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Rehabilitation of criminals

The News of the World is working itself into a frenzy over convicts working on day release as bin men. Read up on the outrage here.

My stance on the criminal justice system is that too little emphasis is placed on rehabilitation, and still less on restitution. Unless prisoners are going to be incarcerated forever, or have their crimes branded on their foreheads, at some point they will be back as part of the prospective workforce, and acclimatising prisoners to the conventional economy strikes me as eminently sensible.

Over to you.
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Anonymous newmania said... 12:04 pm

News of the Screws you might say . Didn`t do that for Oxbridge did you C.( Still smarting with shame over the Jew of Malta by Marlowe)

My theory is that it is wrong to regard the choice to steal ,say , as different essentially from other economic choices( There are important qualifications to this I am leaving). The typical pattern of behaviour in some categories of crime is not perpetually re-incarceration , it is retirement at some point in the mid 30s.

This view would imply a two pronged attack. Firstly the commitment of resources to training so as to provide alternative means of earning but secondly the effort to increase the cost to the chooser . As we have not allow ourselves various sorts of social "shaming" , the short answer is that prisons should be nastier places to be . I think supervised sense deprivation to the a point of tolerance over shorter sentences would be ideal . There are some prisons on this model in America but I was not able to find examples this morning.

Questions of this sort have to be answered. Why should people who do not commit crimes , who come from exactly the same backgrounds as those who do , finance their greater opportunities ? This is a very real problem unnoticed by the middleclass who assume that to be born on an estate of a single parent is to land on the go to jail square . Very far from it as my wife like to remind me .
There are obvious dangers to creating a safety net . Its such fun to bounce up and down on it .
This problems would be ameliorated by a prison system to which noone would ever wish to return. It would also be safer. Again we have to ask why we should spend taxes on such a capital investment when I would rather keep the money .

So there are answers , the rea; problem is that the resources required have many calls onthem before they reach the criminal and his self abuse.  

Anonymous newmania said... 12:23 pm

Sorry really must read through. Coupls of ughs in there.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 12:28 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 12:30 pm

far better that they pick up shit than sit around in their cells all day watching tv.
I have friend currently in prison, he is in his last year of "a ten stretch" almost from day one he has had gym and tv , now he gets to play at education and two home visits a month.
. As much as I like him i don't think that is the way to treat them  

Anonymous David W said... 12:50 pm

David Smith had an interesting take on crime and prison in today's Times.

"Suppose you wanted to reduce property crime by 1% and had three options — increasing police numbers, sending more offenders to prison, or increasing the length of sentences. A politician would probably choose the extra police, as would most voters. But a classic piece of research, quoted by Veljanovski, shows that it would cost 10 times as much to do this as imprisoning more criminals, and 14 times as much as lengthening sentences. Food for thought at a time when the debate is about sending fewer people to prison and shorter sentences."  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:25 pm

Some interesting thoughts folks. Cento Veljanovski was one of my lecturers at university, although at the time he was more focused on the economics of tort. He has written a lot of highly thought provoking material.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 1:36 pm

I speak with some authority having been in prison
shorter harsher sentences rather than long cushy ones that case inmates with any chance of rehabilitation to become disassociated from their families and the real world.
Furthermore many cannot be rehabilitated so three strikes and you're out.  

Blogger Praguetory said... 5:19 pm

Helping convicts go straight is tricky, but key. This seems to be a good idea. Very little calm analysis behind these headlines, I agree.  

Anonymous Horrible monster (Sutn) said... 5:31 pm

As a Guardian reader, I keep reading references to these wonderful ways of helping the dear criminals to go straight. Sadly no-one ever gives any examples of working treatments. Nor do the NACRO (Nat Assoc for the Care and Resettlement of Little Fluffies) ever tell us of any (brief) successes they have had.
Prison works. It works in the USA and it can work here. Sad but true.

30.10.6 17:20  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:39 pm

There needs to be a better matching of the prison to the criminal, if you ask me (and even if you don't I'm going to write it anyway). Crimes of violence should attract rather harsher prisons than those for other crimes, and the borstal system seems to have failed totally. Where there is hope of rehabilitation, that and restitution should be the primary aims, where there isn't - well, let 'em rot. I can think of a few people (not all of whom have yet been convicted...) where we would benefit from their being incarcerated somewhere like the Florence supermax in Colorado.  

Anonymous Verity said... 8:20 pm

Or just kill them. Crimes of violence, like rape, and burglary accompanied by beating up a tiny old lady, should attract the death penalty. That immediately frees up cell space for another loser.  

Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 8:32 pm

having been a bin man i can tell you it's bloody hard work.we used to walk /jog around 23 miles a day

i personally don't believe in the death penalty particularly not for rape where there seems a monthly newsflow of women caught lying about it.

they need more of a boot camp treatment.before you can can remould a man you havve to break his spirit and having seen what some corporals can/will do at close quarters i'd rather some of the toerags went to them than prisons which just serve as universities of crime  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:58 pm

I'm not a fan of the death penalty - and not for the usual reasons, more that I'm not at all comfortable with the state having the power of life and death over citizens / subjects. I am entirely in favour of the use of necessary force by citizens in defence of life and limb, and, come to that, property.

Vis a vis penalties for any crime, there has to be an escalator, as otherwise if someone will get life / 'the chair' for a crime of violence, he / she has a huge incentive to kill the victim so that there will be one less person to testify against them.  

Anonymous verity said... 9:04 pm

Rigger - I take your point about rape. There has been an appalling change in the climate of this crime, with the government now saying that even if a woman consents to sex, if she was drunk at the time, she can claim rape the next day. This beggars common sense and is bad news for everyone.

You say prisons are just universities of crime and I would respond that the people inside are already criminals. No one needs to teach or encourage this dross to commit crimes. That's why they're banged up.

I favour the death penalty for murder because we do not need these people polluting the earth with their expelled oxygen. I want them to leave. Now. I favour lethal injection as opposed to the more cruel electric chair or gallows. We're already going to kill them. No need to rub it in. I also favour the Utah method: the firing squad.

I also favour the right of citizens to bear arms.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 9:07 pm

take your point about the state not having the power to kill, as we all know that is a step towards genocide.
i also whole heatedly agree that individuals should be able to use deadly force and given the benefit of the doubt in their own homes.
The Americans have a term for it "castle doctrine" you do not have to back away from an attacker before killing him, socialists hate it and say it will lead to blood baths just as they said the same would happen if people had the right to carry.
suprise suprise they were wrong on both occasions (aren't they always)  

Anonymous verity said... 9:26 pm

In Texas, the minute they are across your threshhold, you have a right to blow their brains out.

You don't have to ask them what they want; you don't have to demand that they leave; you don't have to give them warning. They knew all that when they broke into your house. And the police always warn people: "Shoot to kill." You do not want them surviving and saying in court that you asked them in.

You will have to sign a police report, but you absolutely will not be arrested in Texas for shooting someone on your premises.

I would add that breaking and entering in Texas is not common - for obvious reasons. The criminal knows there is a good chance that the person on the other side of the door is standing there pointing a gun at it.

Finally, may I remind the boys and girls that an armed society is a polite society.  

Anonymous newmania said... 9:45 pm

PH - Yes I noticed that you were edited and just under a post from me . Given “the rule” I dearly hope I have not offended you .As I am now convinced you have at least one gun can I explain something of myself . I am a female albino dwarf and I live in Prague.
C- Why should the state not have the power of life and death ? You would not object to someone being put in a metal cube to wait for death ,which is the same thing .Are you not confusing squeamishness for morality? Do you , or indeed does anyone , have the right to forgive the perpetrator of the sort of crimes we are discussing on the victims behalf?
I am not actually in favour of the death penalty but I am confused as to my own reasons if I `m honest . One thing is certain it was the clear wish of the people of this country that the death penalty was retained and ,knowing this ,politicians of both sides ignored it . There are other examples of the political class being out of step with the voter and I `m sure we all agree that this is a dangerous thing to let slip by, whatever your view of the particular issue. The whole business would be greatly simpler in my book if the police and the judiciary could be to sit the right way round on a lavatory seat just once , ever.

Incidentally my father has just escaped penal servitude. He received nine points on one day from a new well hidden speed camera in Hertfordshire. Having already got three points he was out . The next week on a very rainy night , allegedly, he drove to a council meting some 400 yards away . A Lib Dum ran from the meeting to call the police and , in effect , made a citizens arrest. My father added to his problems by speaking to the person who “lost “ the CCTV footage in such a way as to earn the additional charge of racial threats including death threats. The Liberal Councillor in question has been made to look the one eyed snake he is for the last two years which was the causus bellum really. Eventually Newmania senior was obliged to plead guilty and earned “community service” which was less than the community service he already does . The Local rag ran it under the Headline “Is this Justice?” which I thought was a pretty balanced stance. The Conservative party of which he was the leader on the Coucil deserted him .He has , at 74, retired to Dorset. Quite a character, who may crop up again.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 10:12 pm

Let me assure you all,
I was a prisoner of conscience ,
I dont/didnt , steal ,deal drugs , mugg people or download sick porn.
my crime was a victimeless "crime"  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 10:17 pm

Incidentally my father has just escaped penal servitude. He received nine points on one day from a new well hidden speed camera in Hertfordshire. Having already got three points he was out . The next week on a very rainy night , allegedly, he drove to a council meting some 400
Tell me this isnt true??

sadly I can believe it.
why do we put up with this?
Probably the same reasons jews allowed themselves to be stripped and marched naked to pits in Baltic states and shot.It is the same mentality.

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 10:26 pm

The Local rag ran it under the Headline “Is this Justice?”
On a less serious note my own father appeared in the newspapers.
Having being "caught short" (chronic food poisoning) he had to rush into the lavatories at Piccadilly station Manchester, there being not of a trace of a hanger he threw his coat over the top of the door, it being a long job, he opened his newspaper, when he finished he found his coat gone along with his wallet so reported it to the police, who being the professionals that they were took his full details. A week later, no sign of anything but the local paper and the headline .....
"Disley man caught with his pants down"
One of his few claims to fame.  

Anonymous newmania said... 11:15 pm

PH -Brilliant. Just brilliant.

This is heading into space, thread -wise but still . While the gay debate went on I remembered Newmania senior telling me how this was handled in the army.( National Service, glorious career as bus driver)

This is the way a bureaucracy works .- The army were very tough on the buggerer and quite lenient with the buggeree. The assumption was that noone would submit to such a thing voluntarily so it was treated with great seriousness. Deciding who did what to whom was made easier by the assumption that the one in the catering corps was a poof who liked it up the arse. The contradiction concerned no one.  

Anonymous verity said... 11:16 pm

Peter Hitchens asks the Q: "why do we put up with this?"

A: Because you're lazy. You're not vigilant. You don't organise. You don't fight. You refer to elected politicians, who are your servants, for God's sake, as "our political lords and masters", and although it is always said with an ironic grimace, it is not ironic. You really mean it. You think politicians are your boss.

I am so, so glad I got out. Me and three million other people since the dealer in snake oil slithered in. What you have allowed Tony Blair to do to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the H of L as they dismantled civil society, dismantled education and allowed crime and mayhem on the streets - shortly to be made much, much worse by giant gambling complexes - beggars belief.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 11:59 pm

I am planning my escape and oddly enough its the IOM.
I know you are a Bush fan, please allow me to destroy that faith for you tomorrow.
Tonight I dance naked under the cloudy skies of London to the throbbing beat of a Brazillian Sambo band.  

Anonymous Verity said... 1:08 am

phitchens - I lived in Texas long enough to know all about the Bush family. There is nothing you can tell me I don't already know.

I still think George is fine. The human instinct is to better oneself.

You don't think Tony Blair would take over the IOM if it suited his panicky purpose? The way he has taken an ax to everything else?  

Anonymous Suttonian poll-nerd said... 9:42 am

By the way, Croy - your predictions for next week's congressionals? I don't think it'll be a bloodbath - the economy is OK and dat's what people care about most. I say - lose House but keep Senate (just).

30.10 09:35 Central Eastern Mtn Pacific Time  

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