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How should the prison system be changed?

15:48 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has outlined plans to end the "remorseless rise" in prisoner numbers by tackling the causes of reoffending. Do the plans go far enough?

In a Green Paper announced today, the justice secretary said there would be extra help to deal with inmates' drug and alcohol addiction and greater emphasis on treating mental illness and preparing those released from prison for a productive later life.

Sue Hall, chair of the Probation Chiefs Association, said "The reality is that straight punishment in prison may make the public feel better but it doesn't work in relation to reoffending."

What do you think of the planned reforms? Do you work within the prison system? Are too many people being sent to prison? Are community sentences an effective way to deal with reoffending?

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

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    To save money send them all to the salt mines in Russia or breaking up rocks in Serbia that way it will cost us nothing , Russia and Serbia benefit from the work and we will not have to worry about the prison poulation ever again !! SIMPLES ; and send Kenneth Clark to supervise it that way we get rid of him as well.

  • Comment number 2.

    The perception is that prisoners have it too easy, and you can see why if they have game rooms, TVs etc.

    Give them food, a bed and something productive (work/training but no wage) to do but remove all the "perks" and let us see how many decide to re-offend.

  • Comment number 3.

    Make prisons more like they were in Victorian times; horrific, and people may learn quickly not to offend/reoffend then. Today's prisons have too many incentives like gyms and it is hardly a punishment if prisoners have a better life inside than they do out of prison.

    I think it's around 70% (maybe more) of criminals who go on to reoffend, so in what way are prisons working? So they're surely not a deterrant. Make prison life so bad that they don't want to go back in.

  • Comment number 4.

    If the government are serious about reducing the amount of money spent in and on prisons then why not just cut out luxuries for inmates?

  • Comment number 5.

    MAKE prisons harder they are far to soft take alook at american prisons make them work .to pay back society there are to many do gooders sticking there noses in .

  • Comment number 6.

    And they're off!

    Who will be the first to reccomend a justice system ressembling Iranian Sharia law (hangings, floggings, mutilations etc) in all but name, whilst still managing to blame immigrants, and particularly people of other faiths for the need for such a draconian system in the first place?

  • Comment number 7.


    I suppose the 'bleeding heart Guardian reading liberals' will insist perpetrators of crime shouldn't face prison but be cuddled until they're good again!

    Bring it on, idiots!

  • Comment number 8.

    Bring back capital and corporal punishment, one never comes back for a second dose

  • Comment number 9.

    "This sounds like a private company takeover plan? Like The U.S.A. who is going to make a new industry in the U.K out of the criminals. who seem to be ever increasing in numbers in the U.K the Must be time to cut costs' by selling the prison service and the inmates to the highest bidder .

  • Comment number 10.

    Prisons should be hell holes. Prisons should be a deterrent against crime. Prisons should be there to punish criminals.

    Those repeat offenders should never be released from prison. If required, build new ones to keep criminals of the street. To many criminals are allowed to walk the streets and continue committing crimes; it's all wrong.

    As it stands today, the judicial system is a joke. Criminals are not punished because it affects their human rights. Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels. Criminals are treated better than we treat OAP's, and corrupt lawyers are making a mint from it, it must change.

  • Comment number 11.

    Prison should be a balance between punishment and rehabilitation. I also believe that any punishment should fit the crime. Any person convicted of a violent offence should be locked away for a long time, whereas those caught stealing (for instance) should be locked up for a shorter period during which time they should be treated for the addiction or mental illness that drove them to do the crime. People normally re-offend because they cannot get a job after leaving prison and the probation service ought to be able to work more closely with JobCentres to enable those leaving prison to find work.

    I am all for severely punishing those who deserve it, but equally in favour of rehabilitating those who don't.

  • Comment number 12.

    Don't agree with people who suggest making prisons 'Victorian' or what not. They're still people at the end of the day and should be treated as such, otherwise we're simply sinking to the same level. A basic yet acceptable level of standards must be observed.

    In my opinion, not enough is done to give offenders a second chance. It's too easy to reject someone from a job because they've committed a crime. It's no surprise therefore that a huge majority relapse into further crime. Education programmes are a must. So must be access to psychologists and other figures to help the transitition from inmate into socially productive.

    I would also like to see offenders pay back their victims wherever possible - especially on repeat offending. Take it out of any future wages like tax if needbe. Most people can do time but they can't do lack of money.

  • Comment number 13.

    "
    1. At 4:23pm on 07 Dec 2010, Ken B wrote:
    "

    I like it. Should do wonders for our exports!

  • Comment number 14.

    Tackle the cause of reoffending?

    Since the probable cause of crime is the lack of money are we all going to get a pay rise? Better still, do away with money all together.

  • Comment number 15.

    Lets stop all this pc nonsense where the do-gooders are there on the side of the crim.

    I reckon we should be going back to proper prisons, cold floors, slop buckets, solitary and sod all this gym, internet, wall to wall carpets and 3 square meals a day.

    People who break our laws should NOT have any luxury. This is something that infuriates me. Myra Hindley allegedly had her own tv, carpets, money in the bank....... and that poor woman Keith Bennets mum hadnt even been able to bury her son.

  • Comment number 16.

    Why not look at other European countries where percentage of re offending is a lot lower than in this country and copy them, rather than always sycophantically copying America (god help us!) for no other reason than to lend weight to the dubious special relationship. I know mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery but I wouldn't want to be one.

  • Comment number 17.

    #3. At 4:25pm on 07 Dec 2010, profoundGemma16 wrote:
    Make prisons more like they were in Victorian times; horrific, and people may learn quickly not to offend/reoffend then. Today's prisons have too many incentives like gyms and it is hardly a punishment if prisoners have a better life inside than they do out of prison.

    I think it's around 70% (maybe more) of criminals who go on to reoffend, so in what way are prisons working? So they're surely not a deterrant. Make prison life so bad that they don't want to go back in.

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

    That is all very well, but it did not stop the Victorian criminals re-offending. Lack of employment and poverty was the reason then, just as it is now along with the closure of mental hospitals and drug/alcohol addiction.

  • Comment number 18.

    "
    9. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:

    "This sounds like a private company takeover plan? Like The U.S.A. who is going to make a new industry in the U.K out of the criminals.
    "

    So long as the criminals are kept off the streets for ever, I don't care who runs the prisons. If it takes private company, fine by me.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    (Makes a cup of coffee, gets comfy, and waits for the Hangers & Floggers Show to begin.)

  • Comment number 21.

    When I was a naughty boy in 1966, the magistrates finaly decided they had given me enough chances (fines) and decided to teach me a lesson by
    giving me 6 months in prison.
    This was for an offence that today would only recieve a caution or a community order.
    I spent the first 6 weeks of my sentence in the High security Leicester Welford Road Prison which had been built in Victorian times.
    There were no TV's or toilets in cells, no phone calls allowed, visits only for 1 hour every month and a rather strict regime.
    It was in many ways the same as portrayed in the series "Porridge" but without the humour.
    I had 23 hours a day locked in my cell to contemplate the error of my ways and decided I had no wish to return to prison after my release.
    In hindsight I relaised that the magistrates had done me a favour by sending me to prison as for the ladt 44 years I have led an honest and decent life.
    Make the prison experience similar to that which I recieved and I'm sure a lot more people would be determined NOT to reoffend.
    I was never ill-treated in prison but neither was I pampered.

  • Comment number 22.

    "
    7. At 4:34pm on 07 Dec 2010, won_hung_lo wrote:


    I suppose the 'bleeding heart Guardian reading liberals' will insist perpetrators of crime shouldn't face prison but be cuddled until they're good again!

    Bring it on, idiots!
    "
    The same people that allow this to happen.

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/215943/-Don-t-offend-offenders-
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/215671/Jail-guards-are-ordered-to-call-gang-boss-Mr-

  • Comment number 23.

    "
    17. At 4:42pm on 07 Dec 2010, mofro wrote:

    #3. At 4:25pm on 07 Dec 2010, profoundGemma16 wrote:
    Make prisons more like they were in Victorian times; horrific, and people may learn quickly not to offend/reoffend then. Today's prisons have too many incentives like gyms and it is hardly a punishment if prisoners have a better life inside than they do out of prison.

    I think it's around 70% (maybe more) of criminals who go on to reoffend, so in what way are prisons working? So they're surely not a deterrant. Make prison life so bad that they don't want to go back in.

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

    That is all very well, but it did not stop the Victorian criminals re-offending. Lack of employment and poverty was the reason then, just as it is now along with the closure of mental hospitals and drug/alcohol addiction.
    "

    Oh right, it's socities fault.

  • Comment number 24.

    Interesting how this has come about because of lack of money. If the economy was still booming the government would still be locking people up without a second thought. Why not look at the real reason there is so much crime - lack of opportunity!

  • Comment number 25.

    It is not curious that Ken Clarke, Justice Minister, has yet to appear and be interviewed by Andrew Marr - the softer option to Jeremy Paxman?

    Yes, indeed, the most disturbing aspect of the power of Ken Clarke as Justice Minister, is that he is consistently 'unavailable' to the questions of the electorate?

    The Justice Minister may be surprised to know that the electorate have little respect for egotistical journalists - however, Ken Clarke has been too busy, yet too silent for too long.

    Well, Justice Minister, Ken Clarke, the electorate pay your salary - yet Ken Clarke - you appear to be hiding from the people. Also, you have yet to appear or answer questions on any respected political program. Why is that? Are you, Ken Clarke, Justice Minister, too good to be publicly questioned in front of the public?

  • Comment number 26.

    10. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    Prisons should be hell holes. Prisons should be a deterrent against crime. Prisons should be there to punish criminals.

    Those repeat offenders should never be released from prison. If required, build new ones to keep criminals of the street. To many criminals are allowed to walk the streets and continue committing crimes; it's all wrong.

    As it stands today, the judicial system is a joke. Criminals are not punished because it affects their human rights. Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels. Criminals are treated better than we treat OAP's, and corrupt lawyers are making a mint from it, it must change.


    Hear hear

  • Comment number 27.

    But seriously, would anyone like to hazard a guess where the two most expensive places are in the UK if you fancy an overnight stay? The Dorchester? The Ritz? Wrong. The first is in a hospital intensive care ward. The second is in prison.

    To all of you who advocate locking 'em up and throwing away the key, and when the prisons are full building more prisons, I would say: do you want to pay for it with your pensions, do you want to pay for it with the education of your children, or would you rather pay for it with your healthcare? No, I expect you lot would rather just hang 'em and be done with it, wouldn't you?

  • Comment number 28.

    The Government says that 10% of prisoners are foreign nationals.
    Deport them all now. Job done. New legislation will be required : Deport on first offence. That'll get rid of some 8000 and Clark only wanted to reduce the prison population by 3000.

  • Comment number 29.

    If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.

  • Comment number 30.

    As someone who is responsible for over 500 individuals ending up in prison (rightly in most cases) perhaps I might offer a comment.

    This debate will of course produce the standard ill informed and vitriolic ranters,of the school, that hanging is too good for them and why can't we bring back deportation ilk.There are probably some already posting as they jump on this sort of debate like flies onto the stuff flies normally jump on!

    The truth disgusted of Tunbridge Wells etc is that at least 10,000 prisoners at any given time over 50,000 per year are in prison for non payment of fines,ie the court has awarded a non custodial sentence but failure to pay has converted this not into an alternative non custodial sentence but incarceration.
    These Short periods of imprisonment inevitably cost the country more than the fine would have generated if paid and are of absolutely no benefit in rehabilitating offenders,let's face it if you end up in prison for parking on a double yellow line or failing to get planning permission for a conservatory (2 genuine cases) you are hardly likely to hold the system in high regard.

    The single biggest reason for imprisonment of women in this country is for non payment of a fine imposed for not having a TV Licence.


    A simple (not simples this isn't a car insurance or small mammal observation site) start to a solution would be if courts wish to offer a non custodial sentence they as far as is practicable refrain from the use of fines, in addition in no circumstances should a fine imposed simply for failing to fund the BBC result in imprisonment.

    The practice of jailing children either in youth custody or detention centres should be banned,it is in virtually every other country in Europe.

    In addition imprisoning individuals for offences relating to possession,not supply of drugs is equally pointless,the issue should be treated as one of public health concern,in most countries this form of self abuse is not an offence.


    These measures would reduce the prison population back to the size it was in the early 80's as crime levels now are pretty much the same this is entirely consistent with justice and the public's perceived need to punish offenders

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    So far this discussion sounds like the old style Tory party's hang em and flog em brigade.

    Unfortunately we are not likely to get any informed leadership from Maggie's former poodle, Kenneth Clarke, whose only objective is to save money.

    So keep it cheap.
    Minor crimes - a thick ear and busted lip around the back of the police station.
    Serious crimes - flog em within an inch of their lives.
    More serious - the rope.

    Now can we move on as nothing can be added to these suggestions without raising costs.
    Although there should be enough cash for another Coalition Quango on re-offending, with the usual experts with BBC twangy/nasal voices.

    Meanwhile...anyone care to blame Israel for rising crime?

  • Comment number 33.

    "Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels."
    Written by someone who has never spent any time in a prison. This subject will exercise a few hobbyhorses.
    An interesting statistic, 50% of children put in care will end up in prison. Another one to mull over, 60% of inmates are functionally illiterate.
    The trouble is any schemes designed to prevent people from entering a life of crime or to reduce re-offending is attacked by the right-wing media and politicians looking for an easy headline.

  • Comment number 34.

    16. At 4:41pm on 07 Dec 2010, moreram wrote:
    Why not look at other European countries where percentage of re offending is a lot lower than in this country and copy them
    --------------------

    Let's look at France they have a lower number of prisomers than us with a similar population. Sounds good. They don't have enough prison space so once found guilty a prisoner provided it isn't a very serious offence goes on a waiting list. They then wait at home until their number comes up. What a surprise, many commit more crime or simply disappear, still keeps the numbers down
    Before we are too ready to accept that every one does things better lets get the real facts. The difference is the French and other countries don't constantly critise their systems as we do and their press is certainly less critical

    We are being warmed up for private take over of the service but I bet the Kinsella family feel let down

  • Comment number 35.

    10. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote.
    As it stands today, the judicial system is a joke. Criminals are not punished because it affects their human rights. Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels. Criminals are treated better than we treat OAP's, and corrupt lawyers are making a mint from it, it must change.

    I agree about the judicial system being a joke and about the lawyers.
    It appears that many laws are made vague and shrouded in Jargon to ensure that the legal proffession make a lot of money argueing over the interpretation of those laws.
    The farce with Dipstick Stone having to be called MR is just a prime example of the lengths som e lawers will stoop to make money.
    Call him by what he is, a cowardly mobster with no morals.
    Whoops, I wonder if I will now get a writ from some lawyer sueing me for deformation of Dipsticks character.

  • Comment number 36.

    Start by locking up the dangerous - rapists and murderers - properly for life (or executing them... but then given the current number of poor judgements that may not be sensible) and NOT locking up old ladies who don't pay their council tax.

    It is terrible the way 'justice' in this country seems to depend on whether you robbed the tax man or the rich, or whether you killed a poor old man in the corner we don't care about. It also then seems further skewed by whether you are famous/rich - if you are then you'll get away with just about everything.

  • Comment number 37.

    "
    29. At 4:52pm on 07 Dec 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.
    "

    Not to mention free Open University courses.

    There are way too many criminals in open prisons, which pretty much amounts to freedom. What amazes me is the crimes some of those in open prisons have committed, it's no wonder so many do runners.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lets stop all this pc nonsense where the do-gooders are there on the side of the crim.

    I reckon we should be going back to proper prisons, cold floors, slop buckets, solitary and sod all this gym, internet, wall to wall carpets and 3 square meals a day.

    People who break our laws should NOT have any luxury. This is something that infuriates me. Myra Hindley allegedly had her own tv, carpets, money in the bank....... and that poor woman Keith Bennets mum hadnt even been able to bury her son.


    -----------
    There was only one Myra Hindley she died, rightly, in custody, there are thousands of women repeatedly imprisoned for such heinous crimes as non payment of a TV licence fine and soliciting to pay for a drugs habbit.

    None of these are Hindley!

    But you go on believing that our prisons are Holiday parks filled with crazed psychopaths if you like.

    Precisely how many prisons have you been in?

  • Comment number 39.

    I heard that K Clark wants to reduce the prison population by about 3,000, from some 80,000 plus,by using some sort of new stronger type of community service. This new type of service my help stop re-offending. I can only think that this is a great way of helping some offenders.
    The budget for the prison service,like every other dept is being reduced,to help pay the deficit.
    I have a better way to reduce costs, send home all the 10,000 plus non- uk residents , to serve their sentences in their own countries

  • Comment number 40.

    My post is awaiting further moderation because I made a mild joke about the BBC bias on something.

    Here is a tame version:
    This topic is is releasing the usual Tory hang em flog em rant. Do not expect any leadership from Maggie Thatcher's protege, Kenneth Clarke, who will only be looking for cuts in expenses.
    Here are a few suggestions to keep costs down.
    Minor and first offences: thick ear and bloody nose behind the police station.
    More serious: flog them within an inch of their lives
    Very serious: the rope.

    OK moderator...I guess this is what you want from the public.

  • Comment number 41.

    Stop making excuses for criminals and lock them up. Make prison a very unpleasant experience rather than the holiday camp it currently is.

  • Comment number 42.

    Buy a few redundant oil tankers and convert them into prison ships, remove all their stabilisation features then moor them in international waters. Either that or something similar which was portrayed in the film Face Off. LOL

  • Comment number 43.

    A simple and effective way to deal with re-offenders...........
    "The three strike rule", three strikes and your shot!

  • Comment number 44.

    Community sentences are appropriate for white-collar crimes and lesser offences that have not resulted in criminal damage to property or people.

    Handing them out to vicious career criminals in the vain hope that somehow they and counselling sessions with do-gooders and psychiatrists will convert them into decent, law-abiding citizens borders on utter naivety. Repeat offenders must be given the kind of punishment that makes them never want to return to prison; take away every conceivable comfort, deny them their mobile telephones, regular drug supplies and lavish sports facilities, and make them cook their own meals, just as those on the outside have to every day.

    If that doesn't change their way of thinking, then flog them with a birch. And it's no use someone crying "foul" for barbaric treatment - if alternative forms of punishment really worked, we wouldn't have the overcrowded prisons we have today.

    Society has become too weak-minded to deal with hardened criminals who, with good legal assistance, are able to pull the wool over the eyes of the courts and juries. The sooner we get back to handing out punishment that fits the crime the better.

  • Comment number 45.

    "
    27. At 4:51pm on 07 Dec 2010, Revolution not evolution wrote:

    But seriously, would anyone like to hazard a guess where the two most expensive places are in the UK if you fancy an overnight stay? The Dorchester? The Ritz? Wrong. The first is in a hospital intensive care ward. The second is in prison.

    To all of you who advocate locking 'em up and throwing away the key, and when the prisons are full building more prisons, I would say: do you want to pay for it with your pensions, do you want to pay for it with the education of your children, or would you rather pay for it with your healthcare? No, I expect you lot would rather just hang 'em and be done with it, wouldn't you?
    "

    We already spend huge sums of money on prisons, but we spend loads of it making prisons "nice", "comfortable" and "pleasant" for the criminals. In any case, keeping the repeat offenders off the streets for ever, would pay for itself in the long run.

  • Comment number 46.

    "
    31. At 4:52pm on 07 Dec 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    America has the longest prison sentences in the West, yet the only condition long sentences demonstrably cure is heterosexuality.
    "

    So what?

    When they get their 3rd strike, they know they won't be a 4th.

  • Comment number 47.

    "
    32. At 4:53pm on 07 Dec 2010, Dr Llareggub wrote:

    So far this discussion sounds like the old style Tory party's hang em and flog em brigade.
    "

    Let's hope so.

  • Comment number 48.

    The Government says that 10% of prisoners are foreign nationals.
    Deport them all now. Job done. New legislation will be required : Deport on first offence. That'll get rid of some 8000 and Clark only wanted to reduce the prison population by 3000.

    ---------------
    There are thousands of UK nationals in prison abroad many for serious offences including ,murder, rape and predatory paedophilia,I presume you would not object to these individuals being dumped on a plane and turning up unescorted at Heathrow Airport,because without a mutual prisoner transfer arrangement this is precisely what you ill conceived notion would result in.

  • Comment number 49.

    Has anyone thought that the lengthy sentences handed out to canoeists who disappeaar and those whose crime is against the banks and financial organizations is really necessary? It is not like mugging and raping is it.

    Oh Dear. That should bring out all the defenders of the money class with their extended arguments to show just how evil it is to rip off banks.

  • Comment number 50.

    3. At 4:25pm on 07 Dec 2010, profoundGemma16 wrote:
    "I think it's around 70% (maybe more) of criminals who go on to reoffend, so in what way are prisons working? So they're surely not a deterrant. Make prison life so bad that they don't want to go back in."

    Prisons aren't working. That's exactly what Ken Clarke is saying. However, taking conditions back to Victorian times isn't the answer either. The flaw in "deterrent" argument is that criminals don't think that they will get caught. Even if they've been caught before, they think they won't be the next time. The key to reducing crime is to stop the reoffending rate. To do that isn't to make prison more horrible. You have to try to provide the offender with an alternative to a life of crime, which is what Ken is proposing. He's talking sense, and I don't normally agree with Tories!

  • Comment number 51.

    Ken Clarke has no idea. He really ought to talk to ... sorry ... listen to people who work with prisoners and ex-prisoners before he spouts.

    A critical point is the day on which a prisoner is released. Many have no home to go to and if they are not housed immediately i.e. for that first night, they´ll go to their pals and are more likely to slip back into the old pattern.

  • Comment number 52.

    We could just rename the Westminster Village to HMP Westminster and put bars on the windows - that should solve all our nations problems and reduce crime most significantly!

  • Comment number 53.

    Britain does not know what true justice is! Our feather weight implementation of justice is a laughing stock in our world. The main reason that these criminals reoffend, is that they get x 3 meals a day, a warm cell, TV plus games to play and watch, courses to attend ...if they want to..So why come out to lose all these "home comforts" when reoffending comes naturally. Why work when your friends are in a big happy club and they are all "mates together" Drugs, mobile telephones when you can call outside at any time to take care of the "nasties" that you want to get rid off! And no one to bother you except remind the prison staff to call you "Sir or Mister"
    I want to see our prisons dramatically changed into American boot type camps or Russian/Turkish work camps for them all, so it would alleviate boredom, give them something to think about, whether or not it is worth re-offending, or should they re-offend to return to the water and bread diet with a stoney mattress. If your good you may get straw if you behave yourself. As someone said...send Ken Clarke to supervise them then we can get rid of him also.

  • Comment number 54.

    Tougher prisons will create tougher criminals. Is that what you want. When you find that you have cornered a criminal in your home you will most likely be murdered rather him giving up. You all seem to forget one thing criminals don't expect to get caught. They think they can get away with it otherwise they would not commit the crime, and if they are committed to one of the tough prisons they will become more of a menace than before. I could speculate and say this is why the U.S. has to have a harsh regime, is because the prisoners are more brutalized and lose all sense of responsibility towards the public at large. This is why crime in the U.S. is more viscous than in Europe. In Europe they are not so determined to break the criminal and make them suffer for what could be a minor crime. Anyone out there able to compare punishment for a specific crime in America as opposed to the E.U. and see what the results are. I have to go out now and pick up "She who makes me afraid" from work so I am not able at this time to research my query.

  • Comment number 55.

    48. At 5:14pm on 07 Dec 2010, steve wrote:

    The Government says that 10% of prisoners are foreign nationals.
    Deport them all now. Job done. New legislation will be required : Deport on first offence. That'll get rid of some 8000 and Clark only wanted to reduce the prison population by 3000.

    ---------------
    There are thousands of UK nationals in prison abroad many for serious offences including ,murder, rape and predatory paedophilia,I presume you would not object to these individuals being dumped on a plane and turning up unescorted at Heathrow Airport,because without a mutual prisoner transfer arrangement this is precisely what you ill conceived notion would result in.
    ---------------

    Speaking for myself I would prefer it if they were executed. What use are predatory paedophiles, rapists and murders to the UK? Just a waste of benefits money should they return and a danger to society.

  • Comment number 56.

    10. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    "Prisons should be hell holes. Prisons should be a deterrent against crime. Prisons should be there to punish criminals.

    Those repeat offenders should never be released from prison. If required, build new ones to keep criminals of the street. To many criminals are allowed to walk the streets and continue committing crimes; it's all wrong.

    As it stands today, the judicial system is a joke. Criminals are not punished because it affects their human rights. Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels. Criminals are treated better than we treat OAP's, and corrupt lawyers are making a mint from it, it must change."

    An extract from "How to write for the Daily Mail" Chapter 4 - Hanging's to Good for 'Em.

  • Comment number 57.

    Prison is too easy.
    Take away the games and tv.
    Provide basic rations of bland food.
    No books, no entertainment, only the basics required for living.
    No drugs, no visitations.

    By making it punishing, you'll make people afraid to go back.
    Part of the problem is prison officers wh want to keep prisoners entertained and subdued to give them an easy life.

  • Comment number 58.

    Bring Back the Death Sentance, maybe then offenders would think twice

  • Comment number 59.

    Bottom line: crime pays. Whilst it does people will exploit their skills and break the law. We are only jailing the poor performing criminal, and they look on jail as a training academy.

    To break the cycle you have to break the need. Start with legalising drugs which is why most of the prisons are full.

    About making jail harsher - have a feeling the EU would have a thing or two to say about that.

  • Comment number 60.

    52. At 5:20pm on 07 Dec 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:

    We could just rename the Westminster Village to HMP Westminster and put bars on the windows - that should solve all our nations problems and reduce crime most significantly!

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

    Sound idea then we could replace them with people who would look after the interests of UK.

  • Comment number 61.

    By makeing the prisons places to be afraid of being sent to. That is the best way to reduce re-offenders.

  • Comment number 62.

    46. At 5:12pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:

    "
    31. At 4:52pm on 07 Dec 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    America has the longest prison sentences in the West, yet the only condition long sentences demonstrably cure is heterosexuality.
    "

    So what?

    When they get their 3rd strike, they know they won't be a 4th.


    Not necessarily, it very much depends on what crime they have committed and which State they are in.

  • Comment number 63.

    MOFRO wrote

    That is all very well, but it did not stop the Victorian criminals re-offending. Lack of employment and poverty was the reason then, just as it is now along with the closure of mental hospitals and drug/alcohol addiction.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now we're getting somewhere. Real jobs, real wages, would deter many from ever offending, most offenders see no way out of the poverty trap our slave labour system enjoys, while there is such a division between the rich and poor in society the prison population will continue to soar. Real jobs are whats needed not earnings topped up through the tax credit system.

  • Comment number 64.

    56. At 5:23pm on 07 Dec 2010, Dominic wrote:

    10. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    "Prisons should be hell holes. Prisons should be a deterrent against crime. Prisons should be there to punish criminals.

    Those repeat offenders should never be released from prison. If required, build new ones to keep criminals of the street. To many criminals are allowed to walk the streets and continue committing crimes; it's all wrong.

    As it stands today, the judicial system is a joke. Criminals are not punished because it affects their human rights. Prisons have more facilities than some country clubs, they are like hotels. Criminals are treated better than we treat OAP's, and corrupt lawyers are making a mint from it, it must change."

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

    An extract from "How to write for the Daily Mail" Chapter 4 - Hanging's to Good for 'Em.

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

    What Kuradi says sounds more like good common sense to me and many others also I wouldn't mind betting. Guardian readers and criminals should be put on a remote island together.

  • Comment number 65.

    The only way to stop the continuing rise in the prison population is by -
    1. Give offenders longer sentences instead of "holiday" sentences.
    2. Stop mollycodling them when they are in prison.
    3. Make prisons a place to avoid at all costs.

    What the do-gooders in today's society forget, is prisoners are in prison as a punishment for offending against society !

  • Comment number 66.

    52. At 5:20pm on 07 Dec 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote: We could just rename the Westminster Village to HMP Westminster and put bars on the windows - that should solve all our nations problems and reduce crime most significantly!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Locking up the politicians would reduce crime, but do they need such a large building. Six hundred MPs could fit into two or three of the barges on the Thames where they could function as galley slaves, rowing up and down the river watched by tourists who would gladly pay for photographs.
    As for the building. Suggestions welcome. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is a worthwhile charity and the animals would enjoy the Westminster Dog's home. Come to think of it I would prefer to hear dogs barking in the Commons than the bleating, braying liars we have to listen to each day.

  • Comment number 67.

    I dont know why i bother to comment u never print my letters .

  • Comment number 68.

    48. At 5:14pm on 07 Dec 2010, steve wrote:

    The Government says that 10% of prisoners are foreign nationals.
    Deport them all now. Job done. New legislation will be required : Deport on first offence. That'll get rid of some 8000 and Clark only wanted to reduce the prison population by 3000.

    ---------------
    There are thousands of UK nationals in prison abroad many for serious offences including ,murder, rape and predatory paedophilia,I presume you would not object to these individuals being dumped on a plane and turning up unescorted at Heathrow Airport,because without a mutual prisoner transfer arrangement this is precisely what you ill conceived notion would result in.
    ---------------

    Speaking for myself I would prefer it if they were executed. What use are predatory paedophiles, rapists and murders to the UK? Just a waste of benefits money should they return and a danger to society.

    ----

    Would you suggest that the thousands of UK nationals imprisoned for lesser offences abroad were also executed,how about those imprisoned where the judicial process is flawed or non existent? Should we accept their deaths as a justifiable price?
    So not only do you wish to deport prisoners who have committed crimes here without consideration for the countries they are returning to but you also wish to dictate how other countries punish crimes.

    If you can't see the flaws in your logic it is because there is no logic there in the first place!

  • Comment number 69.

    There are are number of really naive statements being made.

    We haven't managed to resolve the problems of drug and alcohol addiction in society in general so what revolutionary ideas are there that will resolve these issues within the criminal fraternity? Those with serious mental problems should not be within the normal prison system anyway.

    And, apparently imprisoning people doesn't deter them from from re-offending. I wonder why? Could it be that prison life is too comfortable to provide any kind of deterrent? Could it be that the proceeds of criminal activity provide a much more comfortable lifestyle than these people can hope to achieve by any legal means? Could it be that they enjoy the 'thrill' of their criminal activity? Probably all of the above.

    And, Community Service Orders are a complete waste of time providing no useful deterrent or rehabilitation.

    The simple facts are that addicts can only be successfully 'cured' if they have a real desire to be cured. Any ex-smoker will tell you that. I would suggest that the majority of those who re-offend do so because it is their preferred option and the consequences of being caught are not sufficiently severe. Finding low paid jobs and attempting to rehabilitate most of these people may make a lot of people feel better but the reality is that it doesn't work.

  • Comment number 70.

    10. At 4:36pm on 07 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    "Prisons should be hell holes.

    ------------------------------------
    Prisons used to be hell hole, not only did this not stop crime it was also at a time when crime was higher then it is now.

  • Comment number 71.

    67. At 5:50pm on 07 Dec 2010, mavis wrote:

    I dont know why i bother to comment u never print my letters .
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm not surprised if this is all you have to say

  • Comment number 72.

    Statistics vary, but at present they suggest that between 3% and 10% of the British prison population are ex-forces personnel.

    So the prison population could be reduced by discouraging young men and women from joining the armed forces.

  • Comment number 73.

    I have never thought about becoming a career criminal but like all jobs they are begining to become less available as Ken Clarke (who is he?) is doing his utmost to stop this career being available. They are not advertised at my local job centre, and they do not have the appropriate forms for application. I am unemployed and living on benefits so I could see my relief in being an inmate (is that what you call them?) I would give up my house, be in a self-contained heated room, have my meals cooked for me , TV if i want, a Gym to exercise in better than Bannantynes. A choice of courses that I could attend or not. The thought about all of this is that it does not cost me a penny but I simply follow the directions of these people in uniforms as they require. I can also get as much time off as I want. WOW! no work, heating bills, council taxes to pay, This seems a worthwhile job I wish I could find an application form...Does anyone know Ken Clarke's telephone number?

  • Comment number 74.

    I notice the rug biting ranters are out there with their crazed demands to return to deportation hard labour and slopping out,you would judge from their comments that the UK prisons are packed with psychopathic axe murderers living in luxury.

    Reality check the most common reason for imprisonment in the UK is for shoplifting,the second non payment of fines,the third possession of drugs.

    The proportion of lifers in prison at any one time is of course higher than the percentage of their crimes (as they are there longer) and represents less than 1% of admissions per year and around 10% of the prison population.
    Most prisoners are locked up for 20+ hours a day, many suffer from serious mental health problems, many are functionally illiterate.

    The suicide rate in prison is over 5 times that in the general population,it's no joke being locked up.



  • Comment number 75.

    Well, while the debate about prisons is interesting BBC, I personally think you might be a little premature in closing the Wikileaks debate...do you think this story is dead now? I think its just beginning.

  • Comment number 76.

    8.
    "Bring back capital and corporal punishment, one never comes back for a second dose"

    your absolutely right sir, i was hanged in 1950 and it never done me any harm.

    t evans

  • Comment number 77.

    I'd love to have anyone who seems to think that all prisons are nothing more than luxurious hotels, with great perks and lovely neighbours spend a few months in there to test the theory. If they're as great as these folk make out then what's the problem? After all, you get a TV and a carpet, and free food! Wow, sign me up!

    Now I've no idea what prisons are like, or how "cushy" they are. But I very much doubt people are committing crimes so that they can get banged up and have another go on Wii Fit before settling down to watch "Bargain Hunt"...

  • Comment number 78.

    It's really terrible that the poor old British state has to pay good dosh to keep people who have committed serious crimes in prison in order to punish them (at least, I think that's the idea) when it so desperately needs the money to plug the enormous deficit created by its thirty-year devotion to a failed economic ideology. Still, maybe the government could issue advice to judges not to unnecessarily refuse bail to foreign citizens not yet convicted of any crime on a dodgy politically-motivated warrant from a US client state. After all, we know what the US thinks of Britain now...

  • Comment number 79.

    "How should the prison system be changed?"

    Instead of sending them to prison in the UK we should export our criminals to other EU member states....

  • Comment number 80.

    71. At 6:10pm on 07 Dec 2010, Sickofpoliticians wrote: 67. At 5:50pm on 07 Dec 2010, mavis wrote:

    I dont know why i bother to comment u never print my letters .
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm not surprised if this is all you have to say
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mavis. I am on your side here. To get published you have to hit the right targets. Bash Blair or the Coalition, be in favour of the austerity scam, you know, go on about how the country has to pay off large debts caused by the previous government. And on this topic you have a super choice: dream up harsh punishments to deter offenders, or find out about some country where they do it better. But above all, do not attempt to say anything original or too critical of the political classes.

  • Comment number 81.

    Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, and his Green Paper. Next step - White Paper? Who knows?

    What is Ken Clarke doing? What is his title. Justice Secretary or Justice Minister or does he, himself know.

    More importantly, Ken Clarke is an invisible Minister who is exceptionally well-paid by tax-payers and responsible for Justice and, presumably, crime?

    Who knows? What is Ken Clarke paid for by us, and why is he never been interviewed since the ConDoms (ConDems) came to power?

  • Comment number 82.

    Tell the TRUTH! It will set us all FREE!

  • Comment number 83.

    68. At 5:55pm on 07 Dec 2010, steve wrote:

    "Would you suggest that the thousands of UK nationals imprisoned for lesser offences abroad were also executed?"


    No just the predatory paedophiles, rapists and murderers as I originaly stated.


    "How about those imprisoned where the judicial process is flawed or non existent? Should we accept their deaths as a justifiable price?"

    George Davis is innocent okay was plastered all over the East end. We all know how that one worked out. A few weeks after release he was caught on another armed robbery.

    Guardian readers always think everybody is innocent. Pity they don't spend a quarter of the time protecting the rights of criminals victims that they spend on protecting the rights of criminals.

    "So not only do you wish to deport prisoners who have committed crimes here without consideration for the countries they are returning to but you also wish to dictate how other countries punish crimes."

    Not at all that is what you say. What I said was I would prefer it if other countries executed our predatory paedophiles, rapists and murderers rather than returning them to us. I said nothing about compelling them to do so.

  • Comment number 84.

    A common theme of the postings on this HYS are along the lines of Hang em Flog em Kill em Export the problem.

    The fact remains and has been said by at least one sensible person, the majority of prisoners are in prison for default on fines, usually something trivial. TV licence, or a non payment of a Traffic offence fine.

    How crazy does it have to get that we lock people up, destroy entire families and lives for the sake a of a few paltry pounds?

    And to cap it all the majority of women in prison are there for not buying a TV licence and being caught.

    The BBC has a lot to answer for and it is to it's shame that it allows the enforcement of licence fees to this extent.

    I personally don't have a licence, and yes BBC you have my email address, please feel free to email me, and I will provide an address where you can send your Gestapo.

  • Comment number 85.

    It is so easy to recommend some return to the horrific experience of Victorian imprisonment and capital punishment. It would seem logical that fear of such things would be a real deterrent. The trouble is that it wasn't. Crime of all kinds was if anything worse then. The argument falls apart and becomes the refuge of lazy thinking.

    The liberal position is justifiably lampooned as molly coddling but somewhere there is an understanding that punishment and imprisonment have their place and are entirely necessary but they are not the answer. They are a holding position at best. If you manage through fear alone you will not succeed, you have to find the other side, the one that really motivates.

  • Comment number 86.

    The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke is to be priased for re-examining our response to crime. There needs to be punishment and it needs to be a deterent.

    Drug and alcohol addiction treatments are not cheap how are these treatments going to be funded in these days of austerity?

    "Sue Hall, chair of the Probation Chiefs Association, said "The reality is that straight punishment in prison may make the public feel better but it doesn't work in relation to reoffending."" NO if the defendant has murdered punishment in prison prevents them doing it again!

    What do you think of the planned reforms? I understand it and want it to work - I have my doubts!


  • Comment number 87.

    There is a great evil in this nation today - I think the wrong people might be in prison and the real criminals might just be running the country!

    Tell the TRUTH BBC - It will set you free!

  • Comment number 88.

    7. At 4:34pm on 07 Dec 2010, won_hung_lo wrote:

    I suppose the 'bleeding heart Guardian reading liberals' will insist perpetrators of crime shouldn't face prison but be cuddled until they're good again!

    Bring it on, idiots!

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

    Good to see an early appearance of the usual HYS trick of building a "loony left" opponent out of straw and knocking him down effortlessly.

    In response to some of the other comments, the Victorian system was harsh, but that wasn't perfect either. There's a wonderful book called 'The Victorian Underworld' by Kellow Chesney which details just how much criminality there was.






  • Comment number 89.

    There is no simple solution otherwise it would have been introduced years ago. If we look at the causes of crime it is simple minded and somewhat insulting to poor people to say it is just down to poverty. There are lots of reasons for crime. Some people are greedy some are just plain evil. Our weak justice system which has no sanctions against shoplifters attracts criminal gangs from abroad and mischievous left wing lawyers move heaven and earth to stop us kicking them out. We have very high crime rates in the UK compared to other countries. We need to look at why that is and what sort of people are committing crime. Let's learn lesson from abroad. The Italians and French kick out foreign criminal gangs, it is crazy for us to not do the same otherwise they will all end up here.

  • Comment number 90.

    75. At 6:19pm on 07 Dec 2010, The Ghosts of John Galt wrote:
    Well, while the debate about prisons is interesting

    Having said that they want to reduce the number of people being locked up, how do they justify locking up people whose supposed crimes did not even happen in this country? Or maybe it's not up to our government how we run our justice and penal systems, maybe someone else's government is responsible for it.

  • Comment number 91.

    You know the constituent parts of the UK should have their own HYS as this is dominated by subjects which have nothing to do with my country but are purely English in scope. What is galling is the the BBC which is meant to be representative of the whole UK continues to perpetrate the myth that English issues are British issues and the only way forward.

    Start showing some respect.

  • Comment number 92.

    At 4:41pm on 07 Dec 2010, moreram wrote:
    What a good idea. We need to have a radical think about which crimes should lead to imprisonment, and violent crimes are obviously top of the list. There are quite a few people out here who have wilfully collaborated to enrich themselves in a way that has cost the western world its financial stability,innocent people their pensions, jobs and public services, yet not a single one has been prosecuted. Meanwhile, someone who is convicted of selling medals, whose case has brought shame and disgrace to him, is imprisoned at the taxpayers' expense rather than being made to pay the monies back and then contribute to a charity like the British Legion for a certain period of time.

  • Comment number 93.

    It's not enough to change the prison system. Society has to change. If re-offending is to be reduced without locking every offender up forever or hang them, then a new element has to be introduced: rehabilitation. That requires society to accept that once one has done their sentence, they come back into society and get a new chance. Time and time again it shows that this very idea is very unpopular with the British media. So lets begin there!

  • Comment number 94.

    As over half the prisoners are in prison for just being drug addicts(Mr.Clarkes own words) it would be sensible to let them out and change the drug laws,who knows the government could actually make money out of drug sales!The remainder of the prisoners could be graded into who would be the most dangerous.Obviously convicted murderers should never be let out regardless of the muddled brained thinking of do gooders,unless new evidence arises.Armed robbery and violent behaviour should have sentences which befit behaviour which could be corrected in time-a long time!The rest should be on community chain gangs as they do in the USA.Clearing ditches,cleaning streets etc etc.Public humiliation should be compulsary.
    All prisons should be so secure that smuggling anything in could never be achieved,which means 150% honesty from the prison service which we obviously do not have at present according to some sources also we need a police force who is not targeted to get convictions but to be proactive and go after "real" criminals who just laugh at the police service.To be able to get virtually anything in prison makes a mockery of the current set up,this has to stop with immeadiate transfer to another prison when prisoners are caught and another year put on sentence.

  • Comment number 95.

    91. At 6:52pm on 07 Dec 2010, john wrote:

    You know the constituent parts of the UK should have their own HYS as this is dominated by subjects which have nothing to do with my country but are purely English in scope. What is galling is the the BBC which is meant to be representative of the whole UK continues to perpetrate the myth that English issues are British issues and the only way forward.

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

    How an earth can crime have nothing to do with parts of the UK other than England? Are you telling us that there is no crime in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland for example?

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm just waiting for someone to suggest they do military service. Speaking as a retired Naval Officer. We don't want them, either! Her Majesties armed forces have standards and a reputation to maintain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Just who is being sent to gaol?

    The police no longer investigate and prosecute shoplifters, the police no lomger respond to burglary calls unless you say the thief is still in the house, the police no longer actively go after those who fail to follow up on community service orders.

    As far as i can see the police ride around acting as revenue collectors for the Chancellor, taking on the master class criminal fraternity who overstay parking, or who dont observe yellow lines, or who use a mobile phone while waiting at a red light. These offenders must really be the cream of the criminal class judging by the high priority given to persuing them.

    The prisons must be full of recalcitrant motorists, for the real criminals seem to be teflon coated, nothing sticks in court as only real criminals can afford lawyers.

  • Comment number 98.

    I fully endorse Clarks ideas but I do not believe him
    When the Tories were in last time they closed the mental institutes down They called it care in the community it was soon realised that once these people where on the outside they where easy targets for the unscrupulous drug dealers shop lifting gangs and such like with the result they ended up in prison The problem being it is cheaper to keep these people in prison than give them the care they need in an institution and that is why our prisons are so full Then we have the drug addicts most of these are drug runners they earn upwards of a £1000 a week but they spend most of it feeding their habit and where there is money there is corruption that is why it is so easy to buy the stuff in our prisons
    And there is one thing missing in the country and that is well paid unskilled jobs if any government was able to solve that problem a lot of this country’s problems would solve themselves

  • Comment number 99.

    It is curious that Prison Officers or Probation Officers or Social Workers who can anonomously comment on HYS with their views and practical experience - yet fail or can't be bothered to do so?

    Although rare, depending on where you work, NHS health professionals deal with, and treat individuals who are 'members' of criminal gangs who have been clearly wounded by knife, or other weapons attacked by other criminal gangs.

    More importantly, the NHS is now having to deal with the other side of gang culture - who don't pay taxes - importing women and children as slaves for prostitution. If they become ill and not murdered or disposed of in a river - they are left for the NHS to treat and care for at the expense of us all?

    People who have genuine illness, or are elders, or children with needs are being denied best care from the NHS due to crime and the 'attraction' of the UK by criminal gangs taking advantage of the NHS.

  • Comment number 100.

    Sadly there will be many homeless people committing crimes in the next couple of weeks in the knowledge they will get a roof over their head & a christmas lunch in prison. Better in prison than on the streets or in a hostel. It's a sad indictment on our society that some people are 'better off' in prison.

 

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