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What is the best way to cut crime and save money?

07:34 UK time, Saturday, 28 August 2010

Government plans to lock up fewer criminals would not reduce offending or cut costs, a report says. Do you agree?

Professor Ken Pease, a former criminologist who worked for the Home Office, says community sentences appear to have no effect on reconviction rates.

In his report, Prison, Community Sentencing and Crime, for the think-tank Civitas, he also says that any move away from the use of custodial sentences should be based on more than just short-term political reasons.

Last month the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, called for alternatives to jail to be developed.

Should fewer criminals be jailed? Do you work in the justice system? Does community service work? What other methods could cut crime?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    The fastest way to cut crime - GET MORE JOBS WITH SUFFICIENT PAY for those that need them.

    More criminals should be jailed - crime rate would drop

    Make sentences MEAN what they say - Not a sentence of TEN years actually meaning FIVE.

    Community Service does work but only for petty crime and ASBOs.


  • Comment number 2.

    Cancel all laws and have a free for all? Not very practical perhaps, and a better way might be to have a thorough overhaul of the law to see what could be safely dispensed with. Best of all would be if people trod the straight and narrow without external compulsion, but I fear that is not likely to happen. Could be worth a try. I wonder how soon we would crack under the strain?

  • Comment number 3.

    Easy.

    Give people jobs.

    Jobs create self respect, self reliance and a sense of community.

  • Comment number 4.

    Here we go again and to be honest theres only one way to reduce crime and thats to legalise all drugs.
    But we all KNOW they'll never do anything outside of the blinkered view politicians and their sheeple who believe everything they say.
    Oh and before they come for anyone else how about we have ALL those MPs that were fiddling (stealing committing fraud) and perhaps lock THEM up for 3-4yrs.

  • Comment number 5.

    Extremely simple. Bring back Capital Punishment for big crimes: Murder, Drug suppling, Armed Robbery, Child molesting.
    Get rid of this silly 'human rights' rubbish and focus on the victims of crimes and not the criminals. If you choose the criminal life, and it IS a choice, then expect to pay for it when caught.

  • Comment number 6.

    whatever the crime and the present punishment, all repeat offences should receive double the first penalty, working up from perhaps ASBOs to fines to jail. The jail sentences then also double so, in the end, a repeat criminal for whatever crime spends longer in custody until, if necessary he/she is in jail for good.

    How should anyone be on the streets with 245 offences to their name, however minor? Remember Tony Martin, both his burglars had over 200 offences each to their names. What was either one doing on the streets?

    Lets have more jails, whatever the cost, and make them like here in Qatar. Miserable, with basic food and water and that's it. No-one EVER goes inside twice. Jail should not be like Butlins, it should be more like hell.

  • Comment number 7.

    Having a bunch of expenses fraudsters in the House of Commons doesn't exactly help to foster a sense of honesty in society either.

    Anyone in employment who does what our MPs did would have been sacked on the spot for gross misconduct and escorted from the building.

    No job, no payoff and no pension.

    Any MP who feels they were unfairly treated could go to an industrial tribunal, like the rest of us.

    Britain has become a one law for them and and one law for us society, just like in the bad old days.

  • Comment number 8.

    Employ an intelligent, hard-working and prejudice-free police force ...

    oh, and sack those officers who can't see past stereotypes and skin colour and those who think a working shift as a police officer consists of sitting in patrol cars eating sausage rolls all day, hitting on the opposite gender and arresting the first person of non-British origin they see when given a crime to solve.

  • Comment number 9.

    I expect we will have the standard lock em all up brigade of answers.

    Perhaps they should consider the following.

    The Prison Population as a percentage of the overall population in the UK has risen by 50% over the last 20 Years while that of countries such as Holland has fallen and yet both countries have seen significant falls in crime, the higher in percentage terms being in Holland.

    The USA with 5% of the Worlds Population has 25% of the Worlds prisoners and should therefore be the least crime ridden country in the World.

    In Fact it has a murder rate some 3 times higher than equivalent European Countries.

  • Comment number 10.

    GET crimes to court quicker.

  • Comment number 11.

    Perhaps if we used the premise that for a crime to be a crime you would need a victim. Such as the recent MPs crimes the victim would be us the people if someone robs then theres a victim if someone uses violence against another theres a victim, if someone commits fraud theres a victim, if an adult smokes cannabis theres no victim so there should be no crime.
    Simples.

  • Comment number 12.

    Prison? You are having a laugh aren't you? Many Offenders committ offences purposely to go "on holiday". That's no prison. Rehabilitation? What about the victims? Do-gooders go back to school and get real. Prison should be a place criminals do not wish to go back to. So, let's change their bed and breakfast and make them sleep on a board with nothing on it; give them very basic food, and not too much of it. Or better still, make a deal with some of the Governments in the old Iron Curtain Countries and pay them half of what they cost us to keep them in their prisons; they would welcome the money and the bulk of the offenders will soon change their way. Morgan from Slough

  • Comment number 13.

    3. At 08:29am on 28 Aug 2010, ady wrote:
    Easy.

    Give people jobs.

    Jobs create self respect, self reliance and a sense of community.

    and for those who don't want one but still have aspirations?

  • Comment number 14.

    The USA has the biggest prison population on the entire planet, both in absolute numbers and per head of population.

    You've far more chance of going to prison in the USA than Communist china, Cuba, North Korea or Iran, the USA is virtually a police state.

    Hasn't done them any good though.

  • Comment number 15.

    We could give everybody access to multi million pound funds to save them from destitution - It seems to work well for Bankers and Politicians - and our business leaders! They manage to get away with all manner of criminal activity and every time they get caught out the taxpayer gives them some more cash - I think if we adopted such an approach to all crimes our crime rate might go up but no one would be bothered about it!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    The government need to change their attitude from "Don't do as I do, do as I say". When it is legal to fiddle £1000's of expenses per month and be allowed to get away with just saying sorry, or create the biggest banking crime known, get a pension and bonus that most companies would like as annual turnover, then get a paid job elsewhere that the annual pay is more than 10 years to the general public.

    Both the above are to blame for the recession, the banks created it, the government too busy shopping in Ikea to realise the country was going down the pan. Lead by example, it is not just the ones who get caught, most people steal something. Ever used the photo copy at work for personal use, made something in works time, phoned in sick when your not, browsed the internet during working hours, charged a customer more knowingly, things people do daily, all are theft of a description but are regarded as a right. Morals and standards went out the window many years ago. Get more decent paid jobs on the market and stop taxing people and businesses at extortionate rates.

  • Comment number 17.

    11. At 08:54am on 28 Aug 2010, No Victim No Crime wrote:
    ///Perhaps if we used the premise that for a crime to be a crime you would need a victim. Such as the recent MPs crimes the victim would be us the people if someone robs then theres a victim if someone uses violence against another theres a victim, if someone commits fraud theres a victim, if an adult smokes cannabis theres no victim so there should be no crime.
    Simples.///

    Not really, in reality people who indulge in self destructive activity are victims too!

  • Comment number 18.

    10. At 08:51am on 28 Aug 2010, jim wrote:
    ///GET crimes to court quicker.///


    I think a large proportion of crimes are actually committed in courts! The committing of these crimes quicker will do nothing to restore our justice system or bring justice to the people! Its our criminal law system which is the real crime in our country!

  • Comment number 19.

    8. At 08:45am on 28 Aug 2010, Bibi wrote:
    ///Employ an intelligent, hard-working and prejudice-free police force ...///


    Nice ideal, but will never happen - The Police Force are necessarily the violent force of state oppression and that will always preclude intelligence, hard-work and equality! Thugs in uniforms is the order of all fascist states.

  • Comment number 20.

    Reduce the preposterous levels of inequality in our society. This may mean that those at the very top earn a bit less, but it will also mean that decent hard-working people at the bottom can earn good money without resorting to crime. A more equal society would foster greater levels of mutual respect, which is the bedrock of crime-reduction.

    As for punishment, we can argue as long as we like about harshness etc; but I think that an element of community service should be part of every sentence and for all crimes, while the rest of the sentence involves prison or fines. Crime does not only affect the immediate victims; though that it does certainly should not be forgotten! Crime, and the fear of crime, damages society as a whole, so offenders should contribute to society as a whole.

  • Comment number 21.

    Build more prisons not holiday camps and make the punishment fit the crime. This country is being stifled by do-gooders who live in ivory towers and crime does not touch them. Bring back capital punishment, we are too soft on crime - in this country work does not pay but crime does.

  • Comment number 22.

    For repeated young offenders Booth camp is the answer. The offenders should be taugh respect for people's property and given vocational training to develop self-esteem and self-worth. The severity of the Booth camp would depend on the crime.

  • Comment number 23.

    Poverty may be the mother of crime, but lack of good sense is the father.

  • Comment number 24.

    Simple solution - automatic execution for every crime - cheap and effective - OK some innocent people will die but think of the money that will be saved - fewer prisons, fewer prison staff, no re-offending after conviction.


    But more to the point:
    1) think about a return to the old days when people who committed offence became outlaws i.e they were outside the law and did not have the protection of the law. No recourse to the Human Rights Act, can be repatriated to their country of origin without consideration of the risk to which they may exposed on return etc.
    2) think about part-time imprisonment for some crimes e.g. they serve their sentences at weekend, in the evening etc which will allow some offenders to keep their jobs but restrict costs to the public and restrict their freedom to enjoy life.
    3) Limit the amount lawyers are allowed to charge to ensure a fairer system. At the moment thr rich can pay lawyers to manipulate the system to ensure that whilst the letter of the law can be met justice is avoided.
    4) Allow the police to pursue criminals at the criminal's risk i.e. if a suspected criminal is injured / killed fleeing from the police the police are not prosecuted.
    5) A criminal justice system which puts the emphasis on justice NOT the just the letter of the law (e.g. offenders escaping prosecution because of clerical errors, the wrong form being used etc.)
    6) A criminal justice system which can bring an offender to court quickly and have them tried quickly rather than having lawyers spending days asking the same question in different ways.
    7) Where a person has been arrested and charged then the CPS decides NOT to prosecute the CPS must provide a detailed reasoning on public record on why no prosecution takes place - phrases like no realistic prospect of conviction mean nothing - why, what evidence is missing, what aspects of the law have not been met, etc.
    8) Instead of TALKING about making parents responsible for the actions of their children fine them if they cannot control their children and as a last resort remove the child from their care and charge them for looking after the child.
    9) Most importantly make JUSTICE not the just the LAW the basis of all court proceedings.

  • Comment number 25.

    Crime has existed since time began. Times past the retribution was harsh and swift. Crime carried on but perhaps not so widespread as without deterant.
    What are we saying now? Its ok, we understand you cant help it just carry on steal, murder and rape if thats what you want? Oh just talk to this nice person for a week or two about your crime and see how you get on or here's a nice job to start Monday you will lose all urges to commit crime when your at work?
    Dont think so I think we need punishment to be just that. crime gets worse as we excuse it more. At least feeling the punishment they will think twice about it.

  • Comment number 26.

    20. At 09:12am on 28 Aug 2010, Andrew Morton wrote:
    /// so offenders should contribute to society as a whole.///

    Actually, I think all offenders make a massive contribution to society already - without their criminal activity there would be thousands more people without meaningful employment, whole industries would be non-existent - There would be nothing to motivate others to escape poverty and crime, there would be no one for the self righteous to point their morally bankrupt fingers at.....Oh dear, without crime our whole social order might collapse into a heap of self doubt and then where would we all be!

    I say thank you criminals for providing our society with a purpose and meaning!

  • Comment number 27.

    11. At 08:54am on 28 Aug 2010, No Victim No Crime wrote:
    ***Perhaps if we used the premise that for a crime to be a crime you would need a victim. Such as the recent MPs crimes the victim would be us the people if someone robs then theres a victim if someone uses violence against another theres a victim, if someone commits fraud theres a victim, if an adult smokes cannabis theres no victim so there should be no crime.
    Simples.***

    Working on that method, if I travel at 150mph on the motorway and do not hit anything, there is no victim so no crime, similar to speeding outside a school at opening/closing time.

  • Comment number 28.

    The lower the difference in earnings, the lower the crime rate.

    Countries like Norway and Japan are massively different cultures but they both practice a system of relative economic egalitarianism for society.

    Both have extremely low crime rates.

    Countries like the USA and the UK who follow a doctrine of very high economic inequality are crime ridden societies and crime is rising all the time, especially crimes of violence.

    You gets what you pays for.

  • Comment number 29.

    The answer is so easy!
    Tougher sentences - i.e. bring back corrective training and preventative
    detention. Capital punishment would deter murderers.
    Export immigrant offenders immediately. End of argument!

  • Comment number 30.

    We need to change the perceptions of jail crime and punishment. Jail must be hard time- so that those in there never want to go again. No tvs,pcs,games or pay.Drugs add a year to your time and the supplier goes in as well. Bring in the cat and birch for the 16-25 year olds.Death penalty for murder and drug supplying. This bs about community service and rehabilitation has not worked. Now we need to get tough and quick. If crims are foreign-deport-no appeals just goodbye. I am fed up with this "my rights issue"-it always favors the crims and foreigners. I have human rights as well but mine dont seem to count.

  • Comment number 31.

    Get cat "owners" to keep their pets inside and seal all wheelie bins.

  • Comment number 32.

    It costs more to keep someone in prison than to send them to Eton, and we know that in terms of re-offending, prisons don't work.

    We also know that a much higher proportion of people in prisons have mental illness and very low or non-existent educational attainment.

    So a long term aim must be to ensure that no child leaves full time education illiterate and inumerate and that our mental health services are resourced properly to identify and intervene at the earliest possible stage.

    It has been shown that confronting offenders with their victims so that they understand the consequences of their actions, does help, as does community service, if properly structured and if it contains educational opportunities.

    A lot of 'minor crime' is drug related, so a complete revison of our attitude to the criminality of drugs must be made. We must look at the evidence of other countries and take appropriate action now.

    Having said all of that, there must be an element of punishment and deterrence in the criminal justice system, otherwise there will be no public support, but tariffs must be made consistent and comparable across the criminal spectrum, the parole system must be radically reviewed, and prisons must become places of education and opportunity (not relative luxury and indolence) rather than drug infested breeding grounds for more serious crime.

    Regrettably there will always be people who have made a career of crime, and nothing will change their attitude and determination to continue. They have to be made an example of in a way that is humane, but provides a very strong incentive for others not to follow in their footsteps. To reduce costs, their incarceration could be outsourced to developing countries where it is much cheaper to house and feed them and which provides a valuable income stream for their economies.



  • Comment number 33.

    Government plans to lock up fewer criminals would not reduce offending or cut costs, a report says. Do you agree?

    No I do not, there will always be a certain element of people who regard crime as a profession, nothing is likely to deter people of this mind set, in this I include burglary, shoplifting, fuel theft and personal robbery.

    However, if the government really wants to cut the crime rate - which despite claims to the contrary - is rising at an alarming rate, then people should be aloud to earn a decent wage, a livable wage rather than an existance paupors wage, the cost of liveing should be affordable, travelling by train should be brought down to the same costs as mainland Europe, utility costs should be brought down to the same as mainland europe.

    All the time we have the crass greed of those at the top robbing the less well off to fund their elitist life styles, riding on 'Thatchers Chariots of Greed', then crime will continue to rise no matter what is done, as for many people there simply will not be an alternative if they are to feed their families if the cuts planned by this Coalition of millionairs are implemented to the full.

    The rising crime now is an element of the cause and effect of a higher and higher cost of living that is now higher than many of the lower paid can any longer afford, this will in turn increase the already growing black market which will in turn increase fraud.

    As for cutting the number of police and deciminalising some crimes, that is just a lunatic responce from a government that doesn't appear to have a clue what they are doing.

  • Comment number 34.

    The first thing that is needed is to separate the crime stats into meaningful measures. Since it is almost impossible for a Juvenile to obtain a custodial sentence for a non violent offence, any figures that include Juvenile crime do not 'test' the effectiveness of prison as a deterrent. Since most Adult criminals were converted to repeat offenders during their Juvenile days it would tend to show that non custodial sentences do not prevent re-offending. The problem is that we simply do not have the figures, we just have theories that are not backed up by evidence.
    During my time as a Custody Officer I noticed several trends amongst my customers. 1. The high percentage who could not read or write. 2. The high percentage who were unemployed. 3. The Low skill levels of most criminals. 4. The prevalence of drug usage amongst those arrested for theft/burglary offences. 5. The repeat 'offenders' amongst Juveniles who could not be detained pending trial. 6. The total disregard for the Law as such, only the respect for custodial sentences. 7. The ability to work the system, especially where Social Workers were concerned. 8. That several of my repeat and regular customers went straight once they were adults and started to receive custodial sentences. and finally 9. The hopeless nature of so many young criminals, with no future and a poor past.
    I will not claim my list is scientific or perfect, it comes from direct observation, and conversations over many days with hundreds of arrested people. My conclusions are:- 1. the Juvenile Justice system is a total failure it neither deters nor rehabilitates.
    2. A major factor in the 'need' for crime is the reliance on anti Drug Laws that actually promote criminal activity.
    3. The Failure of the Education system to prepare so many for the realities of the working world.
    4. The need to 'lock up' some young offenders at first offence level, to prevent them from committing literally hundreds of crimes whilst playing the system.
    5. The need for a full, non political and non judgmental review of the entire Justice System by a review team that excludes Social Reformers from its bench, but does take evidence from all parties.

    I am by no means a 'Reforming Liberal', in some matters I am to the right of Attila the Hun, BUT, I do believe that the entire Justice System has lost its way, being used as a Political Football whilst simultaneously being distorted by pressure groups and even the Treasury. We need to sort out what the Country needs by way of Crime prevention, Policing and Education for life. Simply statements such as 'Prison doesn't work' by self seeking Politicians and pressure groups are of no help, neither are self promoting statements from Groups like Civitas. Until there is a full review the public will receive a second rate service from the LAWs that are supposed to protect.

  • Comment number 35.

    29. At 09:32am on 28 Aug 2010, Jaydee wrote:
    ///The answer is so easy!
    Tougher sentences - i.e. bring back corrective training and preventative
    detention. Capital punishment would deter murderers.
    Export immigrant offenders immediately. End of argument!///

    Not really, Where is your evidence that any of these methods have any positive outcomes? And as for the act of murder, most 'experts' will confirm that murder is normally an 'emotional' crime - thus NOT a rational act - thus capital punishment will never be an effective deterrent! And what is this idea of 'preventative detention' are you advocating a reversal of the very foundation of our criminal justice system? Are you suggesting the State has a right to 'detain' innocent citizens on the grounds they may commit a criminal offence at some point in the future? IS this not the 'justice' of totalitarian states - the principles of fascism? And will this not inevitably lead to further social disintegration and mis-trust of the whole legal system? You are of course entitled to an opinion on the subject, but to blindly rant about tough punishment, corrective training and the death penalty without even considering the rational consequence is merely barbarism masquerading as a solution! Wow how the fools mumble nonsense to justify their stupidity - it is beyond reason!!!!


  • Comment number 36.

    19. At 09:12am on 28 Aug 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    8. At 08:45am on 28 Aug 2010, Bibi wrote:
    ///Employ an intelligent, hard-working and prejudice-free police force ...///


    Nice ideal, but will never happen - The Police Force are necessarily the violent force of state oppression and that will always preclude intelligence, hard-work and equality! Thugs in uniforms is the order of all fascist states.

    ---------------------------------------

    We do need more intelligence in the police but we need them to be more violent with offenders and to make the public affraid to be arrested. The yobs in this world take a criminal record as a badge of office. They would not be so brave if they were birched in public and and all their yob mates were watching them cry and beg. We need a society that is policed for the vast majority not a society that treats these degenerates with "understanding" and "compassion", we have tried that and it does not work. All the utopian ideas of equality, erradicating poverty, educating the "criminal classes, et al are just pie in the sky ideas that will never happen.

    There will be many "a civised society does not do this", "only the uneducated and ignorant have this view", "daily mail reader" comments but I do not care. My way would work for the majority and I do not care about the rest because they do not care about us.

    Two quick ways to save money would be to legalise and tax drugs/prostitution. This would save on policing and would remove many that are classed as criminals under the current laws. doing this would also remove some of them from the benefits system.

  • Comment number 37.


    Firstly there should be two types or prisons one for serious crime and another type for less serious crime and never to two types should mix.
    The "lesser crime" prison should be an institute of correction and guidance. The "serious crime" should be an institute to exclude for society
    Just provide basic comfort for prisoners . Apart from educational and religious needs . Every thing else should be communal,including TV , radio and news print

    Strict rules should apply to outside contact . That means no mobile phones . or unmonitored mail or phone calls .

    Many minor crimes should be public service work and/or a fine option


  • Comment number 38.

    There is so much nonsense said when question is raised.
    1) Bring back capital punishment. Er no... the experience of places that have tried both capital punishment and non-capital punishment clearly shows that serious crime drops when cap. pun. is removed .
    2) Stiffer prison sentences . No . This only makes the criminal more determined not to be caught , therefore more ruthless.
    Prison is actually seen by many petty criminals as a safe place and prefer to be in it than out.
    Legalise drugs . No ... cigarettes are legal . It doesn't stop the traffickers trying to avoid tax.
    The only way to stop crime is prevention. Take the matter into your own hand. Dont respond to emails unless you know their source - similarly put the phone down on cold callers. Secure your home against intruders, etc.... and more police out there ready to respond to any call instantly.
    The only people who should be loked up are the persistant and dangerous to life and limb offenders.

  • Comment number 39.

    11. At 08:54am on 28 Aug 2010, No Victim No Crime wrote:

    Perhaps if we used the premise that for a crime to be a crime you would need a victim. Such as the recent MPs crimes the victim would be us the people if someone robs then theres a victim if someone uses violence against another theres a victim, if someone commits fraud theres a victim, if an adult smokes cannabis theres no victim so there should be no crime.
    Simples.

    = = = = = = = =

    You mean like that Singer George Michael???

    He smashed his car into a shop after smoking cannabis - there IS a crime anyway - You are breaking the law by smoking it -

  • Comment number 40.

    The most significant paragraph in this report for me is "Prof Pease said arguments for fewer short sentences failed to take into account that jailing persistent offenders gave the public a respite from crime"

    Build more prisons & give progressivly longer sentences as offenders re-offend is the answer.

    Building & running the prisons will also create much needed jobs.

  • Comment number 41.

    25. At 09:23am on 28 Aug 2010, littletenter wrote:
    ///Crime has existed since time began./// Not that sure your assertion is factually correct!

    ///Times past the retribution was harsh and swift./// Where is your evidence for this? I am not sure Dick Turpin would agree -

    ///Crime carried on but perhaps not so widespread as without deterant./// By far crime in a contemporary context is far less of a social issue than in the past!

    ///What are we saying now? Its ok, we understand you cant help it just carry on steal, murder and rape if thats what you want? Oh just talk to this nice person for a week or two about your crime and see how you get on or here's a nice job to start Monday you will lose all urges to commit crime when your at work?/// What world do you live in? This is not a description of any country in the world I know of - wow you must stop confusing Mills and Boom novels with reality - the consequences are frightening!
    ///Dont think so I think we need punishment to be just that. crime gets worse as we excuse it more./// NO - crime is on a downward trend - that means LESS crimes being committed.

    /// At least feeling the punishment they will think twice about it.///

    I fail to understand this assertion - How do you propose the criminal 'feels' the punishment? And surely the punishment will be inflicted after the criminal act - so how exactly will that prevent the crime or make a criminal 'think' twice? One must also question the logic of the argument - Most crime by definition is constituted as irrational acts, that being a NON thinking act, often driven by emotional reflex rather than a rational thinking process - so I do not see how the criminal is thinking once let alone twice about their actions! What exactly are you suggesting?

  • Comment number 42.

    "29. At 09:32am on 28 Aug 2010, Jaydee wrote:

    The answer is so easy!
    Tougher sentences - i.e. bring back corrective training and preventative
    detention. Capital punishment would deter murderers.
    Export immigrant offenders immediately. End of argument!"

    Not.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    "The reconviction figures for both community sentences and custody are almost exactly as would be predicted beforehand."

    Which means community sentences are no better, but also no worse, than custodial sentences at cutting reoffending rates.

    Neither approach, IOW, works better than the other.

    It took Archie Cochrane's use of systematic reviews of Randomised Controlled Trials (plus a talent for humour and persuasion) to make medical professionals accept the benefits of scientific research: The benefits to society since accepting this as the way forward for medical science have been huge. We now know, for example, that an inexpensive course of corticosteroid given to women about to give birth too early reduces the odds of the babies of such women dying from the complications of immaturity by 30–50%.

    Is it not time the legal profession took the same step and embraced the same methods for deciding how best to cut reoffending rates? Until we do opinion will dominate this field, and opinon - though persuasive - is not necessarily an accurate method for deciding the best course of action.

  • Comment number 45.

    Haha What Act is this in Blunder-on Regardless' production? I guess criminals could be locked up in the House of Commons or Lords. That'd save loads of money and make them feel at home amongst expenses fraudsters. Ohhh and such lovely surroundings! Nice long Sentences (or woffle) would keep them off the streets and anyone really bad be whisked off to the Tower of London. Brilliant idea!

    Heck, what are this government thinking of? Are they sane? Are they still earning the same wage for dreaming up all this nonsense? Yeah, it'll be the last thing to be cut!

  • Comment number 46.

    "8. At 08:45am on 28 Aug 2010, Bibi wrote:
    Employ an intelligent, hard-working and prejudice-free police force ...

    oh, and sack those officers who can't see past stereotypes and skin colour and those who think a working shift as a police officer consists of sitting in patrol cars eating sausage rolls all day, hitting on the opposite gender and arresting the first person of non-British origin they see when given a crime to solve." Define British origin if as your post implies you mean white your comment is racist so just to clear this up enlighten us what you mean exactly. Remember racism by police is not exclusively the preserve of white officers, the rest of your post has some merit.

  • Comment number 47.

    One issue is the delay between apprehension/charging and punishment. How can we expect people to learn when retribution is so long after the offence? If I burn my hand it hurts immediately; I learn from this.

    A young man gets caught vandalising, dealing in drugs, whatever, and it will be months before retribution. Meanwhile various other offences have been committed by him without apprehension. Where's the connection?

    I don't think we are looking for legalised revenge, we want to change behaviour, so there must be a swift and clear connection between the offence and society's response.



  • Comment number 48.

    8. At 08:45am on 28 Aug 2010, Bibi wrote:
    ///Employ an intelligent, hard-working and prejudice-free police force ...///


    Nice ideal, but will never happen - The Police Force are necessarily the violent force of state oppression and that will always preclude intelligence, hard-work and equality! Thugs in uniforms is the order of all fascist states.


    -----------
    I was a serving Met Police officer for 20 Years as an operational officer in inner London,I was shot at, GBH'd twice while protecting members of the public, had two close friends and colleagues murdered, one in my presence and received commendations for my crime detecting and humanitarian efforts.
    Throughout this time I retained my liberal and inclusive attitudes and I have Three degrees from 2 of the Best Universities in the Country.

    I am not saying this to boost my own ego but to indicate that those who choose to serve the public in the Police Service do so in general because of a belief in justice and fairness, not because they are thugs in uniforms, I wonder precisely how many lives the commentator above has saved ,how many blighted communities they have helped and how many times they have placed their life on the line to protect the public for a very modest return.

  • Comment number 49.

    36. At 09:57am on 28 Aug 2010, Graham wrote:

    Two quick ways to save money would be to legalise and tax drugs/prostitution. This would save on policing and would remove many that are classed as criminals under the current laws. doing this would also remove some of them from the benefits system.

    = = = = = = = = = =

    Yet again - for the sake of accuracy - Prostitution (the act of selling one's body for sexual 'favours' ) IS LEGAL - Soliciting or keeping a Brothel (management of prostitutes) are ILLEGAL!!

    The “girls” pay business rates on their solely owned or rented properties - and - should pay taxes on their earnings just like any other self employed person.

    Please be accurate - I know it is difficult on the HYS - but do not criminalize prostitutes - they are perfectly entitled to operate as prostitutes.. I know a lot of them as a Rating Officer. They are as law abiding as any other group of people.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    The current trend to focus on "rehabilitation" is a ploy to save money, though it seems a misguided one, as dealing with reoffending costs time and money.

    The vast majority of the public would agree that "rehabilitation" of the offender is a very secondary and minor issue.

    The PRIMARY purpose of sending somebody to prison for their crimes is to punish. Victims and their families are ONLY concerned with punishing the offender - they do not care what happens to the offender other than that. Most victims feel very betrayed when they see punishment replaced by concern for the offender's future. If punishments and conditions in prison were unbearable that should deter. Maybe prisons are too soft.

    Also, for many years, we hear Governments claim that prisons are full. The obvious solution is to build more. More of everything else is built without problem. Why is it so difficult to build a prison? There is no technical reason - only one of motivation.

    Finally, poverty should not be used as a reason for increased crime as most poor people remain honest. It does not lead them into crime.

    Lord Denning was born into a poor family and look what he achieved!!


  • Comment number 52.

    Fewer criminals jailed? I suppose the alternative is to reward the people who don't commit crime,hoping that crime would become without purpose. Fact: every adult should have a worthwhile job. In a society, you need to have rules because otherwise ,animal nature being what it is ,the selfish people will want more than the less selfish people. Thanks to the media we know that financial greed happens in a 'semi-legalised' way all the time at the 'top' of society, which is really not a great example and society picks up on that,everybody wants a piece of the action too. There are people who assume the right to have more than the next person because of...?? Why do lawyers, say, become lawyers, to help society or to help themselves ? Do people study law for the common good or to make a lot of money?If laws are so complicated that they can't be understood by ordinary citizens, and so need a lawyer to interpret, they should be void , simple! As an example could a top lawyer do something about the current anarchic cycling on pavements for instance ,are they bothered?( No ,not until a lawyer gets killed coming out a shop.) If not,i wonder what purpose they really have in the wider society on a daily basis. I think that murders will always happen but what there is today is a sort of recreational killing, i think that's strange, as is stealing from pensioners. I think it's true that thankfully nobody need starve to death in this country although i expect it still happens. I do agree with the 'big society' idea . Presumably during the second world war when we were under attack, we were then a 'big society' all working for a common purpose and i think that's what we need today acommon purpose. Churches, pubs, men working in teams(say miners) made people have a sense of belonging maybe a pride in the country and being British. We are an 'advanced' society and so suffer from all the problems of being so. Immigration can't have helped this country in some ways because people are arriving in a place that is arguably in decline and British people are coping with this very well in all fairness. Police wise, well what can you say ? New methods v. old methods? I'm more aware of police 'cars' than i am of police 'men'.I think that policemen should remember that they are paid from the council tax and are living in the past (borrowed time) with their 'double time' pay rates ,which a lot of people never enjoyed and very few do today.British society maybe needs to heal itself a great deal. We celebrate the education of our children when all evidence points to a society that can't read ,write , converse ,add up ,feed itself properly has an almost infantile facination for sex and underwear and worst of all, can't sit the right way on a public toilet! If it's costing too much to house prisoners then prison is too luxurious obviously.Prisoners should have an opportunity to earn their keep, maybe doing jobs in say banking or insurance! Imprisonment is a waste of life but it's a career choice for at least some people.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ #41
    /// At least feeling the punishment they will think twice about it.///

    I fail to understand this assertion - How do you propose the criminal 'feels' the punishment? And surely the punishment will be inflicted after the criminal act - so how exactly will that prevent the crime or make a criminal 'think' twice? One must also question the logic of the argument - Most crime by definition is constituted as irrational acts, that being a NON thinking act, often driven by emotional reflex rather than a rational thinking process - so I do not see how the criminal is thinking once let alone twice about their actions! What exactly are you suggesting?
    ============================================================
    Did you ever burn your hand as a child? I did. From distant memory I didnt appreciate the consequence of grabbing the fire grate. The sores & blisters came "after the act" and could not be righted. I felt it alright, just as I would "feel" being locked up etc. I "felt" the effect of a speeding fine in my pocket. Shall not be keen to repeat that experience either. I didnt go too near the fire again I have always thought twice since.
    If you are suggesting that criminals "just do crime" and think nothing of consequence driven only by emotional reflex, then care in the community isnt working is it? In effect they are not in their right minds are they?
    Whatever the reason then be it for crime or for insanity should not the rest of us be shielded from the consequences of these peoples irrational behaviour? The prevention is while locked up they aren't doing it again. We don't lock anyone up for the first dozen or so crimes do we?
    I admire you, you can obviously forgive if someone robs, rapes, murders you or yours after having done it how many times before? In your case you are prepared to suffer the personal consequences of not taking action. Laudible. You have told us what doesnt work, now tell us all what does please. Clearly we have been talking to them for decades or giving them holidays in the sun or free unfettered living. None has had much more effect than prison does. The only difference I see is in prison or a mental institution the rest of us are relatively safe!
    Oh and before you start on about inappropriate upbring I got knocked black & blue throughout my formtive years. I felt that punishment too !For sure it put a chip on my shoulder for life. It didnt give me a criminal record of any kind or a desire to knock my own kids about.

  • Comment number 54.

    Many years ago, an offender would be sentenced to a term of custody, they would serve that entire period in prison and this was the expected norm. The governor of the prison had the right to reduce the time spent in custody by rewarding good behaviour and compliance with any requests for retraining/education etc. This was then twisted by politicians who saw an easy way to reduce prison numbers, they automatically halved any sentence imposed by the courts, this may have been the cheaper option however it removed any incentive offenders may have had to behave themselves and work toward rehabilitation. Community orders were set up to pick up offenders who were to be punished by having restrictions to their liberty imposed whilst remaining out of the prison system, they were to be managed by the Probation service as an alternative to custody. These orders have little or no impact on offenders, they pay them lip service only, as they know that the courts have also had their hands tied by repeated governments forcing them to reduce prison numbers so as to cut costs. It is frequently the case that repeat offenders are returning to court time after time only to be given multiple orders, all of which run along side each other. The offenders can go to court for an offence and walk free only a short time later, laughing at the system as they have been given an order that does not impact on them at all. This means that they effectively walk free from court without being punished at all for their crime. There is no justice for the victims when they see these criminals walking free. The answer is easy, firstly stop the practice of automatically halving any sentence given by the courts, this is incredibly unpopular with the public and should be stopped, return to the system where they earn their remission. For every town with a population of over 60,000 build a small local prison to house up to 30 offenders on short term sentences, also any offenders who fail to comply with their community sentences should be sent to one of these units to serve a stipulated custodial period agreed by the court at the time of sentencing. These units should be funded through local council tax therefore not putting any preasure on the governments finances. They would greatly reduce the main prison populations allowing room for more serious offenders. There are also a large number of foreign nationals languishing in prisons up and down the land, deport them. We need to stop putting sticking plasters over the problems in an attempt to save money, criminal justice cannot be subject to cost cutting, it will only result in a rise in crime and a rise in the victims of crime.

  • Comment number 55.

    Crime and anti-social behaviour are a blight on our streets. Ken Clarke is a buffoon if he believes anything but prison and punishment is acceptable to the law-abiding public.
    1. Make prisons a place of punishment, not a Butlins holiday camp. People should fear them.
    2. Build another 20-25 prisons, on disused army barracks.
    3. Scrap the Human Rights policy or focus it on the victim and not the perpetrator.
    4. Toughen up sentences, with zero tolerance for any violent crimes - minimum sentence of 3 months imprisonment for assault, 1 year for possession of a knife, 10 years for possession of a firearm.
    5. Make crimes of a softer nature carry a community service order (Graffitists spend 3 months removing graffiti, soft drug users spend 3 months litter collecting etc).
    6. Permanently remove benefits for any recipient who receives a criminal record.
    Punishment for crime should be exactly that - punishment. The PC/do-good/softly softly/bleeding heart brigade have been proven to be wrong, otherwise we would have no crime!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Have just 'googled' various European country's links to their prison service, including the UK? What came up for UK was the English Prisons Commission report for 2009. Additionally, UK prisons often have their own websites too.

    These searches were short, shallow and an unsatisfactory attempt to glean some kind of 'gold standard' of how a 'best prison system' protects the communities who pay for them - plus any peer reviewed effective rehabilitation of prisoners while in custody and on release?

    This subject is huge just in Europe alone - depending on how much a country is prepared to spend?

    Many reports about French or Italian prisons - do make our UK prisons look like motels in comparison? I guess it depends on cultural issues and which Member Country capitulates to EU Regulations on Human Rights applied in their own prision service?

    First offence or hardened 'career' criminals - my concerns lie with the 'middle-man', that is The Criminal Justice System? in the UK? As it stands now ... it appears to serve no-one and fails everyone?

  • Comment number 57.

    47. At 10:23am on 28 Aug 2010, myneerkop wrote:

    One issue is the delay between apprehension/charging and punishment. How can we expect people to learn when retribution is so long after the offence? If I burn my hand it hurts immediately; I learn from this.

    A young man gets caught vandalising, dealing in drugs, whatever, and it will be months before retribution. Meanwhile various other offences have been committed by him without apprehension. Where's the connection?

    I don't think we are looking for legalised revenge, we want to change behaviour, so there must be a swift and clear connection between the offence and society's response.

    = = = = = = = = = =

    I agree with this from my experiences a school teacher in a slum school - Children would commit a crime - caught and be charged for it - released back into society to await trial. This could be many months - During that time they get kudos from their friends and are looked up to by many others in the school - reinforcing their own behaviour and acting as a 'fantastic' example for the rest.

  • Comment number 58.

    Employment = self respect, dignity and a future.

    It also brings more tax revenue, reduction in crime so less tax required, then perhaps we can all benefit from lower taxes.

    The worst crime commited over the last few decades was to sell our future abroad. We can make goods here the same price as Korea, India or China but add on the tax on business then we cannot compete.

  • Comment number 59.

    To cut crime :- It is a waste of police time when they expend manpower and other expensive resources in catching an offender and in a subsequent conviction, when so often the result is a suspended sentence or community service, or worst of all-, a slapped wrist! If an offender is confident that even if they get caught nothing very inconvenient will happen to them they have no incentive to behave - let's ensure that when they are caught and convicted they receive an inconvenient and unpleasant punishment which they will not shrug off so easily and which therefore may have a more lasting effect than a slapped wrist - forget all this human rights rubbish - they should forfeit any such entitlement when they choose to ---- on society - BRING BACK THE BIRCH! ( Normal members of society have a right to see justice done don't they ?) for all those petty crimes which cause so much distress to the normal person in the street and which cost us all so much money with the current ineffective measures being employed. Breaking the law should result in unpleasant and memorable punishment appropriate to the crime - i.e: cause fear and distress to a member of the comunity = cause fear and distress in greater measure to the offender.

  • Comment number 60.

    49. At 10:29am on 28 Aug 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    36. At 09:57am on 28 Aug 2010, Graham wrote:

    Two quick ways to save money would be to legalise and tax drugs/prostitution. This would save on policing and would remove many that are classed as criminals under the current laws. doing this would also remove some of them from the benefits system.

    = = = = = = = = = =

    Yet again - for the sake of accuracy - Prostitution (the act of selling one's body for sexual 'favours' ) IS LEGAL - Soliciting or keeping a Brothel (management of prostitutes) are ILLEGAL!!

    The “girls” pay business rates on their solely owned or rented properties - and - should pay taxes on their earnings just like any other self employed person.

    Please be accurate - I know it is difficult on the HYS - but do not criminalize prostitutes - they are perfectly entitled to operate as prostitutes.. I know a lot of them as a Rating Officer. They are as law abiding as any other group of people.


    ----------------------------

    Richard please stop shouting. I did not know that prostitution was legal. I did know that running a brothel and proposition were. I find it difficult to believe that they can earn a living without a place to take their clients and that they cannot advertise there services. I in no way stated that I wished prostitution criminalized as I thought it was already illegal. Please read before shouting your next post.

  • Comment number 61.

    The argument for stiffer prison sentences isn't, in my opinion, only about punishment and deterrant. It's also about protecting the public. I think that prisoners - particularly those who present a physical threat to the public - should be allocated a minimum tariff to serve but should only be released if the greater probability suggests that they will not reoffend.

    After all, sheer logic tells us that whilst a prisoner is in prison he or she cannot commit any crimes.

    However, prison is often used where it is unnecessary. Fraudsters, tax evaders, con artists, motorists (who actually haven't had an accident or hurt anyone) and even non-violent thieves might, for example, be better dealt with via other punishments, thus freeing up prison spaces for more violent offenders. Where the offender is deemed rich enough, a substantial fine might be more appropriate.

    I have little patience for criminals who 'cannot afford to pay fines' either. My answer would be to tag them, curfew them and force them to do weekend community service until they can afford to pay, even if it takes them many years. Put them in a position where they have to get a proper job in order to win their freedom (tagging and curfews would hopefully stop them turning to crime to pay the fines for their previous crimes). I think that in terms of rehabilitation, getting a proper job might also help.

    The idea of prison as a deterrant is, in my opinion, largely false though. Criminals don't expect to get caught and thus the deterrant fails. The death penalty is pointless as a deterrant as has been proven in countries that have introduced or dropped it - there is usually very little change in crime rates. That's probably because crime that warrants the death penalty is usually commited by psychopaths or it's on the spur of the moment (without the time or inclination to think about possible punishments).

    Prison should be used to protect the public and to dish out a punishment but I don't think we should get carried away with the idea that it's a major deterrant. I'm sure it is to some people of course but we sort of end up with a bit of circular logic there because the people to whom prison is a deterrant are unlikely to commit crime in the first place. Clearly it isn't a deterrant to those who do commit crime.

  • Comment number 62.

    Crime and punishment go together. Criminals should be punished for their crimes. If not, you get anarchy and the breakdown of society. I have been a victim of a crime. The criminal confessed, got cautioned and effectively walked. That was not right on several levels, but ultimately the message conveyed by the CPS was that there is no punishment for theft. The victims lost out financially, the offender did not suffer.

    If you don't like sending people to prison find an alternative. Under Sharia Law, amputation is an alternative although I prefer prison.

  • Comment number 63.

    Increase minimum wage to an actual living wage that people can afford to live on instead of the £5.80 hr nonsense. That the majority are paid or just above, I say majority because its true the average wage is a misnomer hiked by people on stupid amounts like bankers etc.. skewing the figures.
    I could never understand the logic of criminalising nature. Especially something that has proven health benefits, Cannabinoids (components of Cannabis sativa), including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG), show activity against a variety of MRSA strains. surely that would save the nhs money too.
    sources:-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methicillin-resistant_Staphylococcus_aureus
    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/21366/

  • Comment number 64.

    This country has gone human rights and PC mad. What about the victims of serious crime they don't appear to have any rights let alone human.

    Capital Punishment should be restored for premeditated murder and terrorism and other suitable punishements enforced for crimes such as rape and child molestation - let's say chemical castration.

    It may not deter some but at least they would know what their punishment will be when they are caught.

    I know an ex prison warder who worked in prisons all over Britain and he is of the opinion that prisons worked when they were run by Governors but things have changed dramatically since MPs and Civil Servants have become involved in the Prison Service.

  • Comment number 65.

    These plans REAK of Liberalism! The best way to cut crime, in my opinion, isn't to just focus on helping criminals out of their rut because Liberal's seem to assume that all criminals commit crimes because they don't have another option e.g. the man who steals a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. We should be focusing efforts as well on helping the proper contributors of society, the law abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals, whether that means subsidising the cost of a burglar alarm/ trackers for the car etc. Further criminals know that they will have a cushy life in prison. Want to reduce crime and cut costs at the same time? Treat criminals like criminals. Take away the TV's, reduce the quality of their food, force them into hard labour as in America. Yes that all probably (hard labour definately) contravenes their 'Human Rights' but the ECHR is just ridiculous, which is why I have long suggested that we withdraw from the ECHR and create our own convention of Human Rights.

  • Comment number 66.

    @Richard

    Further to my post I forgot to say that legalising all of the current restrictive practices of the prostitution industry would create jobs in advertising for solicitation in newspapers/web, create new drive-thru brothels and be an investment opertunity for entrepreneurs.

  • Comment number 67.

    I agree with Morgan # 12, as I know it to be true. Whenever the 'offender' is let loose, our neighbourhood awaits the frequent offender's next move; some poor soul will be used as a victim to secure another 'get into jail free' card.

    I honestly despair and wonder if this government is deliberately turning the UK into a Vigilante Country? What are good, honest folk to do? Action will inevitably be taken by law-abiding citizens owing to whittled-away police forces with jailbirds roaming free committing more of their atrocities.

    Judges might as well hang up their wigs and silks, as Butch Cameronidy and the Sundance Clegg are paving the way for Kangaroo Courts!

  • Comment number 68.

    Personally I think something needs to be done about the environment in prison - which some suggest have become universities of crime.

    Also bring in the death penalty for habitual serious offenders (rapist, murderers, violent thugs) who show insufficient improvement to rehabilitation efforts (three strikes and you're out). It should be clear that we are responsible for treating others with respect, and if we do serious harm to others, we can expect a shortened life expectancy as a result. The death penalty, if carried out in the right way (not like in the US or China etc), would also save money through avoidance of long term prison costs and costs associated with further re-offending. The victims (or their families) of a serial serious offender should be given the right to decide whether the crime is one of the person's three strikes or not, and once they have accumulated three then their time is up.

  • Comment number 69.

    The calibre of UK prison management today is pathetic - to say the least.
    Of course sending less criminals in prison will not work!
    Make prisons a place that criminals fear to go - isn't it obvious?

  • Comment number 70.

    The comment that 10 years means 5 - with good behaviour - is correct. If 10 years meant 10 years, or life meant life, no doubt judges and magistrates would use shorter term sentences where the law allows, and only extreme sentences in extreme cases.
    If we only consider immediate costs, then hanging and corporal punishment would be cheap, but not necessarily effective, or acceptable to a more humane society.
    The only real purpose of imprisonment, otherwise, is to protect the public and hope that it may make the criminal reform. But a criminal environment is barely what is required for reform.
    If those convicted, who are not dangerous, can be dealt with in normal society, with restrictions on movement and places they may visit, together with provision of employment, and counselling, it might be effective in many cases.
    Prevention is the best cure, and that means a much better home life and education than many children enjoy.

  • Comment number 71.

    How about catching prospective criminals when their young and committing petty crimes. Asbos are a waste of time, and most likely a short sharp shock at a young age would save trouble when they are older. However, the police have got to be prepared to act strongly and not approach the offender with kid gloves.

    The parents of these young offenders should be warned that unless they are prepared to take responsibility for their children they will also be in serious trouble.

    Obviously a good education and encouraging feelings of self respect are essential to prevent the young from falling into crime, that has to come from the schools.

    The Human Right Acts (as regards criminals) to be abolished so that when a criminal is sentenced for a crime the long drawn out procedure of an appeal is curtailed.

    All the above will require a new outlook by all those concerned, be they police, magistrates, prison officials and probation officers. Plus a decent injection of money - although this is a long for dream.

    Prison time for trivial misdeamours, such as we see in the media, should be stopped. More attention has to be given to the bad behaviour of the young and those who commit robberies, burglaries and murder should be sentenced to terms compatible with the offense.

  • Comment number 72.

    Give British Citizens, whose means are below a certain level, the Security and Dignity of Basic Subsistence as a Human Right, and abolish the jobseeker's Acts '95 and '96. Nothing would do more to reduce the need for 'crime'.

  • Comment number 73.

    Apparently, the MAJORITY of the 'ordinary' law-abiding population, and their families, still feel unsafe and unsupported by their own police in their locality/neighbourhood etc?

    What they mostly 'feel' or 'believe' is lack of protection from the Police Service in their own community?

    The reality is that what they are 'indirectly' suffering from is not lack of will and concern of the police; but ultimately the incompetence of the Criminal Justice System, CPS, Ministry of Justice yada, yada., that continue to allow the minority back into your area who cause the most crime, disorder and ultimately the most damage. The police, too, are as angry and disappointed as you, who are the victims of crime from repeat offenders?

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    BRING BACK HANGING !

  • Comment number 76.

    5. At 08:36am on 28 Aug 2010, Rinc3wind wrote:

    "Extremely simple. Bring back Capital Punishment for big crimes: Murder, Drug suppling, Armed Robbery, Child molesting."

    Perhaps you would also favour cutting off the hands of thieves, or public stonings for women accused of adultery? Your comments provide an excellent example of why issues relating to criminal prosecution should never be decided by referendum.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nice to see that Have Your Say continues to provide a platform for hard-liners everywhere.

  • Comment number 78.

    Jail does not work for the hardcore and indeed many other criminals in terms of their re-offending ... but there is an alternative ... sentence them to e.g. street cleaning/toilet cleaning.

    Thousands of part time workers in the UK have to clean toilets in order to survive and their wages are very low for providing this essential services.

    Much crime would stop if e.g a criminals were to face a sentnce of e.g. '5 years toilet cleaning' or be locked up. There are other more unpleasant but necessary jobs that can be considered.

    Criminals can be partly supervised by those who clean toilets now and be otherwise be denied some 'govt benefits' but paid e.g 50% of the basic minimum wage for their cleaning work, for their own income and otherwise be under curfew for their movements outside of working hours.

    Simples ... radical thinking needed ... criminals should repay their debt to society and be re-habilitated asap and there are some none too difficult and humane ways of achieving this, if some are prepared to 'think outside of the box'.

  • Comment number 79.

    BBC Question:

    What is the best way to cut crime and save money?
    _________________________________________________


    RESS Response:

    The best way to cut crime and save money is to solve the problem of Institutional Racism in employment.


    RESS (Race Equality Secret Service)

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    Just a note to all those expressing the desire for tougher sentences - they DO NOT work. All you have to do is to look across the water to the US to see that amply demonstrated. Why don't they work - again the answer is very simple. As a generalisation very few people will be deterred by tougher sentences as they simply do not commit the crime with the expectation of getting caught. So called 'minor' crimes, like using your handset whilst driving, have had their punishment increased with little or no effect on the offending rate. Simply because you don't expect to get caught. People rarely deliberately speed in front of a speed camera, thieves do their best not to leave evidence behind to identify them, bank robbers wear masks etc. Unless the detection rate improves stiffer sentences mean nothing.
    To have a chance at reducing crime you have to remove the need to commit a crime - more jobs, more facilities etc.
    You also have to improve social cohesion, which will need better schooling, greater parental responsibility, better multi-faith and ethnic integration etc.
    The improve the detection rate by the police which will need more police, better police / population understanding.
    Then you would need a legal system which has justice rather than the law at its heart
    Then you would need a system of rehabilitation rather than punishment for all offenders in order for them to be re-integrated into society rather than separated from it. It is this separation that encourages re-offending.
    Guess what all this will cost a lot of money a is beyond the political will of those not directly affected by crime.

    If you want to reduce the prison population start addressing the reasons people commit crimes. Letting them off with community service doesn't work and chaining them to a treadmill will not work either. Stop them opting out of society at a young age and you MAY just then get somewhere.

  • Comment number 82.

    What is the best way to cut crime and save money?

    Create a sytem of government/management accountability.
    I note that the people bleating about "saving money" are the very ones p*issing it away before billing us.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am involved in the judicial system and have a few observations on this subject.

    Many crimes are dealt with by sitting Magistrates and generally the quick and simple answer is to apply fines...

    Problem:

    Most offenders seem to be unemployed and on benefits. Benefits are paid through are taxes. Fines are payed by offenders through their Job seekers allowance. This in effect means that all of us are paying criminals to commit crimes!!

    Pretty radical I know but it's a fact!

    It would be cheaper to pay each offender £20 when they turn up at court and a hearty 'Don't do it again' instead of opening the court, using electricity, and employing countless staff etc.

    My solution to crime is simple.

    First offenders should spend a few hours locked in a cell. Sounds silly I know but you soon get the message that a cell is not a nice place to be!

    This may dissuade first time offending but not the hardier element.

    To deal with the habitual criminal you need to deprive them of something valuble in their life. Liberty is one but there is something else which we all seem to own and use every day...

    A Vehicle!!

    Deprived of a vehicle it would reduce their 'Street Cred' and as a bonus help reduce the number of vehicles on our roads!

    You don't need to take the vehicle away...Just clamp it using all the clamping firms that will soon be looking for work as new laws come in forbidding them to clamp on private land!

    As they commit more crime then we remove more from them...Mobile phones, Televisions, Computers...Yes they can replace these items but it would cost them to do so!...

    They may well commit more crime to get the money they need..but then you take away their liberty!!

    This means that we will only send the most serious offenders to prison which should cut down substantially on our prison population!

  • Comment number 84.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 85.

    I don't know and nor does anyone else to be honest. We have to try something though and I get tired of hearing people saying "that won't work" when they have no constructive suggestions to offer.

    Let's give a try - for a short period and carefully monitored.

    If it doesn't work then we need to try the exact opposite - no more holiday camp. No TV, no fraternising, prisoners work or their sentences increase (recycling refuse would be a good use of prisoner work time).

    At least preventing fraternisation would prevent prisoners from corrupting each other, reduce the incidence of STIs and drug use in prison and also reduce the controversial idea of a "homosexual holiday camp" for those from tough neighbourhoods who cannot indulge in homosexual behaviour any other way without being beaten to a pulp.

    On the other side there needs to be training at some stage and some way of progressing to work in society given the stigma of being in prison and how hard it is to find work with a criminal record. But... that may lead to a queue to get in! So perhaps on exit from prison they dovetail into existing training centres and continued attendance there is a condition of release.

    So basically, there cannot be an up-side to prison other than a hard road to rehabilitation

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    We do have an alternative to imprisonment. Capital punishment. This guarantees 0% personal reconviction rates.
    To be a deterrent, punishment must be swift and sure. Prison should not be an alternative life style allowing television, arts and crafts conjugal visits, etc. The key word is "criminal." Treat them as such,remembering that the punishment should be as cruel as the torment suffered by the victim.

  • Comment number 88.

    It so easy just imprison offenders for a proper sentence not slapped wrists dont do it again sonny !! make prisons a deterent not a rest home in the Caribbean they call prison the Free Hotel you do not want to go there twice !! The do good brigade have a lot top answer for , saving money should not come into it keep our streets safe.

  • Comment number 89.

    I think richer people should pay more policing tax. Bankers and fat cats CEOs need protection more than the rest of us.

  • Comment number 90.

    The one thing that most victims of crime would not object to, is money spent on new prisons and meaningful sentences. The watering down of punishment is eroding the public conception of justice! The constant harping on about punishment in the comunity - this obviously does not work either, so to be really cost effective, make prison meaningful and suficcently unplesant not to encourage repeat offending. Put in the hands of effective management, there is no doubt they could actually be run at a profit.

  • Comment number 91.

    Response to post #78 @11:33am on 28 Aug - 'nautonier'.

    Well, I won't quote 'nautonier'. Unfortunately, what I do question about the post it that it describes punishment suitable for criminals is to clean toilets?

    I'm sure that most intelligent HYS posters will recognise, is that thousands of decent working people clean toilets as part of their tax contribution to UK society?

    Furthermore, many health professionals clean toilets due to useless privated cleaning contracts to personally take responsibility for hygiene on hospital wards. Indeed, there is dignity provided 24/7 and 365 days of the year when a health professional will quietly wash and change a patient or client who may be experiencing difficulties with continence or problems with vomiting? Yes, patients experience that during treatment and care for endless health problems.

    We have to change our whole attitude to dignity? There is dignity and importance in hygiene, and ALL those who work behind the scenes, in whatever occupation. You may need them one day - more respect please?

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    5. At 08:36am on 28 Aug 2010, Rinc3wind wrote:
    Extremely simple. Bring back Capital Punishment for big crimes: Murder, Drug suppling, Armed Robbery, Child molesting.
    Get rid of this silly 'human rights' rubbish and focus on the victims of crimes and not the criminals. If you choose the criminal life, and it IS a choice, then expect to pay for it when caught.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's fine, so long as you dont mind being charged, found guilty & sentenced to death for a crime you didn't commit. Want to appeal? You can't - no human rights, remember? Oh, and if you think it can't happen, just look at Sally Clark.

  • Comment number 95.

    It it totaly floored to measure success of sentencing on re-offending.
    In 10 years Police experience I know it is only persistent offenders who are sent to prison after every other alternative has failed, or they are so prolifit it is needed to protect the public.
    Community sentences will always have a lower re-offending rate because more of the offenders are less prolific, are involved in minor offences infrequently and more inclined to live within the law.
    The measure should the the reduction in crime when a person is locked up. We have had a massive reduction in burglary and vehicle crime, because many of the prolific offenders are currently serving long sentences.

  • Comment number 96.

    People who insist that executing prisoners saves money would be in for a shock if they saw the figures from the United States. In Texas, the average death penalty case costs $2.3m. In Maryland, it's even higher: $3m. Executing a prisoner costs Texas 3 times what it would cost to incarcerate them in a maximum security facility for 40 years.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    I'm all for having a proper debate about capital punishment but please, let's have the facts right first. It's not as simple as just tying a rope around someone's neck and kicking a stool out from under them.

  • Comment number 97.

    92. At 12:26pm on 28 Aug 2010, you wrote:
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Formal Legal Rebuttal:

    Free Up The Prisoners.

  • Comment number 98.

    Post #01 'RichardGrey' has made me rethink and research the 'minimum wage'.

    What I, personally, mean by that is that although the 'minimum wage' in it's inception did improved basic wages initially - in the last 7 years, or so, of the Labour administration, I would suggest it has actually held down progress to a 'living wage' as prices/NI/income & council tax have risen exponentially faster and more divergent to what people on a minimum wage have struggled with?

  • Comment number 99.

    Government plans to lock up fewer criminals would not reduce offending or cut costs, a report says. I agree!
    Al this will do is reward criminals. Already we have seen a man who ran away to another country for 17 years return because he has been promised he will not be put in prison. I was appalled when he praised the new government on his return while critical of previous governments for insisting on letting the criminal justice system take its course. If they want to make them pay back the community, they can make them work while in prison and take payment back from the proceeds of their work.
    The only people who will be happy about more criminals allowed to roam freely in our streets are the criminals, because they will be able to continue with their terrorising of the law abiding majority.

  • Comment number 100.

    Deterence is the only answer. Laws must be adhered to and must be black and white with no grey. How can a certain footballer have 14 points on his licence and still be driving? How can an MP be caught doing 113 mph and still be driving? How come that private citizens can have a bodyguard armed with a hand gun, when they are against the law?
    Get real, if the police did their job, (or is it that they should be allowed to do the job), then we could rid the streets of the scum who flout the law.

 

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