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Should criminals die in prison?

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The One Show Team | 16:23 UK time, Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Lucy Siegle has been looking at the 'compassionate release' of prisoners with terminal illnesses.

Currently, releasing prisoners early on compassionate grounds is uncommon. In England and Wales, over the last five years, just 48 prisoners have successfully applied to go home early.

Juliet Lyon

In her film, Lucy met Juliet Lyon. Juliet is one of the prison reform campaigners who say that too many people are dying in prison.

Juliet argued that "the way we treat people, who we have to lock up, says something about us as a society. Even if the crime they've committed is so vile that people might think they don't deserve anything further, I think we deserve to behave in a humane and decent way."

Iain Dale

But Iain Dale, a leading right-wing blogger, feels less sympathy towards prisoners. He said to Lucy: "In any system of justice, the rights of the victim have to be superior to the rights of the person who has committed the crime. I take the view that if you've committed a violent crime [then the victim] has a right to have a say in whether you should be released.

"Somebody's who's committed a really serious crime, they've forfeited a lot of their rights - in some ways they have forfeited their right to compassion."

Should terminally ill criminals be released early from prison?
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