If you look in any newspaper you will see on any one day a news story where a criminal had got a very strange sentence; such as the paedophile who escaped prison when found with a million pictures of child abuse, then there was the student in south wales who got 56 days for his actions on twitter what he said and did were wrong but really prison when a community sentence would have been more proportionate.  Then we see in today’s paper the case of a prolific burglar who 12 months ago was given a suspended sentence for his actions, only for him to go on and commit 22 more offences in 9 months and asked for more to be taken into consideration when sentencing and he got 6 years.

Now these are just a handful of cases where criminals have been handed down unusual sentences for their crimes.    Now I could also add in my own experience where my attacker got a 2 year community sentence for two serious sexual offences, after he had evaded police bail for 14 months.  So is he likely to have turned up for his punishment?

Now some people will tell you that prison doesn’t work and we should use more community punishments, now yes re-offending rates of people on community sentence is 13% lower on average than those sent to prison.  But it’s still 54% or people re-offending after, their sentence. 

So I can see why a judge may think it makes more sense to issue one, as there is only a 54% chance that they will re-offend as opposed to a 67% chance.  But this in my opinion is where the judges are going wrong and why they are out of touch with society. 

Now I can understand with a first time offender they would think what’s the best way to send this person back on the straight and narrow so they won’t get in to trouble again? In that case if it’s nothing serious then a community sentence is probably the right thing for them.  However when the judge is faced with a habitual offender who has a criminal record as long as your arm, is the best thing to let them walk around the streets?

What we need is reform of the whole criminal justice system, as I have spoken about prisons earlier I won’t talk about that now.  But I think that the judiciary is letting people down.  Prison is there to make the people feel safe, to keep people we perceive as a danger to society and our belongings away for us for a period of time. 

Now watching Free Speech last night on the BBC they had a person who went to prison and said “he didn’t enjoy it and didn’t think it was right for him.” But does he not understand prison is not supposed to be fun it’s a punishment for doing something wrong. 

Anyhow the judges need to realise that we the public want to feel safe, and as a result habitual offenders and violent people should be locked up for what they do.  If we change prison we can address their re-offending rate. 

In America we see judges standing for office, and being elected by the people to do their job.  Now yes this may politicise the judiciary a bit, and may account for their astronomical prison population.  But I think that if people know that burglars would get sent to prison when convicted people would feel safer, and this would also impact on the opinion the public have on the police to a degree. 

As I know personally, that if the police put in a lot of effort to catch someone and put them on trial for the judge to say ok you can go and have a community sentence feels like a kick in the teeth for the victim and I am sure the police feel the same. 

The justice system is there to protect the law abiding, but in lots of cases we see it as if they are protecting the criminals, with a slap on the wrist don’t do it again and go and pick up litter for 200 hours. 

Judges need to get tougher on offenders, the sentencing guidelines need completely overhauling and increasing; and prisons need changing.  Then when people are seeing justice being done and criminals punished in an appropriate manner will people start to feel that justice is being done and we can feel safer in the streets and our own homes.   


05/04/2012 4:27am

What was wrong with the short, sharp shock? And you are quite right about keeping the scum off the street. The Left think that locking people up is a vengeful act, when actually it is prudent justice for the wronged and the to-be-wronged.


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