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What price punishment?

Mark Easton | 16:41 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

In his speech today, Ken Clarke said this:

"Sentencing should not be based on cost, but on principles of retribution, reflection of public anger and the effective prevention of further crime."

He then went on to say something slightly different:

"I believe in intelligent sentencing, which will seek to give better value for money and the effective protection that people want."

While the former includes the notion of punishment, the latter does not. It is a contradiction that goes to the heart of much public concern about prison and sentencing policy.

The British public seems convinced that prison works, not necessarily on a strict cost-benefit analysis, but as a practical demonstration of how criminals should be treated.

A poll by Ipsos MORI a few years ago found that 57% of Brits were opposed to putting fewer criminals behind bars and 74% wanted more prisons.

Ipsos MORI poll showing people's feelings on prisons

When asked more recently about how to save money in the criminal justice system, the most popular answer for 38% of people was to cut education programmes in jails.

Chart showing responses to the question asking if the Criminal Justice System was to face lower levels of spending, which option, if any, would you be most/least willing to accept?

This is pretty much the exact opposite of what the government is intending. Ken Clarke's argument is that what the tax-paying public really want is "reduced reoffending, fewer victims and value for money".

Researchers from the international consultancy Matrix Knowledge recently did some number-crunching to estimate the cost-effectiveness of alternatives to prison. Some of the results are startling.

They calculated that sending a heroin-addicted offender for residential treatment rather than jail makes them 43% less likely to reoffend - saving the taxpayer in the long term an estimated £88,000. The figures rise to almost £203,000 if you include an estimate of the savings from having fewer potential victims.

Using a surveillance programme like the current intensive supervision programme is likely to lead to 31% less reoffending - saving between £57,000 and £130,000.

Curiously, using surveillance as well as non-residential drug treatment is less cost effective than surveillance alone, it appears. Still an improvement on prison when it comes to re-offending, but only 14% better with savings of £41,000 up to £61,000.

Chart showing the predicted level of reoffending by an offender released from custody

However, community sentences for tagged juvenile offenders make them just 3% less likely to reoffend, saving only £3,000 against the cost of locking them up.

The researchers also looked at the impact of programmes in prison. Treating a sex offender behind bars saves £35,000 to £130,000. Drug treatment in jail saves £31,000 to £115,000. But psychological therapy, they calculated, saves just £400 up to £17,000.

Graph showing total savings per offender as a result of<br />
re-offending and intervention costs

If you are Justice Secretary Ken Clarke trying to save 25% of your budget, these are just the kind of numbers you want to read.

Chart showing predicted level of re-offending by an offender released from custody

But when I looked at the formula Matrix Knowledge used to calculate effectiveness, I noted that there was something missing.

Chart showing how value for money was calculated

Nowhere in the arithmetic is there a value for punishment, for retribution, for what Mr Clarke calls the "reflection of public anger".

It would be difficult but I think it would be worth trying to do the calculation because only then can the public get a true sense of the "price of punishment".

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:40pm on 30 Jun 2010, Wiser than you wrote:

    How dare you blame Clarke for there not being anywhere in the arithmetic a value for punishment, for retribution, for what Mr Clarke calls the "reflection of public anger"?

    The simple truth is that Ken has no leeway.

    While you were busy institutionally supporting (I'd use a stronger word, but this is your house - oops, sorry, forgot, BBC is ostensibly a public corporation, not the propaganda channel for Liebour) Gordon Brown and his £1,000,000,000,000 to £2,000,000,000,000 public debt Himalayas has left us with no choices and no options.

    So put a sock in it, Easton, and be grateful we're there to sort out the enormous mess left behind by the ZAnuLabour geniuses...

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  • 2. At 5:45pm on 30 Jun 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    I think we need to be realistic here.

    The tories have not had a sudden conversion to belief in so called 'treatment' for crime.

    This is purely and simply cost saving.

    As they let more criminals out of jail, watch the crime rates go back up.

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  • 3. At 6:28pm on 30 Jun 2010, Dr Hfuhruhurr wrote:

    Why can't we split prisons into 2 or 3 completely separate roles?
    One type of prison is for punishment - a place where there's nothing but work to pay back the victim and, if possible the tax payer. That would satisfy the political need to be tough on crime.
    Another, once the punishment but is done, they move on to rehabilitation prisons. A place where education, training, support, benefits etc are given.
    Some crimes might not have the punishment bit, others would. First offenders might get a whole different prison from re-offenders.
    We might have to admit that some people are just plain criminal - and stay in.
    We're all given a choice in life - doesn't matter how tough life has been - some people make the choice to break the law. So they need a chance but they've got to pay for the choices they've made - that's only fair.

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  • 4. At 6:29pm on 30 Jun 2010, Englishmanininvegas wrote:

    Here where I live in the States - as in Britain - there is a knee-jerk reaction from a public that has been scared to death into believing that a crime against them is about to be committed at every turn. The media in general has done a marvellous job of fear-mongering

    Whilst we ALL want to see violent criminals behind bars in order to protect the genral population, many others are there to satisfy a longing for revenge - without any thought being given to whether they are likely to re-offend upon their release

    As with much else in life today - our thinking on this is incredibly short-term. We are happy to see them off the streets NOW thank-you very much - but totally fail to consider the longer term issues of how they will behave down the roadn when released...

    Such policy has been an abysmal failure - the recidivism rate for non-violent criminals after short sentences is appalling, but the public wants its "pound-of-flesh" and all too often simply cannot see this

    My adopted country imprisons a higher proportion of its citizens than any other on the face of this planet. The draconian punsihments for anything associated with drugs (when compared to those for physical crimes against the person) beggar belief - but politicians play up to their voters' unjustified fears every time. This is particularly true in election years

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  • 5. At 6:37pm on 30 Jun 2010, nautonier wrote:

    More effective than prison would be a public crime database with more details about offences and postcodes of where the offenders live so that the public are aware of who there is around them and what crimes have been committed and by whom - togther with a public access database for adding constructive comments.

    More criminals should be deported and perhaps The Lord Chancellor could look at the HRA sooner rather than later so that some if not all of the foreign offenders can be sent back to whence they came from ... instead of providing a legal fees frenzy for greedy lawyers and their umpteen mischievous, grievous and insulting appeals.

    Criminals should also be given hard labour as a sentence/alternative to prison and let them give something back to the community insetad of soft community service 'tea party' treatment.

    Oh I forgot to mention ... please bring back 'hanging' ... that's right ... real justice means that it should and will ... never go away.

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  • 6. At 7:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:


    I don't suppose anybody is interested in assessing the cost savings of legalising drugs?

    At a stroke they could be taxed, the quality could be assured, dealers would have no incentive to get people hooked as they couldn't hike the price as high as they wanted, no more gang-related violence as the gangs battle over the most lucrative territories, less crime to fund drug addictions as the price is subject to competition, less drain on the NHS dealing with people who don't want to say what they've taken, less drain on the NHS dealing with whatever junk the dealers have used to cut the drugs to increase their profits, cost savings as the police don't need to chase drug users, prison savings as dealers would be put out of business pretty much at a stroke and the gang members wouldn't be taking up prison spaces for fighting over drug turf.

    Those who want to use drugs already know where to get them, those that don't aren't likely to suddenly start using them just because they are legal now.

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  • 7. At 7:44pm on 30 Jun 2010, The Forgotten Man wrote:

    6. At 7:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    "I don't suppose anybody is interested in assessing the cost savings of legalising drugs?"

    I am but they are not listening to me either!

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  • 8. At 7:52pm on 30 Jun 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    In America, something like 80%-90% of the incarcerated have learning disabilities or have suffered child abuse or some sort of psychological trauma. Front loading education with special programs, psychological counseling, early on in a preventative manner would save the taxpayer even more money and these programs can be run in a low cost, highly effective manner. People require more intensive help with life coping skills than governments want to realize or fund.

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  • 9. At 7:54pm on 30 Jun 2010, The Forgotten Man wrote:

    3. At 6:28pm on 30 Jun 2010, Dr-Hfuhruhurr wrote:
    Why can't we split prisons into 2 or 3 completely separate roles?

    In an extension to this general idea, why not make first time jail sentences into bouts of solitary confinement.

    1st offence 1 week, 2nd a month 3rd 3 months.

    If they do a fourth it MUST be a career choice so normal prison, 2 years minimum and 5 year licence afterwards.

    Oh and the word "concurrent" struck from the legal dictionary. Getting 3 for 2 offer from Tesco is one thing getting a 50 for 1 car jackings is quite another.

    The advantage of the solitary is that if they dont meet anyone, or even know where they have been then they are not goinng to be "contaminated" by any "old lags".
    This isnt a new idea, I saw just this as a sentencing requirement for the same reasons in an early 1900s court papers.

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  • 10. At 8:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, Englishmanininvegas wrote:

    To nautonier #5

    "please bring back 'hanging'"

    This would be all well and good if it was GUARANTEED that only people who were guilty met this fate

    Sadly here in the States in particularly there are way too many occasions where relatively poor people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up being defended by an overworked and not particularly good public defender and have ended up on death row....

    In Britain the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six would surely have been murdered by the state for crimes they patently didn't commit had we had the Death Penalty

    Are you yourself willing to be one of those innocents executed in order to have this sanction on the statute book ?

    I thought not .....

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  • 11. At 8:32pm on 30 Jun 2010, FisherOfTruth wrote:

    The trouble with the term 'Victimless Crime' is that it is manipulated by politicians to mean whatever they want it to mean. Hence the recent 'Victims surcharge' tax proposals on minor motoring offences'.

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  • 12. At 9:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, crash wrote:

    Prison sentences should be lengthened if anything and the death penalty should be reinstated.Prisoners have way to many rights now,prison is to soft these criminals should be out picking up litter,cutting grass painting our run down inner cities,instead of sitting around in some cushy cell waiting to get out and continue the way they went in.

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  • 13. At 9:35pm on 30 Jun 2010, Steve-T wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/10469007.stm

    Ah bless. Let's rehabilitate these cherubs. All excuses for these three to be written on a soft toilet roll & flushed in the normal manner.

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  • 14. At 11:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, OurNorfy wrote:

    Will Englishmaninvegas please remember that the Guildford4 and the Birmingham6 were not proved 'not guilty'; only that there was insufficient evidence for a 'guilty' verdict.
    As for prisons, only one change is necessary, and that is to make any stay there so unpleasant that everyone will do their best to avoid incarceration. Cut out all the expense of featherbedding criminals and make them work like slaves to repay their debt to society.

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  • 15. At 11:42pm on 30 Jun 2010, Hugh Morley wrote:

    Shoving everyone in prison patently doesn't work - prison is a component of the justice system to be used for the very worst offenders, most other crimes would be better dealt with through rehabilitation techniques and lifting people out of poverty. Prison is not a panacea - we've the highest ever percentage of the population residing in prison at the moment, and all it's served to do is institutionalise petty offenders and lead to a rise in violent crime.

    The "public anger" should not be reflected in the justice system, because the public simply don't have a clue about how to mete out justice instead of vengeance. There is a noticeable line between the two, which is all too often blurred in the public domain by a vitriolic tabloid press and Murdochian 24-hour news channels to whip the public into a pointless state of outrage. Simply put - most members of the public are short-sighted enough to want to bring back the death penalty, and with it the proven risk of executing innocents by mistake, so why on earth should they/we have our opinions taken into account when deciding the penalties and punishments for crimes? Leave it to the legal professionals - the public has no clue.

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  • 16. At 00:58am on 01 Jul 2010, Spacey79 wrote:

    6. At 7:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    I don't suppose anybody is interested in assessing the cost savings of legalising drugs?

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

    I'm with you on that - the benefits to society would be massive. The Lib dems are being very quiet about it now they're in power.

    Even if they just prescribe hard drugs, rather than legalizing them, pilot studies have shown the benefits to be massive, and the costs extremely low.

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  • 17. At 01:07am on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    7. At 7:44pm on 30 Jun 2010, forgotten_man wrote:

    6. At 7:05pm on 30 Jun 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    "I don't suppose anybody is interested in assessing the cost savings of legalising drugs?"

    I am but they are not listening to me either!



    ditto

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  • 18. At 01:24am on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @14

    The Guildford 4 had their convictions quashed due to the police fabricating evidence. Their confessions (that were later retracted) formed the basis of the case against them.

    The Birmingham 6 had their convictions quashed because they were unsafe, due to police fabrication and suppression of evidence.

    Their convictions had nothing to do with a lack of evidence as there was no evidence in the first place. They were both miscarriages of justice, pure and simple.

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  • 19. At 07:41am on 01 Jul 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Thanks Hugh Morley. So well expressed. It said that in the USA, Incarceration just makes some criminals even savvier criminals. Not to mention the appalling and inhuman conditions they must endure while incarcerated. People who weren't jumped into a gang before prison often join a gang for shear protection. It is much cheaper by far to reach children and young adults before they choose a criminal way of life. You do this by early intervention. Not ignoring children who can't read or write or live in a chaotic, abusive home. We have a few short years to reach children before their mind is set. Let's get the job done and stop talking about it!

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  • 20. At 08:40am on 01 Jul 2010, Megan wrote:

    If we accept that the 'point' of gaol is three-fold - to protect society, to discourage the committing of crime and to reform convicts - why not redesign the concept of sentencing to reflect this?

    Instead of sentencing a convicted offender to a set length of time in gaol, require each individual for whom a custodial sentence is appropriate to complete a training programme to minimise reoffending (including addressing the reasons why the offence was committed, some form of labour towards 'payback,' life skills and training towards employment) AND prove that he is no long a risk to society before release.

    Those offenders who do not pose a threat to society need only complete the training programme, and can do that in the community since they are not a danger to others and so need not be locked up.

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  • 21. At 08:49am on 01 Jul 2010, steve wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 09:03am on 01 Jul 2010, AqualungCumbria wrote:

    Well i dont know about other areas of the country but for someone to get sent to prison up here they have already committed many many, what i would term serious crimes , people have different views on what would be serious of course.

    I am all for rehabilitation, but there is a growing core of people that are just going to laugh at this dithering again by politicians.....IMO prisons are necessary and no matter what the cost they are more important than the vast sums our politicians gain from being an MP.
    Perhaps the prisoners themselves could be trained in the skills required to build new prisons, the cost of new prisons would then drop dramatically.

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  • 23. At 09:08am on 01 Jul 2010, Jon Cooper wrote:

    I know someone who's son is in prison right now - and he is happy to stay there.
    He has no ambition and little prospects in the current economic climate and he knows that all too well.
    He has stated quite clearly that while he has a roof, 3 meals a day and a TV in his room* why would he want things any differently?



    *yes, he did say 'room', not 'cell'

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  • 24. At 09:34am on 01 Jul 2010, Tim Gould wrote:

    Prisons need to be profit making sweat shops. They should cost us nothing but instead make a profit to pay back society and the victims of crime.

    Rip up the human rights bill for convicted criminals. Hard graft, no TV, no rights and no privileges. Cut the food bill in prisons to basic subsistence level. The only privilege should be that if you work hard you remain eligible to be considered for parole. No parole while the proceeds of crime remain unrecovered.

    Hire out the prison workforce to private industry, bring back hard labour and introduce community chain-gangs to clean up graffiti and to perform other social tasks.

    A harsh, hard working regime will do far more to rehabilitate prisoners, keep minds occupied and teach work and life skills than sitting around watching TV, playing snooker and using gyms. We might then see our prison population falling. Prison is just too idle and too easy for some.

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  • 25. At 10:43am on 01 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #1 wiser than you

    I am sure Mr Easton has a place for the sock.

    I think your memory should stretch decades rather than just the New Labour era that you abhor so much. I'd also be quite mindful that, whilst not being convinced of BBC neutrality, Mr Easton is entitled to have a go at provoking debate; he certainly got a response from you.

    The damage has been done by our obsession with stopping people enjoying themselves. Okay, I overstated, stopping anyone but the ruling classes from enjoying themselves. Drugs, of whatever nature, classification, legality, cause society a great deal of angst simply because we spend so much time 'stopping' rather than 'accepting' human behaviour for what it is. To have a human being labelled as a criminal for doing something they once enjoyed but now find is a millstone around their neck is a kind of quaint justice, the double whammy to beat all double whammies.

    We are faced with huge cuts and we can do a lot of the cutting in one fell swoop. Decriminalise drugs, reduce and release police pressure, reduce and release criminal pressure, relieve customs, and clear out a lot of deadwood from society. Treat addiction within the NHS on a contract or agreement basis, within specific treatments that work.

    Stop the inglorious gap that exists between rich and poor and start turning it back by a factor of at least 50% per year. Prosecute both the rich and poor equally with punishments that equate to the crime not the social bearing of the guilty party. Stop fawning celebrity. And so on.

    You won't find the remedies in the Tory manifesto, or the Lib Dems, or New Labour because they are all part of the same problem.

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  • 26. At 11:00am on 01 Jul 2010, Freeman wrote:

    Nail 'em up! Nail some sense into 'em!

    ...

    Ahem. Yes, prisons have got far too comfortable these days and certainly do not come close to punishment.

    However, maiming and killing prisoners is not the sign of a civilised society. Far better they stay in prison the rest of their lives. In solitary if necessary.

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  • 27. At 12:34pm on 01 Jul 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    For Community Sentences to work the convicted offender has to be supervised properly. Perhaps by forcing the offender to wear some distinctive item of clothing as they do in many US jurisdictions. Perhaps the village/shopping mall stocks could be reintroduced. Or even forcing offenders the wear a flashing orange light on their head continuously until they have served their sentence. Public humiliation could be a deterrent - the names and photographs and crimes of offenders (including driving offences) could be published on the internet - unless of course they already do this themselves on Facebook!

    But none of these draconian sentences will even satisfy the rabid blood lust of the extreme right wing selfish tendency! They would want to bring back spread-eagling for antisocial behaviour and being stoned (literally!) for bad language in public!!!!

    But sending the convicted offender to a holiday camp for a short stay does not reform him/her. In fact they are universities of crime. The old panopticon style of prison might be more of a deterrent as might hard labour, but as both cost huge sums of money they are hardly practical. Enough nonsense!!!

    A Genuine Idea?

    Something cheap cheerful, and yet unpleasant, needs to be devised and implemented, but not prison as it is terribly expensive and does not achieve its desired end very well. Perhaps a tracing device that records sound trapped to the offenders person. If the device was interfered with or failed the sentence would be extended automatically. The offenders whereabouts would then be on record and the sound recorded too so that they would be electronically supervised. This would not publicly humiliate them but it would psychologically limit their actions. A form of electronic prison with enforced self management.

    (The recording of location and sound would also be useful for speeding offences! But of course these are not really regarded as against the law, are they, as is using a mobile phone whilst driving?)

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  • 28. At 12:43pm on 01 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    Give them all a toilet brush and a road sweeping brush and a rubbish collection bag and make themselves useful ... and nice new smart and durable health and safety work uniforms; patterned with little arrows.

    I think that Mr Clarke is on the right lines here.

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  • 29. At 12:47pm on 01 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    10. At 8:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, Englishmaninvegas wrote:

    To nautonier #5

    "please bring back 'hanging'"

    This would be all well and good if it was GUARANTEED that only people who were guilty met this fate

    Sadly here in the States in particularly there are way too many occasions where relatively poor people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up being defended by an overworked and not particularly good public defender and have ended up on death row....

    In Britain the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six would surely have been murdered by the state for crimes they patently didn't commit had we had the Death Penalty

    Are you yourself willing to be one of those innocents executed in order to have this sanction on the statute book ?

    I thought not .....

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There are some crimes where this is appropriate as befitting both the crime and the evidence ... the law obviously applies to everyone both you and I included ... therefore...

    'Are you yourself willing to be one of those innocents executed in order to have this sanction on the statute book?'

    'Yes' ... in the sense that the law would apply to everyone!

    Is that clear enough for you?


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  • 30. At 1:05pm on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    It's funny but I remember when I was a kid in the 70's whenever a piece came on the news about a criminal that had just been convicted my parents would say something along the lines of "Criminals have it too easy nowadays, sentences are too short, conditions are too good, they need to be harsher."

    The funny thing is sentences were harsher and longer then than they are now. Prisoners were banged up for 22 to 23 hours a day then, only let out of their cells to slop out and exercise in the yard (if you were lucky), yet still there were calls to make prison harsher.

    Personally I don't think the public should have any say whatsoever in sentencing. They are not intelligent enough!

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  • 31. At 1:18pm on 01 Jul 2010, OnLiberty wrote:

    Daisy Chained thinks people should have the freedom to take drugs and ruin their lives but not the freedom to work hard and make something of their lives by becoming rich. Making worse the "inglorious gap that exists between the rich and the poor"

    It must be hard to reconcile envy and liberalism, it means you must support stupidity and punish achievement!

    People should be free to live their own lives without interference from the State as long as they don't prevent others from doing the same.

    Individual victims have ceded to the State their natural right to restitution and retribution against criminals. They have every right to demand the State fulfils BOTH these roles.

    Prisoners should work in prison to pay compensation to their victims and cover the cost to society of their incarceration (Restitution), The conditions should be unpleasant so that when coupled with the deprivation of liberty they are considered as punishment.

    What of the third task: reformation and reducing re-offending?

    Individual victims would not dig into their own savings to educate or train the criminal who robbed them. Why should potential victims (Taxpayers) be forced to ?

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  • 32. At 1:20pm on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    For the people who so obviously don't understand the concept of prison.

    Prison is not there to punish, it is there solely to contain. The deprivation of liberty is the punishment. How we treat prisoners while they are there depends on what type of person society wants to see walk out the gates when their sentences are up.
    If we listen to sections of the public they seem as though they are quite happy to see people with the morals and attitudes of the Krays re-entering society. I would much rather see someone walk out the gates whose life has been turned around and who will not embark on a criminal lifestyle when they are released, meaning there will be less victims in the future.

    How this is achieved is a matter for those with experience in dealing with prisoners, not the insane ramblings of bitter members of the public.

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  • 33. At 1:47pm on 01 Jul 2010, Jon wrote:

    Hanging can be brough back and should, provided its backed by 2 seperate DNA samples.

    I would gladly kick the box away on some criminals.

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  • 34. At 2:26pm on 01 Jul 2010, Grab wrote:

    Working in prison should definitely be the way to go about it.

    Working would earn you credits, not cash. What would those credits buy you? Well, more than 1500 calories a day of food. TV usage. Computer usage. Receiving mail from relatives. Visits from relatives. All things which cost the prison service money, over and above simply keeping the person's body alive. And all of them could only be earned by working in prison, not by someone on the outside subsidising them.

    It doesn't necessarily have to be hard labour, although most criminals aren't going to have useful training so unskilled labour will have to be a part of it. And working through some kind of training scheme (e.g. plumbing or whatever) so that they have skills that'll let them earn a proper living outside would be equally valid.

    Nothing wrong with getting criminals to do work outside the prison either, providing you can keep them supervised. Of course they'll get little financial return on their work, bcos someone needs to be watching them and that costs money. But they'll get some return for it (in credits), and more importantly they'll get a way of making a straight living.

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  • 35. At 2:50pm on 01 Jul 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

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    10. At 8:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, Englishmaninvegas wrote:
    To nautonier #5
    "please bring back 'hanging'"
    This would be all well and good if it was GUARANTEED that only people who were guilty met this fate
    Sadly here in the States in particularly there are way too many occasions where relatively poor people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up being defended by an overworked and not particularly good public defender and have ended up on death row....
    ----------------
    Everyone who visits the US worries about being a victim of crime.
    No one avoids the place in case they get wrongly convicted of murder
    ----------------
    In Britain the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six would surely have been
    murdered by the state for crimes they patently didn't commit had we had the Death Penalty.
    Are you yourself willing to be one of those innocents executed in order to have this sanction on the statute book ?
    ------------------------
    I'd rather not be run over. I still accept the need for cars.

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  • 36. At 3:22pm on 01 Jul 2010, Jon wrote:

    iNOTHERE, you are part of the problem with your soft "hug a criminal attitude"

    Prisoners should slop out every day,using a bucket every night is what they deserve.

    Prisoners should work hard every day all day 10 hours hard labour.

    Life should mean life, you never see the grass or the sun again and you only leave when dead..no mercy should ever be given, get cancer...tuff you die in prison.

    And no my hug a criminal friends...prisoners left their Human rights at the scene of the crime they commited.

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  • 37. At 3:30pm on 01 Jul 2010, SSnotbanned wrote:

    As populations increase, the number of prisons needed to house a fixed percentage of criminals in the country needs to increase.
    As populations increase, the number of taxpayers paying money to the government increase, to pay for this.

    Price of punishment = price of justice.

    The notion of re-offending is in some way a forecast and so chasing such future events seems to me to be a bit of a ''red herring''.
    Of course you don't want any re-offending, but there are far to many predictions, forecasts and assumptions made, for changes in programmes dealing with re-offending to be adequately determined. Hence pilots flying about here, there and everywhere.

    Hence the continual disparity between what politicians want and the public who,year after year, want ''more prisons and longer sentences''.

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  • 38. At 3:33pm on 01 Jul 2010, Englishmanininvegas wrote:

    In reply to nautonier (#29)

    Capital Punishment has been proven over the years to have minimal effect as a deterrant (one of the principal arguments from those in favour of it). Here in the USA - those states with this sanction have murder rates often higher than those that don't have it, so this argument is debunked

    Killing someone in the name of due process of law is there to satisfy a need some have for cold-blooded visceral revenge. I'm not sure what part this should play in a modern system of jurisprudence.

    As for innocents murdered by the state - you may be happy to have their blood on your conscience, I am not ........

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  • 39. At 3:56pm on 01 Jul 2010, segargo wrote:

    In answer to 2: If you cut further cost and stop measuring crime rates then how would you ever know if the system is successful or not.

    Pay no taxes and bring on anarchy because if you don't measure anything how can you ever prove or disprove anything?

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  • 40. At 4:37pm on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @36.

    Is that right, I am part of the problem...why, because I see a human being who has committed a crime as just that...a human being, Not some sub human species who needs to be kicked when they are down because I want to feel superior.

    Are you even interested in protecting the public or do you just want to satisfy your lust for revenge against someone who hasn't even hurt you personally? Judging by the rest of your comment you wouldn't know compassion if it kicked you in the mouth.

    It would be interesting to know how many who advocate hanging, birching and otherwise causing sadistic pain to people would feel if they were locked up and receiving the above treatment, either rightly or wrongly....it's not really that hard to become a criminal with all the extra laws Labours invented...all it can take is a word?

    I would rather have compassion than revenge any day...but then again I have seen the results of revenge...and it serves NO purpose other than cause more pain.

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  • 41. At 4:39pm on 01 Jul 2010, Rob wrote:

    31. At 1:18pm on 01 Jul 2010, OnLiberty wrote:
    Daisy Chained thinks people should have the freedom to take drugs and ruin their lives but not the freedom to work hard and make something of their lives by becoming rich. Making worse the "inglorious gap that exists between the rich and the poor"
    ---------------------------------

    I didn't read that at all.

    What I read was some sensical advice regarding our utter failure of Drugs Prohibition policy. We criminalise people because they're merely addicts. They get paid-for legal-aid, a court case, paid-for judge time, jury compensation, prosectution legal costs, prison costs.

    Not only are we jailing these non-violent drugs offenders, we are forcing them to seek out drug dealers in order for them to get their drugs. There, they have access to all other kinds of drugs to experiment with.

    Drugs on the black market are far more expensive than they could be produced and taxed for. This is fuelling the criminal elements of the drugs trade and organised crime flourishes. Where do you think youths find money to get guns? Making drugs available legally, instantly eradicates their money supply.

    If rehabilitation is offered, paid for by taxes collected by these legally sold drugs, then the addicts of much harder drugs can go there knowing they can get a fix, they won't need to steal from others. Though, they would be committing themselves to a detox clinic, kind of like a Voluntary Sectioning.

    It's better than our current situation where gang warfare rules, and kids are killing each other on the streets in daylight.

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  • 42. At 4:51pm on 01 Jul 2010, John Ellis wrote:

    MS sufferers in the south refused cannabis drug
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/10472510.stm

    so is it more cost effective to grow cannabis get caught criminalised possibly jailed depending on legal team and the judge on the day or prescribe a drug that works so well patients are prepared to give up liberty and civil rights to treat themselves.

    PCTs say it is not affective as a treatment.....

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  • 43. At 4:55pm on 01 Jul 2010, Rob wrote:

    36. At 3:22pm on 01 Jul 2010, Jon wrote:
    And no my hug a criminal friends...prisoners left their Human rights at the scene of the crime they commited.
    -----------------------

    I'm not hug-a-crook, but I'd say their human rights depends on the level of crime committed. I think human rights should only be lost if you violate the human rights of others.

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  • 44. At 5:01pm on 01 Jul 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    The point is early childhood prevention. If brain function ie. neurons and synapses are set before age 3-4, why wouldn't we be pouring money at the beginning of a child's life to avoid criminality in later life. If the chances are better for a child who receives everything he needs to be a happy, intelligent, self sufficient, working adult why aren't we putting our money there? Why would we allow a child to grow up with a drug addict, repeat offender? We have a few, short years maybe 8-12 to reach and support a child before their personalities and ambition is set. Why do we waste and throw away these critical few years? The model is backwards and needs to be reversed. Bring most of the resources to a child's educational years through college and their first job and you will start to see significant changes.

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  • 45. At 5:13pm on 01 Jul 2010, mortice rigger wrote:

    #31 Onliberty

    There is a saying "There is no difference between the rich and poor except the rich steal better".

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  • 46. At 5:30pm on 01 Jul 2010, Rob wrote:

    42. At 4:51pm on 01 Jul 2010, CommunityCriminal wrote:

    MS sufferers in the south refused cannabis drug
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/10472510.stm

    PCTs say it is not affective as a treatment.....
    -------------------------------

    And homeopathy is available on the NHS!

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  • 47. At 6:17pm on 01 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    38. At 3:33pm on 01 Jul 2010, Englishmaninvegas wrote:

    In reply to nautonier (#29)

    As for innocents murdered by the state - you may be happy to have their blood on your conscience, I am not ........

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    We've all got blood on our conscience ... Who do you think organised the hanging of Saddam Hussein ... Britain and America

    Innocents muredered by the state ... how many farmers and ordinary people do you think died in e.g. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan due to US army?

    British and Us soldiers still dying in the thousand every year in Afghanistan ... sounds to me like you not able to differentiate who is dying ... who is innocent and justice really means ... that's your problem not mine.

    I can think of several cases where cold -blooded killers are having tea parties in jail with Sky TV with visits from all and sundry ... drugs, mobile phones, conjugal visits, MP's trying to get murderers released etc.

    HANG EM HIGH!

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  • 48. At 9:55pm on 01 Jul 2010, The Forgotten Man wrote:

    30. At 1:05pm on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:


    "Personally I don't think the public should have any say whatsoever in sentencing. They are not intelligent enough!"

    You say that but the "professionals", who it would seem you believe are "intelligent enough" still managed to let Sonnex out to murder the two French students.
    And this wasnt, isnt, an isolated incident.

    Does anybody know how many deaths, rapes and other violent crimes are perpetrated by people the "intelligent enough professionals" have decided to let out early/given bail despite police advice/given less than maximum sentences etc?

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  • 49. At 10:34pm on 01 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @48.

    "You say that but the "professionals", who it would seem you believe are "intelligent enough" still managed to let Sonnex out to murder the two French students.
    And this wasnt, isnt, an isolated incident.

    Does anybody know how many deaths, rapes and other violent crimes are perpetrated by people the "intelligent enough professionals" have decided to let out early/given bail despite police advice/given less than maximum sentences etc?"


    This proves my point, since expert advice in judicial terms is not the same thing as decision-making by politicians. A decision is clearly not the same thing as a piece of advice!

    The police and the parole boards in these instances are clearly being overridden. Thus expert advice is being ignored, reinforcing the point that the public - including public servants who are not experts except, presumably, in the field of decision-making - are not intelligent enough to make the decisions and ought to be forced to pay more attention to the advice given them. This would be better than merely attempting to grab votes by lowering the prison population, which incidentally would be lowered far more rapidly by revising out-of-date laws (such as the drug laws).

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  • 50. At 11:24am on 02 Jul 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    I notice that the tory papers are spinning the mass release scheme in terms of cost saving.

    It will be an interesting social experiment .....

    What happens when you free, say, 10-20 thousand habitual criminals from jail and put them back on the streets?

    Anyone want to bet crime will go down?

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  • 51. At 12:27pm on 02 Jul 2010, ichabod wrote:

    Clarke is quite brave taking this one on. But his arguments lose credibility if it is established that magistrates are only sending habitual criminals to prison for a short time after they have already exhausted all other possibilities (fines, community service, probation etc).
    Clarke must however be right to reflect on the huge % of people who come out of prison and reoffend. He's right to try and find ways to break that vicious circle.
    I suspect there is no quick fix to this - but rather a range of different approaches depending on the criminal and the offence.

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  • 52. At 3:31pm on 02 Jul 2010, Andrew Dundas wrote:

    Several pieces of research in the US and the UK indicate that locking up regular criminals does reduce crime levels. And having more police able to investigate crime leads to more convictions. Which supports the previous government’s approaches. But is very expensive.
    The further research you've included indicates that forms of rehabilitation both reduces recidivism and is unpopular with voters. That unpopularity might be explained because it's counter-intuitive rather than rehabilitation being wrong. And because people believe that punishment is the best deterrent.
    The really big problem is that mass unemployment creates the despair and antipathy that accelerates drug and alcohol abuse, which underpin criminal behaviour amongst a small minority of unemployed.
    So, if Ken Clarke gambles with a re-hab strategy and mass unemployment raises the crime levels within this parliament, he's going to sacrifice his Party's core credibility.

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  • 53. At 3:37pm on 02 Jul 2010, Jon wrote:

    iNotHere yet again spouts his love the baddie twaddle.

    Yes prison is about revenge, yes the birch is about revenge, get revenge then lock them away for a very long time.

    You soft peole drive me up the wall and its only the criminals who laugh at you.

    If someone breaks into my house, or attackls my wife or son, I want revenge then I want them to go to prison for a very long time and suffer each and every day they are inside.

    Bring back hanging
    Bring back hard labour
    Bring back slopping out
    bring back long very long jail terms
    take away all TV's and radios
    Make the work for nothing but the community, they earn zero

    You said you look at them as human beings, well i dont.

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  • 54. At 4:42pm on 02 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @53.

    Yes...well...(sigh)

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  • 55. At 5:09pm on 02 Jul 2010, pandatank wrote:

    Both of the questions quoted in that opinion poll have been framed to produce a particular (predictable) result. Certainly the results on the second question are "what's best from a bad lot of choices?". No real viable alternatives have been provided.
    I suspect the referendum on electoral change will follow the same pattern. No one will be asked if they support electoral reform and no one will be asked which type they want. PR supporters are likely to vote against AV because it's not PR at all & FPTP voters won't want it because they don't want change. AV (like the Community Charge) is a compromise that takes the worst from each.

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  • 56. At 6:18pm on 02 Jul 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    So much blah,blah,blah. When will we ever have social policies that actually make sense. Try that one for a change. If we, as a society would start to deal with these issues at the front end instead of at the impossible back end then maybe something would finally be accomplished. I'm wondering if attacking a society by lax drug,criminal enforcement is the social architect's way of keeping citizens forever in a state of fear so you'll always look to the government for protection. We have to shake off these shackles and start taking control of of a society that empowers and sustains everyone, not just a chosen few. People are fed up.
    The world is bankrupt. It's time for real change!

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  • 57. At 6:50pm on 02 Jul 2010, mcjhn1 wrote:

    Thanks, this one of my favourite blogs

    I doubt you read all these comments but I thought you and other readers might like this, its a talk from the man behind Ceasefire program that has had great success reducing gun crime in Chicago

    http://vimeo.com/11841675

    good evidenced based action for once...

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  • 58. At 6:57pm on 02 Jul 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    I always thought conspiracy to attempt murder was a criminal offence. Why, then, are those advocating the death penalty not in prison?

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  • 59. At 7:07pm on 02 Jul 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    @53

    If your way is correct, please produce some evidence. Also, after you spill furious ragey rage into your keyboard, you might want to click on spellcheck - fingers tend to flail towards fail when we're angry and don't proofread.

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  • 60. At 8:54pm on 02 Jul 2010, Trainee Anarchist wrote:

    Perhaps what price punishment should start with what price justice.
    Any police officer will tell you how easy it is to arrest the idiots, the ones with learning difficulties, the mentally ill and how extremely difficult to take on the guilty that evade justice by clever lawyers, intimidation and the power of bribes.
    For those who know Liverpool in the 70's Rexy Makin and Co spring to mind.
    There is a court 'system' but a 'system' of justice has never been the prerogative of the disadvantaged or poor.
    Justice as practiced today is a bought product, a manipulation of common and criminal law.
    How many police officers would love to nail the big thugs that they know operate with near impunity but are impeded with workloads,financial constraints and a public that thinks that their job is a doddle.
    And now the police are going to have cuts in their finances!
    Justice does have a price.....and in this society it's money.
    For those of you that think that the police don't also wonder about 'justice' just remember that they are the ones that see the guilty walk away from 'justice', it's they who see the sense of betrayal in the eyes of the victims and their families when 'justice' has not taken 'it's course,' and it's they that feel betrayed by a system that has nothing to do with 'justice' but what you can pay for a technical manipulation of the obvious.
    When it happens to you ask yourself....what price justice?
    As an after thought I would just like to say that you that criticizes the police should have they guts to try it.
    I did and came out because it was too much for me.
    Without them, the police as operated in this country, you will not have any protection....but by then it is too late!
    How any of them stop in it is a great credit to them and to our society considering the abuse that they endure from the public, news outlets and the 'clever' people that have never attended a postmortem on a 7 year old, attended at the results of a suicide or told a Mum that her son has been killed in a road traffic accident, and then gone back to your ordinary duties on the street.

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  • 61. At 03:07am on 03 Jul 2010, maryw wrote:

    The UK simply needs to outsource its prison services to cheaper providers such as India. Problem solved.

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  • 62. At 03:37am on 03 Jul 2010, Bear in the Bull wrote:

    I believe there is a very strong case for making those in prison pay their way and put something physical back into society. When I lived in the US state of California in the late 1990s, prisoners were used for a variety of jobs, from sorting recyclable waste [collected from houses and businesses] to chain-gangs cleaning-up litter on the highways.

    I believe this could be extended to labour-intensive traditional farming, which would still be "greener" than farming with the massive machinery that has replaced many of the traditional "farm hand" roles.

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  • 63. At 04:21am on 03 Jul 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Trainee Anarchist,
    Amen to that. Police have it rough because they have a government that is schizophrenic and works against their best interests. They play both sides. Simultaneously policing and protecting the drug trade. A government that serves two masters can never the serve the public, herein lies the problem.

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  • 64. At 06:19am on 03 Jul 2010, spinny wrote:

    So finally some truths.....Our justice system does NOT work on legislation as laid out by our Parliament, but on the 'Public's opinion as 'interpreted' by the nations media.............Ah yes I can see now why there is so much 'yea buts' used as excuses.
    Forgive me for being a realist here but if Justice is to mean Justice it must be based on the 'same justice for all'. We do not pay the media or public to implement the law, we pay judges to do that. But then we British love to bay for bloody don't we and grizzle how unfair it is or who's fault it is.
    As to the 'gentleman' who mentions its 'not Kens fault but Gorden's' (grief if his critics are anything to go by he was a very busy man)get a grip. Our alleged justice system has been unworkable since the early eighties...oh about when Ken's good buddy Maggie was in power.
    PS Where do you get these research results from and which part of Surrey and Ox-bridge do you ask? Because the people I've asked the same questions have come up with a massively different conclusion....

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  • 65. At 07:51am on 03 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #52 leftie #40 inothere

    It is absolutely appropriate to point to the pain of unemployment, and the pain of the offender who is not offered a 'way back'.

    Our social structure reflects populist 'success and failure'. It does this in a 'time-lock' so that a generational patterns are likely to become permanent. It does not look at the 'successful' individual who cares nothing for materialism but wishes only to do good by their fellow humans. It, instead, fawns the cash rich because money is the quickest means to obtain what you want. In other words our society works on expediency and obedience to the 'norms' of the ruling class not the 'successful' human being. Its order demands a criminal underclass.

    We have seen huge increases in 'mistrust' particularly of authority. The selectivity of law, of crime, of punishment. The benefit fraudsters is pinpointed in advertisements, the 'insider trader' is seldom if ever caught, and the expenses kleptomaniac is offered an olive branch. The laws that do arrive on the Statute books deal with the low end, seldom the high end.

    No one size fits all for the big boys and girls.

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  • 66. At 08:27am on 03 Jul 2010, CharlesNorth wrote:

    Is it not a crying shame that we lost the colony's,at first we sent them to America and dind't that work out well.Then Tasmania and you've got to admit that was a hit.What a dilema,first were to civilised to punish our criminals now we can't afford to...what the hell lets forgive and forget and just send them home with a slapped wrist and a food voucher.

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  • 67. At 11:14am on 03 Jul 2010, SSnotbanned wrote:

    #66
    Can they send the criminals to the Antartica ??

    It's quite cold down here on your own...

    ICE LOL-LY

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  • 68. At 11:20am on 03 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    Some have already pointed out that the police are as confused as anyone else about crime and justice that is why they seem completely indifferent to certain types of crime knowing full well that however much time and effort they put in to many crime cases ... the CPS will simply ignore the case anyway.

    I have been reporting drug trading in cars at the end of the street where I live now for several years but the police do nothing about it. One police officer said to me the drug traders go there to finish mobile phone sales of drugs because it is safe and quiet and not in anyone's 'terretory' (except mine of course, that dosen't seem to matter) and the police say it is very difficult for them to do anything about it.

    With our police having that kind of attitude is it any wonder that our country is in difficulty with a £20 - £30 Billion annual drugs problem cost for the taxpayer.

    Avoiding crime is a matter of education ... you can get it at home,
    school,religion peers etc but if our young people do not get good education at home and from their peers then they must get this from school.

    Our schools should teach discipline, Christian values, avouiding drink and drugs and 'Englishness' as we are a country based on Christian values.

    If you don't like the idea of this ... then the alternative is to continue with what we've got including teenage pregancies etc.

    Our schools are the weak link as so many families have broken down ... its easier to fix the schools than it is to fix the rest of our broken society?

    The rot set in when our schools stopped school carol and other Christian services and teachings ... you can track much of the UK decline and increased crime almost to the day when the liberalised political correct lefties ruined our school values and education system.

    This does not mean we all have to be religious ... it is just an acceptance that our society is based on Christian and not heathen values.

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  • 69. At 1:33pm on 03 Jul 2010, PaulRM wrote:

    I see we have the usual parade of swivel eyed idealogues and knuckle dragging troglodytes saying that our dear Ken is deeply misundersood following his conversion to "prison is not always best". Excuses range from "it's all Labour's fault for having stolen the contents of the piggy bank", to claiming that this all part of DC's new Tory philosophy of "hug a hoody". But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

    Never mind our Ken is a master at doing/saying whatever he thinks will give him the maximum political advantage, without showing (or experiencing) the slightest hint of shame or embarrassment. All vital characteristics in a sucessful QC: an ability to bend the facts to fit the message; a disregard for the truth when circumstances demand it(the bigger picture dear boy); and a tendency to sociopathic behaviour.

    The demand from on high is to cut budgets, so our Ken, without so much as a blink or trace of irony, is now a convert to "prison is not always the answer". It would help if Ken were to back up his position with a body of well respected research, but I have yet to see any evidence of it. Further, one could reasonably expect that having become a convert, the new government would have a detailed strategy to implement the new policy. So, where is it?

    Away from the "hang 'em and flog 'em" brigade, it has long been realised that soley relying on retributive justice to protect the public does not work, nor does it serve their interests in the long run. Nevertheless, creating a vacuum in public policy within the Justice department is worse, by far, than leaving things as they are.

    Regrettably, this government seems intent on a slash and burn policy, whilst simultaneously taking a somewhat Micawberesque view that "something will turn up".


    Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose.

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  • 70. At 3:48pm on 03 Jul 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    @69

    Did you get something stuck in your throat at the end of your post, there? >.>

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  • 71. At 4:33pm on 03 Jul 2010, Stuart8827 wrote:

    14. At 11:21pm on 30 Jun 2010, OurNorfy wrote:

    Will Englishmaninvegas please remember that the Guildford4 and the Birmingham6 were not proved 'not guilty'; only that there was insufficient evidence for a 'guilty' verdict.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That was on appeal. At their trial they were found guilty and sent to prison. In English Law lack of evidence to sustain a guilty verdict means not guilty. Only in Scotland is the a not proven verdict which in has the same effect as not guilty, the accused goes free.

    The convictions were squashed which is all that matters. If capital punishment had been available when they were convicted they would have been executed.

    There is not much redemption you can give to some one that is dead.

    How about this one. 14 years in jail for something he didn't do. How do you redeem that?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/36649.stm

    There are many more like that over the years since the death penalty was abolished.

    At least with a prison sentence there is some chance of righting a wrong. With the death penalty, there is no chance. It is final, the end.

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  • 72. At 4:36pm on 03 Jul 2010, PaulRM wrote:

    @70

    Not sure whether I am being admonished or not. I have become increasingly fed up building carefully constructed arguments, only for them to be trashed by the brain dead. If I have offended, I apologise; otherwise I would be more than happy to discuss this topic at your leisure.

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  • 73. At 8:19pm on 03 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    @PaulR

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, it's very frustrating isn't it? Somebody must've given the zombies some animation cream.

    I believe Auqakuh was being sarky...at least that's how it came across to me.

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  • 74. At 2:20pm on 04 Jul 2010, BENGUN wrote:

    Somebody should tell the author of the top comment, that the so called goverment of this country does not have a mandate and is being propped up by a minor party(that I predict will get even smaller come the next election). This goverment includes at least two leaders of the CONservative party who were rejected by the people on mass. The 55% of MP'S clause, is something someone like Hilter would and did come up with

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  • 75. At 3:31pm on 04 Jul 2010, paul wrote:

    why is it,when a dog kil,s some one, we put them down asap.people who go out and intently kill another human should be sentance to death when proven 100% guility.
    years ago when the wrong person was hanged ,we did,nt have the technologie as we have today,just the last 2 days ive read about 2 killings both was intent to kill, and then they was sentance to 30 years in prison thats alot of money for the people of uk to keep paying out,it could be spent in better places ,all it seems people of the uk paying for there keep . also the relations to the people they murdered victims are paying taxsworking every day off there live to there keep so ineffect there paying taxs to keep the murderer ,HOW DOES THAT WORK OUT RIGHT ,IS THAT JUSTICE
    its about time the UK woke up and start to look after the good people in life who do care about the standards of UK today

    ADVENTAGE
    save alot of money for new prisonS ,more room in prison for the less danger to our selfs
    take them off the street never to return to murder again
    act as a 100% deterant
    make a jail sentance harder condition not a PLAY GROUND

    DIS_ADVENTAGE
    out off the million you hang,over the years you might get 1 wrong
    but i have stated only in 100% intent to murder cases

    BRING BACK HANGING BRING BACK HANGING BRING BACK HANGING


    sex offenders should have there privates chopp off never for it to happen again

    if where going to keep on paying tax,s all our lifes then lets see some benefits from it

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  • 76. At 3:38pm on 04 Jul 2010, Arthur Pewty wrote:

    I think the recent tragic events in Tyneside have just underlined all our concerns about sentencing.
    It will soon no doubt be revealed just how little of the paltry sentence Moat will have served.
    Similarly we will be no doubt shocked as to his offending history prior to his brief sojurn at Her Majesty's Pleasure.
    Undoubtedly we will be dismayed at how easily he managed to obtain a firearm on the day of his release.
    Sadly these tragic events will soon pass into our collective history and despite much sadness and navel pondering, violent criminals will continue to be "early released" back into society. Where was the "risk assessment"? I imagine it was in more the form of a financial spreadsheet if indeed it ever existed.
    The people that gave him parole will keep their jobs, there will be no £200million public enquiry as there is no political agenda, and NOTHING will change.

    Always reassuring to know that in this country your life is in the hands of Accountants and their budgets.

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  • 77. At 1:28pm on 05 Jul 2010, Iapetus wrote:

    Re #75

    "out off the million you hang"

    Seriously?

    You think we should be hanging millions of people?

    There aren't enough murders in the country to make that many executions, even if you included people who were merely probably guilty.

    And sex offenders should have their privates cut off? Even streakers, or a couple of 15 year olds who had sex before they turned 16?

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  • 78. At 2:44pm on 05 Jul 2010, polly_gone wrote:

    #76 Arthur Pewty

    I share your concerns over the events in Gateshead, and of the stability of the man released from prison after 'completing' his sentence for assault. I also agree that 'risk assessments' have largely become tools of convenience, in that they cover the backs of those managing, whilst budget pressures that travel in many guises, seem to drive decisions from the backs of the same people's minds.

    Our society is as aggressive and violent as it has always been, but there are less chances for people to release anger in manageable chunks. Hence when pressure is released there is an awful lot of it to be expended and the 'cost' rockets exponentially.

    We should learn that prisons are unpleasant places for most people, period. Those who return time after time know the ropes, and, like most things in life, it is easier second, third, fourth time on. What is it that makes prison easier to bear for some than it is for others the first time?

    If we are going to spend large amounts of money on our mistakes (and they are our collective mistakes) then at least let us spend it wisely by understanding the problem and having a sensible remedy to the problem of people and incarceration.

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  • 79. At 5:32pm on 05 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    .
    Prisoners in Britain must have the right to vote.
    .
    "The Council of Europe has issued an unprecedented warning to the British government to take urgent steps to enable prisoners to vote in the forthcoming general election or face thousands more compensation claims.
    The committee of ministers issued the warning six years after a former prisoner, John Hirst, won a landmark case in the European court of human rights in which Britain's blanket ban on prisoners voting was declared illegal." Guardian, 9 March 2010.
    .
    Perhaps on the Isle of Wight, where there are possibly more people in prison than on the outside, prisoners can stand for parliament with a reasonable expectation that they will be voted into office.
    .
    As many of these prisoners are psychiatric cases we could reasonably vote them to the Council of Europe and the committee of Ministers. Then there can be none of the present ambiguity about whether the inmates are ruling the asylum


    .

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  • 80. At 5:42pm on 05 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    .
    I think that most posters are not aware of how small the scope is for countries like England to have their criminal justice system operating outside European Union directives guidelines, etc.
    .
    Can anybody tell me if Martial Law in a European Union constituent state is superior or subservient to EU directives on criminal justice?
    .

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  • 81. At 6:15pm on 05 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    52. At 3:31pm on 02 Jul 2010, leftie wrote:
    "Several pieces of research in the US and the UK indicate that locking up regular criminals does reduce crime levels ......................................So, if Ken Clarke gambles with a re-hab strategy and mass unemployment raises the crime levels within this parliament, he's going to sacrifice his Party's core credibility."
    ----------------
    Hi, Leftie.
    Thanks for this posting. Don't always see eye to eye with you, but we have lots of common ground with your analyses of this issue.
    Geoff.

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  • 82. At 6:36pm on 05 Jul 2010, The Fickle Finger wrote:

    Give the drug addicts access to as much free heroin as they want, real pure stuff. Cheap too. Prison population will be halved by the end of the month.

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  • 83. At 06:11am on 06 Jul 2010, ItsLaterThanYouThink wrote:

    80. At 5:42pm on 05 Jul 2010, GeoffWard wrote:


    I think that most posters are not aware of how small the scope is for countries like England to have their criminal justice system operating outside European Union directives guidelines, etc.
    .
    Can anybody tell me if Martial Law in a European Union constituent state is superior or subservient to EU directives on criminal justice?



    Since when has ENGLAND been a member of the European Union?

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  • 84. At 12:54pm on 06 Jul 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:

    IT MIGHT BE A GOOD/SENSIBLE IDEA IF ILLEGAL DRUGS WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO PRISONERS.

    OUR UK PRISONS SERVICE IS A TOTAL FAILURE MAINLY JUST BECAUSE OF VERY HIGH LEVELS OF ACCESSIBILITY TO HEROIN AND CRACK.

    HOW CAN REPEAT OFFENDING DRUG USERS GET CLEAN WHILE IN PRISON IF THEIR HABIT IS STILL MAINTAINED WHILE IN PRISON.

    WITH SUCH A LARGE DRUG RELATED PRISION POPULATION IT IS IMPERATIVE TO FULLY SECURE PRISONS.

    IF JUST ONE SINGLE INCIDENT OF DRUG USE IS FOUND, THEN THE WHOLE PRISON SHOULD GO ON SHUT DOWN FOR A WEEK WITH REMOVED PRIVILAGES FOR ALL, INCLUDING MINIMUM VISITS, LESS ACCESS TO TVs AND TELEPHONES, PROVIDING MINIMUM PRIVILAGES INCLUDING RESTRICTIONS ON MONEY ALLOWED TO SPEND AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS.

    I THINK YOU WILL FIND, THAT THE PRISON POPULATION WOULD GREATLY POLICE ITSELF.

    ALSO JUST PAD OUT LOADS OF CELLS AND LET DRUGGIES/ADDICTS COLD SWEAT IT OUT, I AM SICK OF FOREVER PAYING AND PAYING AND PAYING FOR THE SAME IDIOTS TO RECEIVE EXPENSIVE TREATMENTS WITH MATTROCIOUSLY MINIMAL POSITIVE RESULTS.

    LET DRUGGIES EXPERIENCE THE FULL PAIN AND HARSHNESS OF GETTING CLEAN, THEN THEY WILL BE REMINDED OF THE CONSEQUENCES IF THEY WERE TO RETURN.

    NO PAIN = NO GAIN.

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  • 85. At 12:59pm on 06 Jul 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:

    PUT THE HEROIN ADDICTS ON A PLANE, FLY THEM TO AFGANISTAN, THEN PAY AFGAN SOLDIERS £10,000 a year TO STAND GUARD OVER THEM WHILE THEY PULL UP POPPY PLANTS ONE AT A TIME.

    Oh, sorry, that wouldnt be very good would it, because presently the British army is standing guard protecting poor afgans from being shot and bombed, who pull up poppy plants one at a time as part of NATOs destruction of Afgan heroin. LOL.

    UK prisons are as much a joke as pulling up poppys one at a time.

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  • 86. At 4:08pm on 06 Jul 2010, paul wrote:

    sorry it was,nt the amount off hanging i was talking about its the the rate of getting it wrong with todays technology,dna ,computers,surveillance cameras
    ps am not out to kill millions,if any thing they would be sentance them selfs due to killing members of the public,
    or MR IAPETUS do you seriously suggest we keep on paying for there keep and send them to bed with a book

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  • 87. At 11:35pm on 06 Jul 2010, X wrote:

    "Sadly here in the States in particularly there are way too many occasions where relatively poor people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ended up being defended by an overworked and not particularly good public defender and have ended up on death row."

    You know that Japan has a very harsh penal system, with the death penalty, and zero tolerance policing, not only do they have loads of human rights, but zero crime too.

    Oh yeah you could do something really trick, and lock criminals up for a minimum of 12 months. Apart from female criminals who should all be released now as is sexist to lock up female criminals.


    Which will need more prisons and guards, so more jobs.

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  • 88. At 09:01am on 07 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    It is so very easy to solve prison problems, apparently, given the number of "stick 'em in a tiny dark hole for six months, that'll learn 'em" contributions, which, even written completely in capitals, are pretty pathetic.

    We are simple beasts, but we have a complex need to interfere with or judge anything that someone else does that we do not do. And, once the obsession (or should that be drug) gets a hold, there is no stopping the rape, pillaging, and plundering that is allowed. No cold turkey cures available either as nature has vowed to provide a steady stream of supply, as long as there are at least two of us alive. And, should that eventful day come when there is only one alive, he or she will drive themselves insane with their guilt ridden self pity.

    Having visited prisons in my life time and rubbed shoulders with heaven knows how many cons or ex-cons in life generally I still have a nasty feeling about prison because it seems punishment stinks. It would be nice to think that rehab was a pleasant air-freshener, but I am afraid there is nothing natural about any of it. A chemical stench replaces a human stench, an echo of the society we live in, complete with the billboards advertising nice new expensive housing estates behind which stand the slummy ghettos we never seem to replace.

    So easy to hide what we feel guilty about isn't it?

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  • 89. At 10:08am on 07 Jul 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    Prisons don't work. They are suppose to be a deterrent, yet people still commit crimes, so they fail in that respect, they also fail in stopping people commit crimes whilst in prisons and many people continue to re offend once they leave prison. All in all a total and utter waste of money. Maybe if the government didn't make crimes out of things that shouldn't be crimes then there wouldn't be so many people in prisons. Legalise Drugs.

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  • 90. At 12:39pm on 07 Jul 2010, Technical Vault wrote:

    Simply put the USA has tried @nautonier's approach, and their reoffending rate has gone UP. You might be able to deflect organised crime into other avenues with harsher sentences but it does nothing to deal with the screwed up kids who commit crimes on impulse. Our so-called soft approach has a reoffending rate of 40-50%, the hard-line USA approach 60-70%. I know which makes me feel safer.

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  • 91. At 8:23pm on 07 Jul 2010, Nik Macve wrote:

    Did old Ken ask anyone how expensive it would be to re-open the old mental hospitals that his boss closed last time the Tories were in? I believe that's when the prison population started its rise... correct me if I'm wrong!

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  • 92. At 1:29pm on 08 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    90. At 12:39pm on 07 Jul 2010, Technical Vault wrote:

    Simply put the USA has tried @nautonier's approach, and their reoffending rate has gone UP. You might be able to deflect organised crime into other avenues with harsher sentences but it does nothing to deal with the screwed up kids who commit crimes on impulse. Our so-called soft approach has a reoffending rate of 40-50%, the hard-line USA approach 60-70%. I know which makes me feel safer.
    ....................................

    Perhaps the crime re-offending rate in the USA would have been higher without the sanction of the death penalty

    When a country like USA or the UK routinely sends its soldiers to places like like Iraq and Afganistan and expects them to die for their countries as 'part of the course' ... I don't see why cold blooded and repeat murderer convicted criminals should expect leniency from the death penalty ... are our soldiers dying, in part, so that these cold blooded murderers etc and can live out their lives as pampered by the state?

    The problem with prison is that is just a game to criminals ... it doesn't frighten them ... prisoners re-offend because ... they are not bothered about doing another spell ... that's why prison doesn't work for many (although for some ... it does).

    Convicted prisoners I think should always be encouraged to work either in prison or outside of prison and make a contribution to society.

    The death penalty is there as the ultimate sanction and for justice for victims and their relatives ... re-offending rates are, I think, another issue.

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  • 93. At 2:15pm on 08 Jul 2010, Ian Waugh wrote:

    Not trying to be elitist here, but the public really don't know the best way to rehabilitate offenders, punish them or prevent crime. We need educated experts for that.

    The public and political objective should be simple 'to reduce crime'. Then it's up to the experts to decide how to implement that.

    Personally I believe that addressing the root causes of crime is the only answer - that means poverty, lack of opportunity and lack of education.

    There should be no element of 'retribution' or 'public anger' in the criminal justice system... only pragmatic decisions based on the best way to reduce offending.

    Sadly this will never happen, as the rabid voters have to placated.

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  • 94. At 8:36pm on 08 Jul 2010, Ejo wrote:

    What kind of message does that send to potential criminals... "I doubt they would send me to prison for this, their too worried about money"
    Personnally id much rather spend a little extra cash than have to worry about criminals running riot on the street, as the government in control of protecting the public they should feel the same too.
    How do these politicians get away with such blatent bullcrap! Those surveys show that the public want more prisons and thats what they should be focusing on.

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  • 95. At 06:39am on 09 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #92 nautonier

    I think you are over-egging your own custard Mister or Madam.

    We do not need to explore the US system at all. The UK has been there, done it, got the T-Shirt and discovered it was a cheap imitation of what was needed. But then the Victorians had a lot of brown stuff to handle so the blanket executions could, perhaps, be excused.

    You see I like observing the triple locks on doors, the high walls, security gates, security presence, CCTV, and razor wire that surrounds buildings where the idea is to keep people out rather than keep them in. It kind of signals to me that I am watched, unwelcome, an outsider, a potential sore, parasite, or a nasty rodent that bites. So is the message to me - this is what I think of you so please behave that way? Or is it, you may be a nice guy but I am not taking any chances? Shoot first, ask questions after.

    You see nautonier, it just isn't very clever is it?

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  • 96. At 06:40am on 09 Jul 2010, intbel wrote:

    Only those folks who pose a threat to society should be isolated from society.
    That would probably reduce the prison population by over sixty per cent immediately.
    Punishment, by definition, is remedial. We don't have a punishment system, not even a justice system - we have a revenge system.

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  • 97. At 00:15am on 10 Jul 2010, _dark_crystal_ wrote:

    What's the point. All has been said before on the death penalty and 'unusal' punishments on this blog itself and still the music plays.

    Englishmaninvegas suggested that those US states with the death penalty have more crime. Englishmaninvegas did not explain why. Perhaps the guilty return from the dead and commit more crime as zombies. Perhaps DP is made ineffective by the many delays; or perhaps other factors totally unrelated to DP are in play, like gun ownership and the population makeup.

    "Here in the USA - those states with this sanction have murder rates often higher than those that don't have it, so this argument is debunked"

    Is this statement even true? According to the DeathPenaltyInfo website, "For 2008, the average Murder Rate of Death Penalty States was 5.2, while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 3.3". Also considering that only 14 states out of 50 have banned DP, it stands to reason that you're going to find at least a few states among the 36 with DP that have a higher murder rate than some of the non-DP states. All in all, it's plainly not true that the murder rate is higher in DP states than in non-DP states. Nevermind, it's been repeated so much by DP opponents that it must be true anyway.

    On the other hand, Singapore has a swift death penalty for murderers as well as flogging for rapists. Each year it has 70% less murders than in the UK (see one of my past posts). Don't they come back as zombies in there?

    Have you noticed how opponents of the DP will bring one flimsy argument (Would you accept it if the sanction was applied on YOU??) and then when this is thwarted they bring another flimsy one (Look at the US, DP means more crime!!) and then only after exhausting these they might rely on more philosophical arguments (it's uncivilised and there's a risk of killing innocents). Being philosophical in nature, these arguments could be argued over all day long. The killing of innocents can be avoided by using DP only in cases where guilt has been admitted and where multiple sources of incontrovertible evidence exist. Such cases are rather frequent I think, because murderers are usually dumb people who love to spread evidence all over the place. Google Michael Gilbert and tell me the culprits don't deserve the DP.

    There are just two real issues with the DP: first, do we feel it's justice to kill a murderer; many would say yes and some would say that any other punishment would be unjust; and second, is it beneficial for society; the answer is clearly yes, by killing murderers we save innocent lives. Otherwise Singapore would have as many murders as UK and US cities, or at least, as many as Hong Kong. I don't care whether it's because of the deterrent effect, the fact that many criminals decide not to live there, or the fact that a dead man can kill no more, it just works. The average murder rates in the US actually confirm that.

    Before the election, the Tories campaigned in favour of honesty in sentencing and against Labour's early release of prisoners. Now they've changed their tune. That's not surprising considering who they have at the helm. David Davis would be singing a different song if he was the one at the helm.

    Ian Waugh: "We need educated experts for that." "The public and political objective should be simple 'to reduce crime'. " "There should be no element of 'retribution' or 'public anger' in the criminal justice system... only pragmatic decisions based on the best way to reduce offending."

    What the expert will tell you depends on the paymaster. He who pays the piper calls the tune. What if the best way to reduce offending is the use of lengthy prison sentences? What if the best way is what you call retribution?
    According to the wiki entry for recidivism, the recidivism rate for released prisoners in the UK is 50%. This means that when you release a prisoner, there's a 50% chance that he's going to reoffend. The consequences may not be too serious if we're talking about a petty thief but what about a murderer, do you take the 50% chance?

    "I believe that addressing the root causes of crime is the only answer - that means poverty, lack of opportunity and lack of education."

    There are extreme income inequalities in Singapore and Japan and yet they manage to keep crime well under control. The UK provides free education to all and has a very generous welfare system, and yet it produces some of the most appalling crimes. Why do you believe that continuing with the same policies will produce a different outcome in the future?

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  • 98. At 03:26am on 10 Jul 2010, Soul News wrote:

    Clearly the "price of punishment" is the difference between the cost in prison sentences and the alternatives suggested. IE: The savings.

    The problem is that it seems most people would rather PAY those extra costs for the feeling of punishment than save money and have a more effective system. So clearly punishment/revenge is more important to people than cost or effectiveness.

    One problem with all these figures though, is that it's never clear how they assign value for the time the prisoner is in jail, which should clearly be a period of ZERO re-offending. Is it better to have someone jailed for 10 years, and then released with a 80% chance of re-offending. Or free for 10 years with a 10% chance of re-offending?

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  • 99. At 06:13am on 10 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #97 _dark_crystal

    The problem with statistics is anyone can play, proving everything and nothing. The problem with 'fishing' around the world is that the circumstances facing the wannabe angler are so alien it is a different stretch of water. No fish to be caught there.

    And the problem with capital punishment is the more you kill, the more that come. As a panacea it has been proven worthless in any and all wars of attrition. Indeed the severity of punishment is seldom a deterrent; would love succeed in placing a woman in a pit to be stoned if it were?

    Life is often the process of walking along the edge of a razor, knowing you cannot go back. It is better to take the risk of being sliced in two to get to where you want than it is to stand still and watch your life disappear in misery. It has always been thus.

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  • 100. At 10:37am on 10 Jul 2010, BobRocket wrote:

    According to the wiki, recidivism rate is 50% in the UK

    if you have 128 convicted offenders, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 64, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 32, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 16, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 8, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 4, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 2, jail 'em for one day
    50% re-offend = 1, jail 'em for one day

    The last one gets life as he is obviously incorrigible, problem solved
    (don't you just love statistics)

    It's not about punishment after the fact, it is all about how you stop people offending in the first place.

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  • 101. At 12:07pm on 10 Jul 2010, If Only wrote:

    the prison population could be cut by half .. if we did not jail everyone who stole cash or credit crime etc , just make them pay back every penny no matter how much by docking it from the wages they earn or selling off their house and cars etc they should not get away with a penny . but violent people murderers and GBH crimes should be in jail for a long time ( but not all murders are pre meditated or as a result of trouble makers looking for a fight ) plus there should be no tv or games except chess and other board games , no phones no drugs ,or gyms books are good .

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  • 102. At 00:06am on 11 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    91. At 8:23pm on 07 Jul 2010, nikmacve wrote:

    "Did old Ken ask anyone how expensive it would be to re-open the old mental hospitals that his boss closed last time the Tories were in? I believe that's when the prison population started its rise... correct me if I'm wrong!"

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

    Ok, I'll correct you. If you had ever visited the old 'mental' hospitals you wouldn't be advocating their return. They were draconian inhuman places where abuse and violence was rife. I wouldn't place a dog in one of those places.

    Aside from that no the prison population didn't rise when Ken closed the hospitals....it rose when Michael Howard became Home Secretary. When Ken Clarke left that position the prison population was at around 40,000, as soon as Howard came in it started rising and has been ever since.

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  • 103. At 08:43am on 11 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #102 iNotHere

    As a generalisation the 'old' mental health hospitals were places where for every good thing a lot of bad things happened too. But then workhouses, residential homes, nursing homes were, and are, the same and, in essence, they continue.

    A glimmer of civilised behaviour did appear with sheltered or assisted housing but, even here, cost was a factor that couldn't rival the cheap approach that institutions allow. So we come down to investment in being civilised and, these days, that amounts to looking after our ruling classes and the affluent. So, in reality, nothing much has changed since Victorian blinkered hypocrisy.

    It amounts to punishing people simply because they need a modicum of help. It has become the norm for government to pay lip service to the idea of 'help' just so someone can say "we have lifted x people out of poverty", and so on. So no crime necessary, you'll be punished anyway no matter how honest you are, how forthrightly you challenge your barriers. The ruling classes see institutions as a necessary evil and they really do not care how evil the inmates are as long as they have hyper-security in their neck of the woods.

    It is a bit like 'planning' our villages, towns and cities around the idea that we should hide our dirty washing. We may want to try, once in a while, to do the washing though. But it has been a long time and there is always the chance that leprosy or other horrible diseases will be let loose.

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  • 104. At 10:05am on 11 Jul 2010, badmojo wrote:

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  • 105. At 10:24am on 11 Jul 2010, badmojo wrote:

    It's all a bit of a joke isn't it?Before coming to power the Tories were horrified at the ECL scheme(prisoners getting out 18 days early).Now that they're in charge of the purse strings it's an instant about face-so much for beliefs & principles eh!!
    Are prisons soft?Yes undoubtedly,digital tv,playstation,x box as much gym as you like & 3 squares a day-lovely jubbly! Do re-offending programmes work?Not sure,never seen any long term documented proof that says unequivocally that they do.
    So what do we do?Get less serious offenders out in the community on a daily basis sweeping streets,tidying gardens,doing forestry work etc?Great idea,who do we get to supervise them?Do we employ more prison officers to take them out each day & supervise them in the community? Or do we employ supervisors to collect them from the prison & take them out to work?Either way it will be more public sector salaries & pensions which will cost money the govt says it can't afford.
    We used to do all of the aforementioned 15 years ago,so why don't we do it now?Because the previous govt. brought in massive amounts of time consuming & unnecessary paperwork(known as R.O.T.L. packs) that massively over complicates the daily release of a prisoner.
    How do I know all this?-I've been a prison officer for over 20 years.Perhaps Mr Clarke might consider seeking advice from people who work daily with prisoners on how best to manage them!Then again he's a politician,I'm sure he knows what's best for everyone!

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  • 106. At 11:49am on 11 Jul 2010, nautonier wrote:

    95. At 06:39am on 09 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #92 nautonier
    .................................

    What is your point? Have you got anything to contribute or are you just a moaner? You exemplify your own vague post?

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  • 107. At 3:27pm on 11 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    #103 Daisey Chained

    Yep..couldn't agree more.

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  • 108. At 6:24pm on 11 Jul 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    #106 nautonier

    So you haven't an argument with the parallels of Britain's Victorian age and your synopsis on the US penal system.

    How sad. I didn't even have a chance to warm up.

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  • 109. At 6:48pm on 12 Jul 2010, John wrote:

    The US penal system is just as useless as the UK penal system. Neither systems are working; there are so many re-offenders.
    When looking for solutions to a problem it is usually best to look at examples where things are successful rather than copying failure. Singapore seems to be successful - they have a multi cultural society with virtually no serious crime.
    They take an incredibly harsh view on drugs offences with the death penalty. They also have the rattan (cane)
    Both these methods of dealing with crime are horrible but provide such strong deterrent that fewer people suffer as victims of crime and suffer from living a life of crime.

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  • 110. At 8:56pm on 13 Jul 2010, PaulRM wrote:

    I have just finished reading an article from the latest Sunday Times "News Review" section, page 3. For those who are convinced that the human race is divided into good guys and bad guys at birth, this should make interestiung reading.

    'My heart sank. Like half of all prisoners under the age of 25, Tuggy Tug has been in care. Despite the £2.5bn the government spends on the care system, nobody had got him employment or training'.

    'He contrasted his ordered and productive days with his old life. Outside he had been afraid all the time, "Every day was a battle man", he complained.'

    The article highlights that the life that these young men face on the streets is far worse than anything the "hang 'em, and flog 'em" merchants can begin to imagine should be their fate "inside".

    We should be asking why so many youngsters are abandoned to the care system, and why, with a budget of £2.5bn, they do such a patently awful job?

    Perhaps if we stopped abandonning youngsters to a sytem that is clearly not fit for purpose, and did our utmost to nurture these vulnerable children, we may stop this obscene trafic of the young in to the hands of career criminals that will ensure their live are forever blighted.

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  • 111. At 08:38am on 14 Jul 2010, D Johnson wrote:

    Must be Labour supporters criticising Ken Clarke. Typical childish behaviour we come to expect from our MPs.
    The budget on prisons could be drastically reduced if we brought back capatal punishment, one only has to look at the nymbersof murderers in prison that cost the earth to keep there.
    Hang `em all and save money. Even try HOGOF. Hang One Get One Free.

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  • 112. At 11:23pm on 14 Jul 2010, aristotles23 wrote:

    Mark, your "figure 4 " where you show a graph indicating exactly the same figures for re-offending for both solely prison sentenced and interventions based programs are not in accordance with the information on the Matrix Knowledge Prison report web-page that you say you are quoting.On that page,which summarises the full report with sufficient detail,the conclusions of the report are unequivocal,interventionist programs are seen as saving the tax-payers money as well as being better for both individual victims of crime and society as a whole.The rates of re-offending are reported as being significantly lessened by intervention programs whether in prison or community or a community/residential context.All I did was Google Matrix Knowledge,the international consultancy that you mention in your web-log. My question is, Why the discrepancy between what the Matrix web-page states and what your graph in "figure 4" represents,in statistical terms?

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  • 113. At 01:03am on 15 Jul 2010, aristotles23 wrote:

    As an adjunct to my post concerning the disparity between the statistical content of the Matrix Knowledge Prison Report and the small graph near the end of Mark's web-log,here is the link to the actual PDF file produced by Matrix as a summary of the full report [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] This information is in the public domain and should be read by anyone wishing to express an opinion on this subject.

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  • 114. At 01:20am on 15 Jul 2010, iNotHere wrote:

    In case it's not been done yet, (if it has, apologies) would everybody whose interested please sign the Vienna Declaration, the website explains all:

    http://www.viennadeclaration.com/the-declaration.html

    Thank you

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  • 115. At 08:09am on 28 Jul 2010, Roger wrote:

    Punishment should be a deterrent. Make it nasty so that criminals will not want to reoffend - that, in itself, will save vast amounts of money.

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  • 116. At 10:59am on 03 Aug 2010, beves wrote:

    Since when did a prison not include an element of retribution ? Sorry - so someone kills my wife and I send him to prison only for rehabilitation? As usual the point is lost ... what the public want to see is more people going to prison for longer for SERIOUS crimes. By all means lets stop locking people up for burglary or not paying their TV licence - but you only have to look at the BBC website today to see why people are apoplectic with rage at our system. Four bestial animals kick a homeless man to death and they get a couple of years. A drug fuelled scumbag punches an army hero to death and he gets four years. SOMEONE STEALS A BOOK BY SHAKESPEARE AND HE GETS EIGHT YEARS ????? how by any stretch of even the most demented fools' imagination is that just ? Four years for taking someones life - the injustice of that just beggars belief. People go to extremes of the death penalty because to out of touch fools who run our legal system have already gone to the extreme the other way. If this is in any way to save money then our country is lost already.

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  • 117. At 3:09pm on 10 Aug 2010, Horsetowater wrote:

    Prisons in the UK need to promote hard work equates to reward. At the moment, they are nothing more than doss houses with taxpayers picking up the tab. Bland food, basic accommodation and basic entertainment should be standard unless prisoners volunteer for work programmes.

    How about graduating to courses on carpentry or masonary? Teach convicts a skill and maybe less will reoffend. Have a state-owned company that performs state contracts that will employ these people upon release.

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