Crime & Punishment
Crime & Punishment
We need to rethink our sentencing procedures.
Prison doesn’t work for shorter sentences. They become training grounds for minor criminals to learn the rudiments of becoming more serious major criminals. Or browbeaten to join a cult sect!
But any alternative sentences must either hurt or rehabilitate the minor criminal.
First of all, there should be a greater use of confiscation. A law officer should assess the total value of a criminal after he has been sentenced to forfeit a percentage of his total wealth. Any property should be taken into consideration and if jointly held with his spouse, a lien should be put on the property so that, when eventually sold, half goes to the wife and half to the courts. I should explain that a lien means you continue to live in your house but any debts you accrued to force a lien has to be paid off, with interest, when you eventually sell your house. This means the family still lives there until then.
All mobile phones and other luxury gadgets to be confiscated and most of other belongings.
If the court ssuspect the prisoner has salted away wealth, then the sentence may be carried out in full for as long as the prisoner lives--if proved to be earned previous to the conviction.
If the prisoner has no wealth, they should be put to work washing buildings, cleaning roads and other duties aimed at helping the local community.
All prisoners should be assessed using the British Army criteria for finding out what the person can do best. I saw a dustman take the test in 1959, and the officer told him he would train as an electronics technician. I kept in touch with him and he passed with flying colours and spent his time repairing cipher machines at embassies all over the world! If the prisoner is found to have useful talents, he should be encourage to attend school and learn a trade. His reward would be to escape the dirty work.
Hostels to house prisoners nearing the end of their term, with a 7pm curfew, with a month added onto the sentence for each time they break curfew.
Prisons should not have TV, computer games, other than in tv rooms or games rooms - and entry to those to be based on the last weeks behaviour.
No cell phones for prisoners. Calls from a public phone box providing the convict has behaved themselves over the last week.
Separate prisons for political crimes by people who want to destroy the British way of life.
OK, maybe a little over the top but my objective here is to get us all thinking there must be a better way than just locking more and more people up where they learn to be more successful at crime.