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A failure of justice


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#21 tonyXIII

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

It goes back to people like Elizabeth Fry.   She might not have used quite the same terminology, but the concept of rehabilitation was definitely there.  She was sufficiently important in this field that she's on the back of the five pound note.

 

Thanks for the reference, Steve. I had heard of Elizabeth Fry, but had never had her role in society explained. Having looked her up, she was clearly a strong-willed woman who was willing to stand up and declaim things she felt were wrong. It's not yet 10:00am and I've learnt something important, so again, thanks.

 

However, (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) her main focus seems to have been the health and welfare of (primarily) women prisoners and the conditions in which they were incarcerated. That these conditions were improved is clear. It's also clear that such progress was very slow. This, though is not what we mean when we talk about "rehabilitation" today, is it? Nowadays, rehabilitation means (roughly) "restoring a criminal's character so that he can return to become a contributing member of society." My own view is that prisons are almost uniquely incapable of performing this function. (How can you make someone 'fit for society' by locking them away from society?) It is clear to me that this was not a historical role of prisons and I don't know when it was imposed on them. My guess is post-1945.

 

I realised, while typing that paragraph, that my views could be misunderstood (as always). While I do advocate a return to a "harsher" prison climate, I do not advocate a return to stone-flagged floors, straw to sleep on and a bucket in the corner. I simply don't accept that prisoners should have levels of comfort which are beyond the reach of many law-abiding citizens, such as some pensioners.


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#22 Griff9of13

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 11:11 AM

I think there are two distinct needs being discussed here; the need to punish and the need to rehabilitate. IMO I do think we need both. Punishment alone only appeases the victims and those of a daily wail disposition, but alone won’t solve the problem. 
 
The OP was clearly addressing the punishment case. There are many ideas, but far from all, in the OP that I find myself in agreement with.  I think the stuff about parental responsibility for the under 16s a very good idea. In addition I think there should be an automatic accumulator system. 1st offence get off with a fine/community service. 2nd, doubling of the punishment of the first. 3rd jail. 4th, double the jail term of the 3rd etc. persistent offending should lead to greater punishment. 
 
On the flip side of that there does need to be more of an effort made to try and rehabilitate criminals. At the moment if you serve less than a year in jail all that happens at the end of your term is that you are shown the door with £46 in your pocket. That’s it, no support whatsoever. £46 doesn’t last very long these days, so without support or money or perhaps even a home and probably with little in the way of employable skills and likely with mental health problems or drink and/or drug addiction problems it isn’t really surprising these people go straight back to the crimes that landed them in jail in first place. This week the government did announce that they were going to address this by making it an obligation that offenders who serve custodial sentences of less than a year will be put under supervision for 12 months after their release.  However, true to their nature, this government is pushing the responsibility to do this on the private sector and charities. 

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#23 guess who

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 05:11 PM

The present system clearly isnt working.

 

You have two young men with a history of crime. One of them, Bartlett had convictions for robbery, burglaries, kidnap and making threats. He attacked his 62-year-old foster father and took part in a violent burglary in which an autistic victim was robbed. The other Hoque has three convictions for assault, including two violent attacks on his own parents last year.

 

The system allowed these two to roam the street looking for there next victim. This meant that they were looking for a easy target. Did they care about there victim? did they think about the effect on her or her family. Obversely not as one of them, Bartlett has shown no remorse for killing Mrs Castle and stormed out of a probation meeting when he was asked to apologise to her family.

 

Yet now there two expect the same system, to look after them whilst in prison and to care and look after them when they come out.

 

I cannot think of one reason to save the pair of them from a tall tree and a short rope.


 

 


 

Edited by guess who, 11 May 2013 - 05:13 PM.


#24 one shot

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 06:46 PM

A.22 rimfire behind the ear, cheap and effective, no messing about, no fanfare, just get rid.

#25 Northern Sol

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:32 PM

What a lot of reactionary nonsense written here so far. More prison, harsher regimes and longer sentences is a recipe for an expensive disaster and ultimately more crime. There can be few industrialised nations with a CJ system harsher than the USA and few that have as much crime. On the other hand CJ in most Scandinavian countries is focused on rehabilitation and has much less crime. You have to ask yourself whether you want societal revenge and retribution or whether you want less crime - you cannot have both.

It's cause and effect though, isn't it?

 

Does mild punishment cause low crime rates or does low crime rates cause mild punishments?

 

I'd suggest the latter.



#26 WearyRhino

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:46 PM

It's cause and effect though, isn't it?

Does mild punishment cause low crime rates or does low crime rates cause mild punishments?

I'd suggest the latter.


In comparative studies in the UK, the evidence strongly suggests, when other factors are controlled for, that non-custodial sentences with strong rehabilitative elements (eg probation, restorative approaches) have lower recidivism rates than prison.

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#27 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:06 PM

I think there are two distinct needs being discussed here; the need to punish and the need to rehabilitate. IMO I do think we need both. Punishment alone only appeases the victims and those of a daily wail disposition, but alone won’t solve the problem. 
 
The OP was clearly addressing the punishment case. There are many ideas, but far from all, in the OP that I find myself in agreement with.  I think the stuff about parental responsibility for the under 16s a very good idea. In addition I think there should be an automatic accumulator system. 1st offence get off with a fine/community service. 2nd, doubling of the punishment of the first. 3rd jail. 4th, double the jail term of the 3rd etc. persistent offending should lead to greater punishment. 
 
On the flip side of that there does need to be more of an effort made to try and rehabilitate criminals. At the moment if you serve less than a year in jail all that happens at the end of your term is that you are shown the door with £46 in your pocket. That’s it, no support whatsoever. £46 doesn’t last very long these days, so without support or money or perhaps even a home and probably with little in the way of employable skills and likely with mental health problems or drink and/or drug addiction problems it isn’t really surprising these people go straight back to the crimes that landed them in jail in first place. This week the government did announce that they were going to address this by making it an obligation that offenders who serve custodial sentences of less than a year will be put under supervision for 12 months after their release.  However, true to their nature, this government is pushing the responsibility to do this on the private sector and charities. 

 

 

I think there are two distinct needs being discussed here; the need to punish and the need to rehabilitate. IMO I do think we need both. Punishment alone only appeases the victims and those of a daily wail disposition, but alone won’t solve the problem. 
 
The OP was clearly addressing the punishment case. There are many ideas, but far from all, in the OP that I find myself in agreement with.  I think the stuff about parental responsibility for the under 16s a very good idea. In addition I think there should be an automatic accumulator system. 1st offence get off with a fine/community service. 2nd, doubling of the punishment of the first. 3rd jail. 4th, double the jail term of the 3rd etc. persistent offending should lead to greater punishment. 
 
On the flip side of that there does need to be more of an effort made to try and rehabilitate criminals. At the moment if you serve less than a year in jail all that happens at the end of your term is that you are shown the door with £46 in your pocket. That’s it, no support whatsoever. £46 doesn’t last very long these days, so without support or money or perhaps even a home and probably with little in the way of employable skills and likely with mental health problems or drink and/or drug addiction problems it isn’t really surprising these people go straight back to the crimes that landed them in jail in first place. This week the government did announce that they were going to address this by making it an obligation that offenders who serve custodial sentences of less than a year will be put under supervision for 12 months after their release.  However, true to their nature, this government is pushing the responsibility to do this on the private sector and charities. 

there's another

the need to protect the public from dangerous people


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#28 Griff9of13

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:34 PM

there's another
the need to protect the public from dangerous people


That's true. Though I was thinking (although I didn't say it) more about those who make up the majority of the prison population, the persistent low level offenders.
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#29 Old Frightful

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:07 PM

Have some compassion, one of these lads is a father of two. Think of the effect his incarceration will have on his children and their mothers.

I would suggest these lads could use some character building rural pursuits.

So, spray them with "Scent de la fox", set them free in the countryside, and let the local hunt take over.

At least I'd be on the side of the unspeakable for once.

Edited by Old Frightful, 13 May 2013 - 10:08 PM.

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#30 Northern Sol

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:53 PM

In comparative studies in the UK, the evidence strongly suggests, when other factors are controlled for, that non-custodial sentences with strong rehabilitative elements (eg probation, restorative approaches) have lower recidivism rates than prison.

Yes but you are talking about Scandinavia not the UK plus you haven't allowed for the fact that recidivist rates don't tell the whole story. Shoplifters in prison don't shoplift but that doesn't show up in recidivist rates.



#31 Jasper

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:42 AM

On the radio this morning it was discussing the Huhnes (?) release from prison after serving 8 weeks of an eight month sentence, and one commentator made the statement that in British prisons there is the 'general rule' that if you are sentenced to any term up to 4 years you only serve a quarter of that time, and between 4 and 7 years you only serve a third.

Maybe a prison term that means what it says would be a start.



#32 Marauder

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:05 AM

A.22 rimfire behind the ear, cheap and effective, no messing about, no fanfare, just get rid.

7.62mm will get them both with one round.


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#33 Futtocks

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:18 AM

On the radio this morning it was discussing the Huhnes (?) release from prison after serving 8 weeks of an eight month sentence, and one commentator made the statement that in British prisons there is the 'general rule' that if you are sentenced to any term up to 4 years you only serve a quarter of that time, and between 4 and 7 years you only serve a third.
Maybe a prison term that means what it says would be a start.

Maybe not a completely cast-iron rule, though. You should allow an early release (maybe not that early, though) if the prisoner has warranted it with exceptionally good behaviour, in order to encourage them to make an effort.

Edited by Futtocks, 14 May 2013 - 11:18 AM.

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#34 Wolford6

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:49 AM

There's no point in spending over £150,000 (and I reckon it was a lot more)  on a court case where, even when found guilty, the defendants serve only eight weeks apiece.

 

Their prison-time probably cost us another £12,000.

 

The case hasn't even had any salutory significance for the general public. The conclusions that can be drawn from this showpiece trial are: -

 - that anyone can get away with swapping speeding points so long as neither party blabs.

 - even the most intelligent of women can exhibit gross stupidity.

 - politicians tell lies.

 

I don't know about you, but I knew all these things without any need for the Police and the CPS to demonstrate it via a show-trial.

 

An absolute waste of "time".


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#35 ckn

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:19 PM

On the radio this morning it was discussing the Huhnes (?) release from prison after serving 8 weeks of an eight month sentence, and one commentator made the statement that in British prisons there is the 'general rule' that if you are sentenced to any term up to 4 years you only serve a quarter of that time, and between 4 and 7 years you only serve a third.

Maybe a prison term that means what it says would be a start.

Those two are text-book cases of people that aren't a threat to public safety and really were over-sentenced to prove a point.  I'd have thought a suspended sentence and a very large fine would have been far more appropriate for them both.  What purpose does it really serve to have them in jail beyond costing the taxpayer a fortune.  For wealthy, white collar people who go almost instantly to open prisons, an asset stripping punishment would be far harsher than a few weeks mellowing out reading books in a situation that's far more comfortable than most squaddies in barracks get.


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#36 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:34 PM

That's true. Though I was thinking (although I didn't say it) more about those who make up the majority of the prison population, the persistent low level offenders.

 

 

That's true. Though I was thinking (although I didn't say it) more about those who make up the majority of the prison population, the persistent low level offenders.

exactly

 

prison is as much a dumping ground for the mentally ill, the socially inadequate, and the dependant substance abuser as it is for locking up dangerous people.

 

Thousands of people don't belong in prison, but there is nowhere else for them to go, and/or no other initiatives in place to deal with these people.


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