Site Meter

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Anthony Horowitz: Locking up our youngsters leaves society in shackles

Anthony Horowitz: Locking up our youngsters leaves society in shackles

What most worried me was the sense of inevitability that brought them here; the feeling that, from the very start, there was to be no escape

'When I asked the group where they would be in 10 years' time, there was a long pause and then a single word: 'Prison'. This is the cost of a system doing no one any good'

Consider the following two perspectives on our over-crowded prison system. "A costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens... banging up more and more people for longer without actually seeking to change them is what you would expect of Victorian England." Or, alternatively: "A key factor in reducing crime has been the increased number of offenders sentenced to prison."

It's indicative of the topsy-turvy world in which we live that the first view is that of a Tory Justice Secretary – Kenneth Clarke no less, making a much publicised speech to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in London. While it is Jack Straw who now reveals himself to be the fully paid-up member of the lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key brigade. It makes you wonder what's going on here. Has Clarke looked at the facts and had a truly Damascene conversion or is it the possible saving of a proposed £4bn prison building programme that's really at stake?

Comment: This is a sensible account of the problem. See below for the idiotic Simon Heffer's account...

No comments: