If our criminal ‘justice’ system was a human being, it would be on its knees.
We have simply given up properly (if at all) punishing those who choose to break the law, and in doing so have prevented the working of the little-understood action of deterrence; people simply do not fear that their unlawful actions may see them facing undesirable consequences.
Who can blame them? After all, the number of police officers is sharply declining, and those who remain spend their time filling in paperwork in offices rather than patrolling the streets where the crimes actually take place (when was the last time you saw a ‘Bobbie on the Beat’?). Similarly, crimes which truly effect the lives of many up and down the country are simply ignored by the criminal ‘justice’ system on a daily basis (look at the de facto legalisation of marijuana).
Add to this list the fact thousands of prisoners are to be released early, in accordance to a decision made by the Ministry of ‘Justice’, and the situation at hand (or rather out of our hands) becomes a whole lot worse.
According to The Times, these criminals – the true bastions of our moral society, namely ‘those serving sentences for violence, robbery, burglary and public order crimes’ – are to be released as part of a ‘drive to relieve pressure on overcrowded and drug-ridden jails.’
A number of issues are overlooked by this decision.
Firstly, if we want prisons to be any less ‘drug-ridden’ (which any decent person would) then the matter must be addressed in the prisons themselves. Moves should be made to stop drugs from getting into prisons – which seem more and more to be run by inmates rather than by prison staff – in the first place. Simply throwing users of drugs from prisons on to the streets would only then make matters worse on said streets, thus expanding an already worrying problem within our society. I further doubt that this move would even actually solve anything in the prisons themselves.
More importantly though, the decision completely ignores the great significance of deterrence as part of a criminal justice system.
Being soft on criminals and allowing them to leave prison before their sentences (already far too short) have been carried out makes a mockery of the system. It is also rare that criminals are sent to prison after their first (or even second) offense; it would usually take at least half a dozen before the system bothers to take action, by which point so much damage has already been done. As Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens has said, ‘it is now easier to get into university than it is to get into prison.’
Such sloppy foolishness must stop.
The best (and maybe only) way to ‘relieve pressure on overcrowded’ prisons would be to make people fearful of going to prison in the first place.
Though it would seem on the surface that punishing criminals after a maximum of two offenses, extending prison sentences and making sure they were actually carried out for their full lengths would lead to prisons being more overcrowded, I believe that the opposite would actually be the case.
Indeed, were this to happen, people would be deterred from committing crimes in the first place (notice that few would now be stupid enough to drive when under the influence of alcohol due to the heavy penalties that can arise from doing so) and so far fewer would actually go to prison.
Of course, no matter how seriously a criminal justice system responded to crime, the odd half-wit would still be determined to commit unlawful acts.
However, on the whole it seems that, rather than releasing prisoners early and giving them a nice pat on the back, a serious approach to crime would ease the problems which the Ministry of ‘Justice’ speak of.
Until such an approach is considered (never mind implemented!), don’t expect matters regarding our criminal ‘justice’ system to get any better. To the contrary, I’m sure that the government’s actions shall make prisons ever more ‘overcrowded’ and ever more ‘drug-ridden’.