maximum 12 hours curfew per day.
- Some 24,000 people are being electronically monitored.
This all seems rather academic bearing in mind what occurred last night.
This post sponsored by accident claims, thanks guys.
ASBOS – they don’t seem to work
It certainly doesn’t come as any surprise to me to hear that ASBO’s don’t seem to be working.
Office for National Statistics figures released this week reveal that nearly 75% of 10-14 year olds breach their Anti-social behaviour orders and many treat them as little more than a joke.
The idea of ASBO’s is understandable. It is not possible to throw a huge number of teenagers in borstal, whether for costs or other consequences. On the other hand, any penalty for serious behaviour affecting many others in a community needs to have teeth.
Is this not ultimately an issue of a a lack of respect for society and for authority … what’s wrong with bringing back some kind of national service or boot camp for these individuals ?
Sometimes there’s little point in adding to or commenting on a great piece of research or an article. this is one such occasion. there is an excellent piece in today’s Daily Telegraph with some excellent and succinct figures. Without further ado, you can find it here. Hope you enjoy.