Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “Prison”

The Naked Rambler & Our Sick Nation

Stephen Gough the ‘naked rambler’ arrested as he left prison, taken to Court and given another two and a half years, making close to ten years inside at huge public expense.

Ten Years! What has he done, committed murder, bank robbery, rape, Banking fraud (oh no you don’t get done for that) GBH? No, none of these, he just defends his right to walk across the country without clothes although with the amount of camping gear his carries on his back he’s almost dressed anyway. He is also making a statement that nudity is not offensive unless you have a very peculiar mind set in which case it’s your problem not his. Out of a global population of say, 8 billion it follows that around 4 billion have dangly bits between their legs so I’d call that normal, ordinary and completely unremarkable and about as offensive as beans on toast.

Being nude in the UK IS NOT ILLEGAL but under our often ridiculous laws it only requires one person to say they are offended and that includes one policeman feeling vindictive, then the person without clothes can be arrested for ‘conduct liable to bring about a breach of the peace’. Note ‘liable’ not ‘has’.

Were Stephen to be walking around with an erection then yes, that could be reasonably construed as offensive or threatening but he doesn’t, we are talking about a perfectly normal bloke walking for pleasure without clothes. It has been said that children could be upset but this is only because under generations of conditioning people have hidden away parts of their body so that they become mysterious, considered ‘dirty’ and taboo. Children brought up in a naturist home or one where the parents don’t bother to cover up after a shower or a bath are not at all upset or bothered by a naked body, they just accept it as normal which, of course, it is.

There is controversy about the Human Rights Act but if we can’t choose whether to wear clothes or not whilst walking from Lands End to John O’Groats as Stephen has then I suggest we have no rights at all.

MAIN-Stephen-Gough

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Knife Crime in UK

Knife Crime! Government and not just this one, are frequently banging on about knife crime, the latest being anyone caught for a second time carrying a knife will be imprisoned for six months, where of course they can learn to use them more effectively.

I have been to a France a few times and there they have shops that specialise in selling knives. The following is from global knife statistics: “France has seen no equivalent of the wave of fatal stabbings in Britain, and newspaper reports on the so-called “culture du poignard” (knife culture) reigning in London and other big cities are read with universal horror.”

It follows then that knives are not the problem so there must be some other underlying cause; would it not therefore be better to research this rather than banging up more people in crime academies?

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.

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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