iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Book at Bedtime
The Miniaturist - Episode 2
Image for The Whole Life Tariff

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

The Whole Life Tariff

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 02 March 2011

Three convicted murderers have submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights opposing the principle of whole life tariffs. The trio claim that condemning them to die in jail amounts to "inhuman or degrading treatment" and argue that their sentences should be open to regular review.
This follows closely upon an outcry in the papers over the UK Supreme Court ruling that people should have the right to ask to have their names removed from the Sex Offenders Register. The Home Secretary said she would comply with the ruling, but reluctantly and to the minimum possible degree.
Is it a human right to earn - eventually - the chance to make a new start?
These are such sensitive issues (some would say symptoms of moral panic) that few if any politicians will risk being seen as soft on them. But the moral questions deserve consideration:
Is it wrong that the punishment for even the worst murders should exclude all hope of eventual release? Or should "life" in some cases really mean life, to reflect society's abhorrence of the crime and to protect the public from the criminal?
Is it wrong that the odium of a sex-crime should be attached to the offender from conviction to death, overriding all evidence of repentance and reformation? Or are sex criminals - with their high rate of recidivism - in a special category of dangerous individuals who need to be tracked and watched for the protection of the public?

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Melanie Phillips, Clifford Longley, Anne McElvoy and Kenan Malik.

Witnesses: Rt. Rev. James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons
Jean Taylor - founder of Families Fighting for Justice.
Mark Williams-Thomas Former police detective, criminologist and child protection expert.
Bobby Cummines OBE FRSA Designation : Chief Executive, 'Unlock' (The National Association of Reformed Offenders).

Broadcasts

Free download

  1. Image for Moral Maze

    Moral Maze

    Combative, provocative and engaging live debate examining the moral issues behind one of the week's…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss