There are some things in the world which you challenge at your peril, for doing so makes you a 'soft lefty liberal' who will bring the country to destruction. Two spring to mind, drugs and prisons. The policies in both those areas can only be described as stupid, yet they're immune to attack because anyone who would dare suggest an alternative would automatically be seen as somewhere beneath rapists in the eyes of Daily Mail readers.
With drugs the problem is that prohibition doesn't work, with prison's the problem is that they often harden offenders rather than rehabilitate them.
|Behind bars means out of trouble, but what about when released?|
If someone was creating a health service from scratch based on our current prison set-up it would look a little like this.
+ve - Takes people off the streets in order to protect the public.
Simply put, tackle the problems that make the offenders turn to crime, rather than mindlessly locking them up for it. Now I can hear the cries of outrage already, 'Why should we help these criminals, these rapists and drug dealers, why should they be helped at all?'. Because, if you don't want them reverting to old tricks when they get out, you have to. About 70% of prisoners have 2 or more diagnosable mental illnesses, and 10% are severely mentally ill. Locking them up will do nothing to help them, and will do far more damage to people who really need help.
Of course there is still a place in society for jail for violent offenders and people who pose a serious risk to the public, but they don't make up the bulk of our prison population. For the vast majority the alternative is far cheaper and far more effective. Give them a long community service sentence at the same time as attending education classes or drug/mental health treatment as necessary. Fight the real causes of their criminality, rather than just hiding it behind bars.
There will be those yelling at the computer that I'm just a namby pamby liberal who would let paedophile's (they're always the criminal chosen for shock and awe tactics) roam the streets. I'm too soft you may say. Call it soft, call it liberal, whatever you call it, there's no denying it works better than what we do at the moment.
You might get some kind of pleasure from knowing that a criminal is behind bars, but I bet that sense of pleasure soon disappears when you're the one who is attacked by a reoffender.
I'd rather have a prison system that works, not one that just makes people think its working. Given community service and treatment people are 50% less likely to re-offend than those who go to prison, that's a system that works.
Who was the last person to halve prison numbers? A young, namby-pamby, soft liberal type no doubt? Actually, his name was Winston Churchill, and crime fell as a result.