Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ken Clarke: Right And Wrong At The Same Time...

Right:
‘Most members of the public, if they met some of the mentally ill people in prison would think, “What on earth is this person doing here?”
Wrong:
Asked what would happen if a mentally unstable offender released under his new regime stabbed someone to death, Mr Clarke said: ‘The first time someone bumps someone off the fortnight after they are let out, there will be absolute outrage.

'But you have to explain to the sensible public that you can’t give an absolute guarantee.

‘It’s about greatly reducing the risk of incidents like this happening. We can do that by providing these people with proper treatment.’
The answer to mentally ill offenders in prison is not to let them out and let them take their chances with the NHS, but to move them to secure mental hospitals, you cretinous oaf!

As for his comment that David Cameron is 'not where I am in the party, that’s true', I rather think even iDave has had enough, by now, of this man's talent for opening his mouth and inserting both feet.

Time he was removed?

20 comments:

Puppet said...

He really needs to stop talking with his mouth open.

allcoppedout said...

A psychopath is three times more likely to convince a parole board to release him/her. These people can be fairly reliably identified amongst other nutters. Clarke should be talking about how to get the best system we can operating.
Whilst this nonsense goes on, we still send people to jail for no reason at all (remember Linda Walker, the special needs teacher who fired a BB gun in the general direction of yobs?).

Rob said...

So, Ken Clarke will be voluntarily declining his security detail then? Ministers have to understand that there is no absolute guarantee against someone attacking them, and if someone does so then they need appropriate treatment.

Captain Haddock said...

If Ken Clarke owned two brain cells .. He'd be dangerous ..

Quiet_Man said...

The very fact that iDave had Clarke in his government would have been enough to prevent me voting Tory. As it was, a certain broken cast iron promise was enough for that.

microdave said...

"Time he was removed?" - No, just force him to live and travel as the rest of us do, without any security protection officers....

I can guarantee there won't be any outrage when he gets "bumped off" by a nutter released two weeks ago!

JuliaM said...

"He really needs to stop talking with his mouth open."

Heh!

"Whilst this nonsense goes on, we still send people to jail for no reason at all (remember Linda Walker, the special needs teacher who fired a BB gun in the general direction of yobs?)."

Indeed!

"So, Ken Clarke will be voluntarily declining his security detail then?"

It would be a nice gesture of solidarity with those he forces to take the real risk, wouldn't it? Though as microdave points out, maybe no tears would be shed if the inevitable happened...

"The very fact that iDave had Clarke in his government would have been enough to prevent me voting Tory."

I'm very surprised he was given that particular post, given his woolly views.

allcoppedout said...

Clarke is just another example of a buffoon politician living on another planet taking loads of money. At least he is a fat, cigar smoking Tory, unlike the Labour monster in the mansion down the road from me.

Chalcedon said...

You are quite correct, but the bastards closed the down and sold the land years ago. they then invented care in the community which doesn't work. Also these people often stop taking their medication. KC is an idiot with respect to these people.

Squander Two said...

When you say that Care in the Community doesn't work, with respect, Chalcedon, you're talking out of your arse. Whilst there are certainly people who should be watched round the clock and quite possibly under lock and key, these were a small minority of the inmates of the asylums. The reason they were shut down was that it very belatedly came to the Government's attention that they were a scam, full of people who shouldn't be there and operated by staff very much for their own convenience and profit. People went into those places in the early to mid 20th C and just got lost by the system. There were asylum inmates who'd been in there their whole lives for some petty crime -- theft is insane, doncherknow. Just last year, a man in his eighties discovered he had a sister he'd never known about who'd been locked up her whole life because she'd been in service and the lady of the house had mislaid some money. When the inbred eejit remembered where she'd left her money, no-one thought to release the poor teenage girl who'd been locked up as criminally insane for refusing to admit to the theft. So there she stayed, almost her entire life. No parole or review or maximum sentence, 'cause she wasn't locked up for the crime itself -- she was in for insanity. My mother, who oversaw getting thousands of inmates out of the asylums and rehomed, informs me that this story was completely unremarkable.

We had thousands upon thousands of mostly innocent people locked up in often appalling conditions and treated dreadfully, and the fact that a few dozen of them were dangerous does not excuse that -- just as the fact that most of them weren't doesn't excuse the few cases where dangerous nutters who should have been under lock and key were let near the public unsupervised. Care in the Community is one of the best things Major did. It wasn't merely politically expedient or efficient or economically responsible; it was just plain ethical.

JuliaM said...

"Whilst there are certainly people who should be watched round the clock and quite possibly under lock and key, these were a small minority of the inmates of the asylums. The reason they were shut down was that it very belatedly came to the Government's attention that they were a scam, full of people who shouldn't be there and operated by staff very much for their own convenience and profit. People went into those places in the early to mid 20th C and just got lost by the system."

It's certainly true that there were abuses, there's no doubt about that.

BUT, and it's a big but, even if they had a 100% success rate in ensuring that the dangerous ones were kept inside, I'm afraid I'd go with Chalcedon's summation, and consider it an overall failure.

You see, while attention focusses on those who kill others, very little is paid to those who kill or irreparably damage themselves. And then there's Laban's 'torture in the community' cases.

"Care in the Community is one of the best things Major did. It wasn't merely politically expedient or efficient or economically responsible; it was just plain ethical."

If it had been resourced properly, and the support and, yes, protection for these people had been there, it would have been.

But it didn't work out like that, did it? And that's just as immoral and unethical as keeping them behind bars.

Squander Two said...

Seriously, Julia? Allowing innocent people their freedom is morally equivalent to locking them up for life, because if you set them free something bad might happen to them?

I honestly thought you were against that sort of thinking. You're against taking away people's freedom to smoke or to get drunk or to eat fatty food on the grounds that it might be bad for them, but you're all for locking them up for life because freedom might be bad for them? Nice.

JuliaM said...

"Seriously, Julia? Allowing innocent people their freedom is morally equivalent to locking them up for life, because if you set them free something bad might happen to them? "

No, what I'm saying is that allowing people their freedom with no real support structure, after years and years of incarceration, is just as cruel as keeping them behind bars.

"...but you're all for locking them up for life because freedom might be bad for them?"

Not at all. There's a reason that when the Born Free foundation succeed in purchasing a captive lion or tiger, they don't simply dump the poor beast ion the savannah and bid it farewell.

It's released into a series of larger and larger enclosures until it can cope with freedom, and until it can, it's protected from competing predators that it cannot (at this stage) deal with.

Now, if we consider that the sensible and humane thing to do for a captive animal, why do we think the opposite is the correct course of action for a human being?

Squander Two said...

That's an absurd comparison. The difference is that humans have rationality whereas animals have only instinct.

Does your argument apply to people wrongly locked up due to miscarriages of justice, may I ask? Someone gets stitched up by the police, locked up for fifteen years, then the verdict gets overturned... you reckon the sensible and humane thing to do to the prisoner is to move them to a slightly more relaxed prison for a couple of years? Me, I'd free them.

> what I'm saying is that allowing people their freedom with no real support structure, after years and years of incarceration, is just as cruel as keeping them behind bars.

Run that one by a few prisoners. See how many of them agree with you.

I should add that it simply isn't true that every single inmate was just chucked out on their ear. It's taken many many years to close the asylums, and I know for a fact that it can take months to rehouse just one individual, especially the dangerous ones. As ever, the cases where it goes wrong get all the publicity but that doesn't mean every single case goes wrong.

Furthermore, whilst I am aware of and appalled by Laban's "torture in the community" cases, they are not examples of Care in the Community going wrong, any more than the murder of an ex-con is an example of the prison system having failed by releasing him into the big bad world where dangerous things happen.

I do find it odd that your proposed solution to a heinous crime is to pre-emptively incarcerate every potential victim. Me, I'd lock up the perps.

And I have to point out, of course, that some inmates were tortured in the asylums. Given that, where exactly would you send them? Shangri-la?

The world is dangerous. That's no reason to take away people's freedom. I honestly thought you understood that.

JuliaM said...

"That's an absurd comparison. The difference is that humans have rationality whereas animals have only instinct. "

Yes, indeed. But we began this by talking about the severely mentally ill or congenitally retarded, did we not?

And at the risk of sounding awfully politically incorrect, some of the worst cases are little better at cognitive function than some animals, I'm afraid. Especially after many years of incarceration.

"Does your argument apply to people wrongly locked up due to miscarriages of justice, may I ask? "

No, though the effect of those years of institutionalised order need to be taken into account.

"Run that one by a few prisoners. See how many of them agree with you."

Ever see how many long-term prisoners, once released, are unable to cope with the outside world,. and commit petty offences in order to go right back inside?

"...whilst I am aware of and appalled by Laban's "torture in the community" cases, they are not examples of Care in the Community going wrong, any more than the murder of an ex-con is an example of the prison system having failed by releasing him into the big bad world where dangerous things happen."

If they aren't examples of 'Care in the Community going wrong', then what are they? Could it be that there was no Care, and equally, no Community, in the first place?

Is it really more humane for them to take their chances? And if not, then whose welfare is really being considered here? Theirs?

I think not. In fact, I think what's being considered - ion a lot of cases - is the ego of the evangelist for 'freedom'.

"I do find it odd that your proposed solution to a heinous crime is to pre-emptively incarcerate every potential victim. Me, I'd lock up the perps. "

In a perfect world, these unfortunate souls would have a community that cared about then, kept a close eye on them, and descended like the wrath of a vengeful god on anyone attempting to mildly harass them, let alone do a fraction of the things to them that Laban chronicles.

But we live in an imperfect one.

"The world is dangerous. That's no reason to take away people's freedom. I honestly thought you understood that."

I do. I just think I am seeing the world as it is, rather than how I'd like it to be.

Squander Two said...

> Ever see how many long-term prisoners, once released, are unable to cope with the outside world,. and commit petty offences in order to go right back inside?

You mean they exercise free will? Why yes, I believe they do. The problem I have is the bit where you go from "Some do this deliberately" to "Let's do it to all of them whether they like it or not."

> If they aren't examples of 'Care in the Community going wrong', then what are they?

They are examples of violent crime.

I don't believe we should lock up all black people because some of them are sometimes the victims of violent racist crime; I don't believe we should lock up all women because some of them are sometimes the victims of violent rapes; I don't think we should lock up all children to protect them from paedophiles; I don't think we should lock up all mentally ill people for life because some of them might sometimes be the victims of sadists. Apparently, you do.

And I don't believe that every time a woman is murdered by a violent rapist, that demonstrates the terrible failure of the policy of allowing women their freedom.

> I just think I am seeing the world as it is, rather than how I'd like it to be.

No, this argument has nothing to do with how you see the world. I agree that the world's an awful place and most people are bastards. But, much as I'd love to protect the innocent from bastards, I don't think locking them up for their own good is the way to do that. Apparently, you do.

JuliaM said...

"I don't believe we should lock up all black people because some of them are sometimes the victims of violent racist crime; I don't believe we should lock up all women because some of them are sometimes the victims of violent rapes; I don't think we should lock up all children to protect them from paedophiles; I don't think we should lock up all mentally ill people for life because some of them might sometimes be the victims of sadists. "

But the only time you come close to a comparable situation there is with children (who will mostly grow up to become normal adults).

These people will never grow up, or gain the skills necessary to survive in the world.

And I don't believe that locking them up is the only alternative - I'm simply saying that opening all the doors and throwing them to the mercy of the outside world, merely so a few progressives could salve their consciences (or gain material for their thesis!) was not quite as altruistic or likely to succeed as they'd have had you believe...

"I agree that the world's an awful place and most people are bastards. But, much as I'd love to protect the innocent from bastards, I don't think locking them up for their own good is the way to do that. Apparently, you do."

No, I'd prefer to see a 'half-way house' option, as I've outlined in other comments. Not total freedom, but not total incarceration, either.

I'm simply agreeing with Chalcedon that the 'Care in the Community' project has been, for the most part, an abysmal failure that has condemned many to misery and in some cases, death.

But, hey, it made some people in authority (or with the ear of government) feel good about themselves, and gave them a chance to congratulate themselves on their 'humanity' at government cocktail parties and in the pages of the 'Guardian'. And I suspect, for those people, that's all that matters.

Those people, by the way, are the ones who should REALLY be behind bars.

Squander Two said...

> These people will never grow up, or gain the skills necessary to survive in the world.

What people? You clearly have no idea who was in the asylums.

> opening all the doors and throwing them to the mercy of the outside world

Which is not remotely what happened.

How about you find out approximately how many inmates were freed, and then count every single case you can find of their being tortured. Hell, multiply it by 10 to allow for underreporting.

JuliaM said...

"What people? You clearly have no idea who was in the asylums."

I'm not talking about the ones you've mentioned as a reason for your support of this policy - those 'put away' by their families for social reasons.

Those did indeed have nothing wrong with them THEN, though they are likely to have been irreparably damaged by their years of confinement.

But they are merely a small percentage, aren't they?

"How about you find out approximately how many inmates were freed, and then count every single case you can find of their being tortured. Hell, multiply it by 10 to allow for underreporting."

Ah. The concept of 'acceptable losses'.

Squander Two said...

> I'm not talking about the ones you've mentioned as a reason for your support of this policy - those 'put away' by their families for social reasons.

No, you're conflating two different points here. What you said was "These people will never grow up, or gain the skills necessary to survive in the world." Even ignoring all the inmates with nowt wrong with them at all, even concentrating exclusively on those with genuine mental illness, that's still errant nonsense. Most mental illness does not prevent you growing up or surviving in the real world.

And, in fact, appalling though it is when a mentally ill person is tortured by some sadist, we should remember that this happens to normal people too. Some quite accomplished, intelligent, savvy people have been kidnapped and tortured to death over the years. It doesn't show that the victim doesn't have the skills necessary to survive in the real world. It shows that the perp is a psychopath.

> But they are merely a small percentage, aren't they?

The torture cases are a small percentage. I wonder which group is smaller.

> Ah. The concept of 'acceptable losses'.

Yes, exactly. You think it's acceptable for thousands of innocent people to lose their freedom for life because bad things might otherwise happen to a few of them and because a very small number of them are dangerous; I think it's acceptable for innocent people to experience real life — which includes risk and danger — because the alternative was an appalling remnant of the seventeenth century in a supposedly civilised country. We're both talking about acceptable losses.

Genuine question: would you lock up everyone with Down's syndrome? How about Asperger's?

Just a couple of weeks ago, my mother was recounting her experiences of trying to rehome one of the dangerous ones. An entire asylum had been kept open just to keep this one guy incarcerated, as every other inmate had been rehomed but no-one in the country would touch him. Two points to note. First, he was eventually rehomed somewhere secure, not just chucked out amongst the public. Second, an entire institution was kept open for months just to keep this one man secure. This idea you have of the process — "opening all the doors and throwing them to the mercy of the outside world" — is simply not accurate.


Anyway, aside from all this bickering, Happy New Year!