Friday, 2 July 2010

Hell hath frozen over..

Look out your window and pigs may be flying, because I'm about to say something quite rare. I agree with the Tory's. Shocking isn't it?

Not on everything, you should note, I still think they're doing a terrible job, but in the one case of prison reform they seem to be hitting the nail right on the head.

I've thought for a long time that the kind of public sucking up that goes on both sides of the House when it comes to 'being tough on crime' is naive at best, and plain stupid at worst. Our re-offending rate is terrible and something needs to change, locking people up for longer is not ,and never has been the way.

The public seems to hate any sniff of letting prisoners off with lighter prison sentences but if you take emotion out of the equation for just a moment then the answer seems much simpler. Looking at this seems to sum up the public mood:

But what's more worrying is what they suggest when asked how money could be saved from the prison's budget:

People seem to have a knee-jerk reaction that more time doing nothing behind bars is infintely preferable to rehabilitating offender's and making the public safer by making sure they don't re-offend again. Is it better that someone spends 10 years doing nothing behind bars and then re-offending or spending 5 years behind bars doing courses that will help them change their ways for the future?

And this isn't just me being liberal lefty, it makes good sense and has been shown to work. Sending a heroin addict to get residential treatment saves the taxpayer £202,000 pounds compared to sending them to prison because of the fewer crimes they will commit after their time is up. And drug addiction isn't the only area. Lots of shorter sentences would be best being replaced by community schemes. Leave the prisons to deal with hardened offenders, where we can we should be aiming for rehabilitation.

Surely it's time to stop being 'tough on crime' for the sake of looking good and start using our brains when it comes to how to deal with criminals?

(Using 'hath' instead of 'has' definitely makes the title sound better don't you think? :))


Anonymous said...

You agree with Tories on prison reform, but over what exactly? You've not actually said ..

And, old English is always good!

Chris said...

I agreed in principle with what Ken Clarke said about prison failing to rehabilitate offenders and that more prison places is not the answer.
We desperately need reform to the way people are sentenced.