Skip to main content

Easy to sound tough on crime

When it comes to crime in politics, it is easy enough to sound tough.  The honest answers usually seem 'soft'.  So, come general elections we expect to hear a tough talk on crime.

Tony Blair found a beautiful message in 1997: "Tough on crime; touch on the causes of crime."  It encapsulated the need to tackle crime at its roots, rather than simply deliver tough sentences.

It is perhaps inevitable that crime, once again,  hits centre stage with London Bridge Terrorist attack.  Here was a man, a convicted terrorist,  who had been released early.   The Tories seized the moment to lay blame on Labour and the Criminal Justice Act, 2003.  This, they said, set in train the early release process that led to the release of .....

It is a diversionary tactic from the scrutiny of a justice system and policing struggling through underfunding for nearly a decade of Tory rule.

Boris Johnson bottled out of the proposed interview with Andrew Neil on BBC television. Still, when he finally appeared this Sunday on the Andrew Marr, he blamed everyone else for almost everything the Tory government did during their decade in office.   It was all the fault of the previous Labour government.  He also appeared to disown his own party by saying he hadn't supported austerity.

Boris Johnson now says we need harsher sentencing.  This is odd because the 2003 Act provided for just that: harsher sentences.

As for the early release scheme, the Tories had a decade of reviews to change it.  What they did do was speed the process up.   Furthermore, the programme remains a central feature of the Justice Department's planning.

The plan published by the  Justice Department on their Website makes this clear. 

"5.2 Reduce the use of prison and increase the use of community and alternative sentences
How we will achieve this
Develop options for restricting the use of short custodial sentences
Implement a new Release on Temporary Licence policy framework
Consider ways to increase the use of non-custodial sanctions"
So, there it is.  While the last Labour government played a significant part in setting up the early release process, the Tories extended its use.  Now, of course, no doubt it will be abolished.   


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

Work Capability Assessments cause suffering for the mentally ill

People suffering from mental health problems are often the most vulnerable when seeking help. Mental health can have a major impact on work, housing, relationships and finances. The Work Capability Assessments (WCA) thus present a particular challenge to those suffering mental illness.  The mentally ill also are often the least able to present their case. Staff involved in assessments lack sufficient expertise or training to understand mental health issues and how they affect capability. Because of  concerns that Work Capability Assessments will have a particularly detrimental effect on the mentally ill,  an  e-petition  on the government web site calls on the Department of Work and Pensions to exclude people with complex mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorders. Problems with the WCA  have been highlighted in general by the fact that up to 78% of 'fit to work' decisions are  being overturned on appeal. It is all to the good that they