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Archive for the category “Prison”

Prison & Punishment

The Government is scrapping the idea of building 3 new ‘Titan’ prisons with an inmate population of 2500 each and instead building five new prisons of 1500 each with cost running into billions. So far since 1997 prisoner numbers have increased by 24,000 and are expected to reach a total of 96,000 by 2014.

Apart from the USA no other country imprisons a higher percentage of it’s population than the UK.  What a shameful record and what a disgraceful waste of money given that 80% of ex prisoners re-offend. Quite obviously prison does not work, so why spend even more on a failed system? Why not spend the money on crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders? It’s easy to say we’re going to lock up more people than the opposition party but it takes courage and leadership to say that our aim is to reduce imprisonment.

A start could be made by moving the mentally ill into a caring and supportive environment and drug addicts could be moved to treatment centres and given appropriate support within the community. Better still de-criminalise drugs and just watch the crime rate plummet. Many people are in prison for non payment of court fines or could not obey an order to pay for their TV licence for example, surely a better way would be a community service order and help on how to survive on meagre state benefits. Even better would be an increase in those benefits and perhaps a ‘benefit standing order to pay for the licence weekly.

Prison only serves as a university in crime and upon release it can be of no surprise that the ‘graduates’ put their new found skills to practicle use.

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Lord Ahmed

It just gets better doesn’t it? If you are a Muslim AND a Lord you can almost get away with anything. Lord Ahmed admitted sending text messages while driving at over 60mph along the MI and to dangerous driving. The Lord hit a stationery car killing the driver, Martyn Gombar.

Ahmed was sentenced to a derisory 16 weeks in jail and has now had 12 weeks of that suspended by the Court of Appeal as an ‘exception’. One law for them and another law for the rest of us, well no surprise there then.

UPDATE: Lord Ahmed’s lawyer said that to keep him in jail any longer would have an adverse effect on his charitable work. I assume that being in jail would have an ‘adverse effect’ on just about every criminal’s family life, employment prospects and more; we’d better let them all out then?

US Vice President admits Torture

The Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, admitted that he was consulted on the use of ‘water boarding’ torture in Guantanamo Bay prison and that he approved it.

That the US could sink to such depths is perhaps not that surprising but it is still a shock when the second in command calmly and coolly states that it’s OK to torture people in the name of freedom and democracy. There should be world wide outrage and condemnation and all those involved including the President and Vice President should charged with crimes against humanity and appear before a Tribunal at The Hague.

Posts & Comments

Since I started this blog back in May of this year I have written on many topics including how our civil freedoms and liberties are being eroded away, to the point where almost everything is in place for total control of our populace. I have written on potential environmental disasters that threaten not just us but the World as we know it and I have written about the appalling waste of resources and life in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What though has attracted the highest number of comments? It is the release at the end of their sentence of the, now young men who killed James Bulger. It was indeed a terrible thing that they did but it was TEN years ago. In that time millions of people have starved to death, global warming continues to rise along with massive pollution of our only planet. The once thriving nation of Iraq has been all but destroyed along with hundreds of thousands of lives including hundreds of our young men and women in the armed forces.

So why all the comments on the James Bulger case? Could it be that the other matters to which I allude above, seem so far beyond our control that we can more easily focus our feelings of rage and impotence on two little boys of ten years ago? The sad truth is that in avoiding confronting those who would control us and ruin our planet we bring about our own subjugation. Let us focus our energy on what we can possibly change and leave to the judgement of history that which we cannot change.

U.S. International Renegade

For a so called ‘civilised’ nation the United States still continues with the barbaric practice of capital punishment which is a euphamism for killing people.

Jose Medellin, 33, was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday for admitedly a foul crime commited 15 years ago. The International Court of Justice backed up by Ban Ki-moon the UN Secretary General, requested the US to put a hold on his and another 50 executions as there should be new hearings to determine whether the Vienna Conventions were violated during their arrests.

Jorge Montano, a former Mexican ambassador to the US, said that the US should respect international law.

“The biggest lesson once again for the rest of the world, the US is not prepared to respect any ruling when that ruling is not in their favour and that, for me, is like the law of the jungle once again. If we don’t respect the international legislation, then how can we ask other countries to do so?”

Indeed!

Justice? I Think So.

I had one of those e petitions today asking me to sign to prevent the killers of Jamie Bulger, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson being released with new identities and possibly eventually into a new life in Australia. Now I’m a great one for petitions but I thought about this one long and hard and in the end  I decided that I couldn’t sign it.

What they did was of course, almost unbelievable, all the more so for being just ten years of age at the time but what do we know about their family background and the environment in which they lived. They have spent many years locked up and undergoing intensive therapies, re-programming if you like.

If punishment is required then losing the rest of their childhood and teenage years may not be sufficient for some but is an enormous price to pay and how long is punishment to continue. For ever? Along with punishment should go rehabilitation and those who are in a better position to know than us are convinced that this has been achieved. For justice to be true to itself there is or should be the element of mercy. Now that the killers are young men, no amount of continued punishment will ever remove from their memories the horror of what they did; their self punishment will be life long. It’s time for them and us to move on.

See also this group

Lock ‘Em Up

Here we go again, the old and familiar Tory cry of ‘lock them up.’ This time it’s David Cameron saying that anyone over the age of 16 caught carrying a knife should be given a prison sentence. Under ‘New’ Labour too the prison population has steadily increased, so no new thinking anywhere.

We already imprison a higher percentage of our population than any other country apart from the USA. It’s about time someone in power thought to themselves this isn’t working. It’s no good the political parties vying with each other over how many people they can lock up and say that while they are inside they can’t commit a crime. It is indeed true of course but eventually they are released and emerge back into society having had an intensive course in criminality from experts.

We don’t need more prisons, we need to get out of prison those have mental health problems and those who are in there for generally pathetic cases such as non payment of fines out of disgustingly low incomes. There must be greatly increased resources in the prisons to educate and reform the inmates before release. Huge numbers of prisoners are there for usually multiple but petty offences related to drug addiction and imprisonment will not make any difference to the vast majority. I shall write more on this subject another time.

The media also has a part to play and resist going along with a public perception, fuelled by politicians that more and more of our citizens should be ‘locked up.’ Imprisonment is not a deterrent and the punishment part of a sentence is actually the first three months, after which inmates merely become used to the routine and institutionalised. Unless the remaining time includes education, training and rehabilitation it is a complete waste of the money spent on incarceration.

Ian Huntley

Ian Huntley the cold blooded killer of two little girls back in 2002 and sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison is apparently being given special treatment.

Huntley has attempted suicide in the past and is at risk of trying again. He was given a television complete with a set-top box early on in his sentence, even though this is an earned privilege for all other prisoners, to help him cope with prison life. Now, prison officers have been instructed to sit and play Scrabble and other games with him “to keep his spirits up”.

No one was more pleased than me when the barbaric practice of capital punishment was ended but when this distressed human being has made it clear, over a period of six years, that he wants to end his life would it not be a kindness to let him? There is virtually no possibility of his release and therefore no chance of rehabilitation, his continuing incarceration and suicide prevention must border on mental torture. I am not suggesting for a moment that he should be given any assistance to end his life but that the special measures on prevention be removed.

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