Prison numbers still increasing

Prison numbers still on the increase

The Daily telegraph has reported in the last 24 hours that prison numbers have reached a record of over 88,000. This leaves only just over 1,200 free places in prisons. There is  plan to build several new prisons over the next few years, but can we afford to go on like this as a country. Each prisoner costs the country tens of thousands per year to keep in jail.

Whilst the swelling prison numbers have been put down to the summer riots in London and whilst there is undoubtedly truth in this, is there a wider issue here ? Is society becoming less moral ? We believe there is certainly evidence for this, and particularly when it comes to financial crime, in a society where prospects for the young are deteriorating fast. Combined with a culture of rampant consumerism.

If you look at figures for things such as insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, theft, corruption and such like, it looks like there is a problem.

Never has “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” seemed a more difficult yet pressing issue.

Community Orders – a soft option ?

Community Orders not being enforced

Prison is an expensive option for some offences and offenders but public opinion is also skeptical about community payback orders, and recent statistics may partly explain this.

It is all very well having a system which penalizes criminal activity with some kind of payback, and in fact many would support this rather than prison, but only if it works and is enforced. It appears the community orders are not being properly enforced based on :-

  • Only just over 50% of offenders given community penalties were actually made to undertake unpaid work in the past 3 years. Why this is the case is unclear, but it doesn’t go down well with victims of crime or deterrence.
  • Between 2008 and 2010 over 360,000 offenders were given community orders on tasks including gardening, removal of graffiti, rubbish collection.
  • The average length of the required activities was 104 hours, generally spread over a year.

What do you think of the above ? Let us know.