Friday, June 09, 2006

Tough on Crime, Tough on the Victims of Crime

Polly returns today, but only on Comment Is Free… which ironically has the tagline “… but facts are sacred” on its home page but not on Polly’s article. Probably because the facts are the first casualty of any article…

I digress… today she’s turned to crime. Personally I’d rather she took on a life of crime rather than a life of journalism but them’s the breaks.

The column title starts the roll of suspicion…

“Amid this panic over stabbings, we are ignoring what really cuts crime”

The death penalty? Torture? Longer prison senetences… you’d like to think wouldn’t you?

“The prison population rose sharply last week. The Home Office expects it to hit an all-time high next week, topping the 77,800 record. It predicts that prisons will burst their seams by autumn, overflowing into emergency police cells. There are some 500 spare places in open prisons, but risk-aversion in the face of a media storm leaves them empty.”

Expected to hit an all time high next week? How many people are the Home Office jailing next week? Is it Council Tax time again? There are probably more than 500 spare places, there are about 700 spare places in open prisons recently vacated by the murderers, rapist and paedophiles that were allowed to roam free.

“Why this relentless rise? Crime is in long-term decline, down 43% since 1995, according to the British Crime Survey (BCS) - falling all across Europe, though few believe it. (The BCS doesn't include under-16s, but the Youth Justice Board says there is no rise there either.) "

The reason few believe the BCS is twofold Polly. Firstly, it’s bollocks. Secondly it’s Blair’s chosen source of crime figures, therefore massaged to give the message that the government wants to get across, and therefore it’s bollocks.

I doesn’t include under 16s – under 16s commit crimes, these crimes are committed in numbers, many of the knife crimes we’re seeing. But because they are under 16 then it’s not a crime? BOLLOCKS. The Youth Justice Board would say there is no rise, there’s been no rise in justice they just get dumped with ASBOs which have less deterrant value than “please write 100 times I will not commit crime”.

Guttersnipe has seen kids collecting ASBOs like they’re Panini stickers.

“But the single overwhelming reason why jails are bursting is longer sentences given for more crimes. An unquenchable thirst for punishment has seen the numbers given prison sentences rise by 53% in the same decade that crime has fallen. “

Pardon? If you’re going by your own figures Polly this would suggest that longer prison sentences have had a marked effect in reducing the crime figures. Or to put it in the words of former Tory Leader Michael Howard, “prison works”.

Take note Gordon, Polly agrees with Michael Howard. I’ll bet her chances of getting your “grace and favours” have just been right shafted.

“Of all the obnoxious qualities of the British press - its cynicism, its relentless "nothing works" projection of a society in perpetual decline”

We’ve never said “nothing works”, we’ve said “prison works”… you’ve just agreed with it Polly. Maybe that’s one of your “obnoxious qualities” given that you are part of the press. Do you even read the last two sentences of what you write?

“Ever since "tough on crime", Labour has never dared to talk down punishment fever or tell voters that we already have the longest sentences in Europe. “

But isn’t the crime rate coming down because of this Polly? You’ve established that “prison works” now you want to reduce the sentences so that people can leave and molest children at will? Ah yes.. the leftie paradise.

Prison governors despair at the churn of inmates, forever moved on far from home, disrupting treatment, education and training. Most prisons now miss their targets for "purposeful activity".

"What's the use of sending us people for a few months, just long enough to lose their home, family and job?" said one governor of a crowded inner-city prison. "By the time they've waited to get on a course here, they are moved on or out."

No they don’t – they complain about incessant government targets designed to find failure as opposed to letting the prison officers get on with their job, a job which happens to be the punishment and rehabilitation of criminals. They despair at the liberal free everybody attitude of criminals’ rights being more important than victims.

“"What's the use of sending us people for a few months, just long enough to lose their home, family and job?" said one governor of a crowded inner-city prison.”

Keep them in longer then… apparently it reduces the crime figures.

She goes on about ‘knife crime panic’…..

“Reporters hung out on the streets with boys eager to brag about the "shanks" in their pockets. This 15-year-old claims he's called "Killer" and shows the Mirror his fancy-handled knife with pride. That one boasts of the people he's shanked to get respect. Indeed, police have seized 50% more knives:”

NO!!! The police haven’t seized 50% more knives. The police have had 50% knives handed into them by law-abiding perfectly legal knife owners. Much as I admire the police let’s have credit where it’s due Polly.

This is the same knee-jerk bollocks reaction that we had with the Handgun ban. Stabbing people is illegal, people who are going to stab someone really don’t give a flying feck whether carrying the means to stab someone is also illegal. Get this into your head.

“Over the decade the average weekly number of knife murders has been four and a half - and recently, during this panic, there have been no more than four knife murders a week. Anecdotes stick horribly in the memory, but the figures tell another story.”

The figures here also show that the average number of knife murders hasn’t really changed that much despite the “the police seizing 50% more knives”. She writes this like 4 murders a week is acceptable. Let me ask this Polly…

How many murders a week are committed when all the murderers are in jails? The left seem to think we have too many prisoners, Guttersnipe feels we have too few prisons.

“Short jail sentences are worse than useless, as the public accounts committee said this week, led by the rightwing Tory Edward Leigh; the committee has called for alternatives to jail”

Why not consider something like … hmmm let me think… LONGER SENTENCES!!! Honestly it’s staring them in the face.

“How tragically revealing that half of all prisoners are completely illiterate and another 20% have a reading age under eight. The Shannon Trust gets prisoners to teach each other to read; it costs just £70 per pupil over about six months, and gives the mentors a new sense of self-worth. But many prisons are too overcrowded to be able to do it.”

Ah…. It’s society’s fault is it? They’re illiterate, have no job prospects and have no sense of self-worth. If that is the case then most people who suffer from clinical depression and low self-esteem are going to go out and stab people. This isn’t the case.

Deter them effectively and they’ll not stab people, it IS that simple.

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