Thursday 27 January 2011

Is This Surprising To Anyone?

More than 6,400 offenders considered to pose a "high" or "very high" risk of causing serious harm to others were allowed to serve their sentences in the community last year.
Well, of course they were. After all, it’s not a ‘community’ that the magistrates and judges have to live in, is it?

Still, maybe it was a breakdown in communications, and they weren’t told that…

In each case judges were informed of the significant likelihood that the criminals would reoffend but still decided to impose community sentences.
And now many cats are out of the ‘let’s go soft on criminals and see what happens!’ bag:
The figures come as a separate study shows that a programme that hands offenders an "intensive" community punishment instead of sending them to prison has failed in almost a third of cases.
Which will no doubt be spun as ‘over two-thirds proved successful!’ by the time the Min of Just gets to work on it…
Philip Davies, the Tory MP who obtained the figures, said: "It is an absolute scandal that the criminal justice system can put us in a situation where people have a high risk of committing crimes and the courts do not send them to prison.

"The public are entitled to expect to be protected. There is only one place for these people and that is prison.

"It flies in the face of Ken Clarke's assertion that too many people are going to prison when clearly they are not."
Let’s have the response then:
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said of the latest statistics: "It is for the court to decide an offender's sentence and there will always be enough prison places for the most dangerous criminals.

"The majority of offenders on community sentences are less serious offenders, but all offenders are subject to risk assessment to ensure that the public is protected. When a potential risk is identified the appropriate offender management, community supervision, and where appropriate, MAPPA arrangements, will be put in place.

"Community sentences can divert offenders from the revolving door of short prison sentences. Short prison sentences can lead to problems with employment, housing and family relationships which are key to stopping people reoffending."

Also, surely those ‘problems with employment, housing and family relationships’ are of their own making? Why should it be up top the state to resolve them?
Blair Gibbs, head of the crime and justice unit at the think tank Policy Exchange, said: "Current community sentences – even the most intensive type – are an expensive failure.

"Rules are not enforced, breaches are routine, and offenders commit new crimes while they are serving the orders. Unless conditions are tightened up, orders made more intensive, and tough new work schemes created, community sentences will continue to fail and will go on being viewed by the public as a soft option.”
But then, what are the public to do about it? Vote in a traditional ‘law & order’ party, and hope for the best?

Yeah, that went well, didn’t it..?


PT said...

Yet another way in which our unrepresentative rulers fail in yet another of their primary duties to the citizen... sorry, that should read "duties to the serf."

JuliaM said...

Indeed. And yesterday's news on the failure rate of ASBOs served to hammer that home.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what 'intensive' means Julia? The donkeys who used to live next door to us were visited at least two or three times a week by cops and antisocial officers. They were mostly useless. Gone for two years now and as bad as ever at the new address. Prison didn't work either.