Rightie ho

Sending women to prison, and removing them from their children and families, has long been seen as a contentious issue. Particularly given that women are predominately nonviolent offenders and tend to commit “victimless crimes” – such as theft – that are often survival based.

Eh?

Gillian McNaull
Lecturer in Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast

So I’ll send some bint around to steal your car and you won’t be a victim, right?

57 comments on “Rightie ho

  1. It is a scandal that, uniquely among commercial firms, the BBC has the right to send people to jail for non-compliance with their contract terms.

  2. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, no one has signed an agreement with the BBC.

  3. Marxist-feminist cockrot.

    Lets hope she meets some of the type of female scum who pretty much got away with murdering the Egyptian girl at a Londoom bus stop.

  4. Lecturer in Criminology = Lecturer in the Sociology of Crime = leftist dingbat.

    In the comments below her piece, she says she’s a “prison abolitionist”.

    I imagine she thinks theft is a victimless crime because property is theft…

  5. ‘recently peaked at 84 inmates. This is significantly over capacity.’

    You give evidence that it can hold 84.

    ‘These sentence lengths are an ineffectual use of justice and have a destructive impact on women and their children.’

    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    BWTM

    ‘The 2020 presidential campaign is expected to feature unprecedented amounts of disinformation. At The Conversation, we’ll be doing our best to produce journalism written by experts, based on their research.’

    Get all your FACTS from the Conversation.

    “Orange Man Bad.”

  6. Within the rising female prison population, theft accounted for almost 30% of women’s offences in Northern Ireland in 2018, an increase over the previous two years. This raises questions about the possible effect of austerity upon women and the looming potential impact of the “cliff edge” of universal credit.

    “Your Honour, I shoplifted that mascara and those knickers because the Tories made me do it.

    I’ve noticed women really hate the idea of being held accountable for the things they do, even if it’s completely trivial. Dunno why though.

  7. Are women still ‘predominantly non-violent offenders’? If so, it seems to me that that’s changing. And not for the better.

  8. The 2020 presidential campaign is expected to feature unprecedented amounts of disinformation. At The Conversation, we’ll be doing our best to produce journalism written by experts, based on their research.

    Lol.

  9. Women commit all sorts of crimes these days, not just theft. Just yesterday, a female* computer programmer was arrested for the Capital One hack.

    (*Formerly male. Not that you’d learn it from most of the media coverage.)

  10. AndrewM: I did think that it was a bit unusual for a woman to perpetrate that stuff. Also her landlord, a former felon, had a stash of weapons in the house. Your clarification elucidates!

  11. It’s well known that men commit crimes because they are evil whereas women commit crimes because evil men make them do it.

    It’s the same as BBC output

    man hits women = drama
    woman hits man = comedy

  12. Andrew M said:
    “Just yesterday, a female* computer programmer was arrested for the Capital One hack. (*Formerly male. Not that you’d learn it from most of the media coverage.)

    Looks like he had a long-term plan. How to get lots of girls? Reassign as female and get sent to prison!

  13. Re Mariam Moustafa attack – was in Nottingham.

    Re “shoplifting as a victimless crime” – because it affects a large faceless corporation, not a flesh and blood human, so there’s no “victim”. I think that’s baloney and Timmy right to have a double-take but this is what she means.

    Re prison abolitionists – this is actually an entirely mainstream view in university criminology departments. And they mean what they say on the tin. But they generally couple this view with the requirement for some radical restructuring of society, something from the gospel of Marx usually. I can see the logic in how a lot of shoplifting is tied to drug and alcohol abuse and that some mix of rehab, drug legalisation, state-provided drug substitutes, counselling or whatever might represent a meaningful alternative to locking tens of thousands of people up (largely on sentences long enough to cause family disruption but far too short for rehabilitation or treatment). I can see why they believe their argument that many offences would dramatically reduce in a more egalitarian society, though I think there’s an element of wishful thinking going on there too. But I can’t get my head around how they can think socialist utopia would solve the problem of serial sex offenders, paedophiles, domestic abusers, terrorists or serial killers – they would all clearly happen, have done so under every politico-economic regime in modern history, so where do you put them if you’ve abolished capital punishment and imprisonment? Home curfew tags aren’t going to cut it. Indefinite detention in a “psychiatric facility” on the grounds nobody could commit those acts while mentally healthy is essentially prison under a different name, but more illiberal since there’s no attempt to fit the punishment proportionately to the crime.

  14. So blindly stupid that you just knew it had to come from an academic.

    And another thing: There is no such thing as a victimless crime… Which is obvious to anyone without an Ph.D. in Criminology.

  15. Actually there are victimless crimes. Possession of light drugs is one. Smuggling tobacco or spirits would be another one. Breaking some silly bureaucratic regulations would be yet another one. Theft is however most certainly not victimless.

    My take on this would be more or less:
    1) Yes, being jailed is not comfortable and it’s not intended to be (the word “punishment” sort of gives that away)
    2) Yes, we need to worry about proportionality – I expect the courts throughout all of Western Europe already do this too much for many crimes with victims
    3) Rehabilitation is only one purpose of the punishment. A more important purpose is to keep criminals away from their potential victims. This is especially important when a) they commit crimes that have victims and b) they are repeat offenders. I therefore fully support three-strikes and you are out, potentially with some modifications (e.g. make it 5 strikes and only count violent crimes). The newspapers are full of too many stories about violent repeat offenders being let out over and over again and hurting people every time.
    5) Rights come with responsibilities. If women want the same rights as men they need to take the same responsibilities.

    All of this sounds pretty common-sense and obvious. Sadly in this day and age it is not.

  16. There are loads of victimless ‘crimes’. Loads. As aforesaid, drugs possessh is one. Affray can be another. Possessh of various weapons.

    Then there are all the technical crimes, thousands and thousands of them. Everything from running a red light at a deserted junction at 3am up to obscure stuff about pollarding trees or failing to reply to a notice requiring you to inform the police who was driving a car, and then others concerning regulation of areas of work.

  17. Theft is however most certainly not victimless.

    As indeed you discovered for yourself, Emil, with that bastard Max Grundeis. Thankfully you had the detectives to help bring him to justice.

  18. “UNLESS YOU WERE BORN TO GREAT WEALTH, THE MAIN REASONS YOU’RE NOT RIDDLED WITH DISEASE OR TOOTHLESSLY SLURPING GRUEL IN A WORKHOUSE ARE TO DO WITH TRADES UNIONS AND LABOUR GOVERNMENTS.”

    This statement was circulated on Facebook by someone that I know who is a lecturer in criminology. How completely unworldly do you need to be to believe something as absurd as that?

  19. Stoney – it seems that the more totally preposterous the idea, the more highly educated you have to be to believe it.

    Other epople have expressed the same idea more elegantly.

    Only thickos like me have common sense any more and even I have my moments, having made it somehow to st Andrews back in the day.

  20. I can’t get my head around how they can think socialist utopia would solve the problem of serial sex offenders, paedophiles, domestic abusers, terrorists or serial killers – they would all clearly happen, have done so under every politico-economic regime in modern history

    In that scenario you solve it by having the terrorists and serial killers in charge.

  21. Yep, Criminology is about as diverse in opinion as Sociology, i.e. you have Marxists, very Marxist and loony Marxist. The difference is whereas even the BBC blush at introducing a Sociologist as an unbiased expert, they are very happy to present Criminologists as one, even though nearly every one of them is a barking loony.

  22. Maybe she had in mind an occasional 36p loaf of white bread from the Lidl Simply range.

  23. I agree that sending women (or men) to prison isn’t a good idea if it can be avoided and these days, with the help of technology, it often could. GPS trackers can locate people to within a few metres. Sentences could incude bans on entering all but a small number of retail premises.

  24. What’s worse is that this was actually tried. Stalin etc were convinced that a truly socialist economy would kill off crime. No peeps alienated from their surrounding culture, see?

    Didn’t work out that way of course.

  25. Jonathan Bagley,

    Surely we’ve moved on from the notion that them Germans can’t be victims.

    I assume that the just penalty for stealing a loaf of bread is still transportation to the colonies, as long as the thieving scum aren’t sent to Queensland.

  26. Wasn’t there a recent case of a Grandmother allegedly sinking 10 pints and then beating a man to within an inch of his life? Not exactly a non_- violent victimless crime.
    I read somewhere that, Stalin proclaimed that as there was no need to commit crime in a Socialist utopia, anyone who did, was obviously insane and should be incarcerated in Soviet mental asylums until they were fit to return to society – presumably a period equivalent to the prison sentence they would have received in a less enlightened society.

  27. Regarding victimless crimes. The government declaring something to be a crime doesn’t make it one. Most of what could be described as victimless crimes are not in fact crimes. Theft on the other hand is a crime and has victims and this is obvious.

  28. I’ve mused, as many have, on what constitutes a crime and would welcome input from this here learned commentariat.

    I’ve kinda reached the conclusion that there’s no point in criminal law, for reasons I might develop one of these days, if you’re all really, really lucky.

  29. @Edward Lud July 31, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Everything from running a red light at a deserted junction at 3am up to obscure stuff about pollarding trees

    I often have to run red lights late at night, the sensors frequently don’t detect bicycles & motorbikes.

    I’d say all road traffic offences, other than hitting something, are victimless. I’ve ridden/driven at >180mph – no victims.

  30. @Stonyground

    I have the suspicion Mr Lud’s retort to that is going to be “we can cover all that with the law of tort”.

    Not sure I agree with the necessity for a human victim – or at least one capable of consent, perhaps this would apply to corporations in the case of shoplifting or animals in the case of torturing your own pet dog – because of edge cases like someone dumping toxic waste on public land, which still feels “criminal” to me. But I like the general thrust of it.

  31. Some of us take the view that prison is not the ideal solution all the time.
    Will a flogging work instead? How about branding?
    Plus of course drug & alcohol help etc too.

    Taking away someone’s life, for months or years, does not strike me as very humane. A flogging? Over with in minutes and painful for some weeks – and very minimal costs.
    Does not take someone’s life away from them, does not remove them from their family, does not require transporting them a distance and sticking them in jail.

    Some people do go to jail and don’t learn.
    I think my sister’s stalker is on his 11th jail term – the previous 10 didn’t work to stop him except while he is inside, no reason to think the 11th time will do the trick.
    He’s also attempted murder but no one saw him do it – watch TV in your lounge and a big concrete block comes flying through the window inches from you….

  32. I’d say all road traffic offences, other than hitting something, are victimless. I’ve ridden/driven at >180mph – no victims.

    You are assaulting mother Gaia. Murderer!

  33. Gillian MacNaul puts inverted commas around “victimless crimes” so that she can invent her own definition – and everyone seems to fall for it.
    Theft is not a victimless crime but it is, for her, a “victimless crime”
    Typical Grauniad!

  34. “MyBurningEars
    July 31, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Re “shoplifting as a victimless crime” – because it affects a large faceless corporation, not a flesh and blood human, so there’s no “victim”. I think that’s baloney and Timmy right to have a double-take but this is what she means.”

    Still, that’s not what was written. Didn’t write ‘shoplifting’, wrote ‘theft’. And the author claims to be an academic – a ‘Top Man’ – who considers themselves to be an ‘expert’ and who ‘should be listened to’.

    So you’d expect a bit more precise use of language. A bunch of handwaving and ‘well, you know what I *meant’s*’ are not the sort of thing that inspires confidence in ‘Top Men’.

  35. “Bloke In Westerville
    July 31, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    And another thing: There is no such thing as a victimless crime… Which is obvious to anyone without an Ph.D. in Criminology.”

    Prostitution? Drug use? Painting your house the wrong color? Grass too high? Blasphemy? Obscenity? Selling food made in your kitchen? Selling raw milk? Driving while female? Being half Black and half White?

    All these things are or have been crimes somewhere and none of them have a victim.

  36. “MyBurningEars
    July 31, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Not sure I agree with the necessity for a human victim – or at least one capable of consent, perhaps this would apply to corporations in the case of shoplifting ”

    Corporations are owned by people. When you shoplift you’re not stealing from a corporation – you’re stealing from the owners, the employees, and/or the other customers.

  37. Incarceration is to keep the perp away from the people for the people’s protection, and to be a big FVCKIN negative consequence for doing the crime. A deterrent for others who might think of doing the crime.

    ‘more harm than good’

    To whom? Fvck the perp. It’s not about them; it’s about protecting the people. Governments are formed amongst Men for mutual protection, not to make sure criminals have a pleasant experience.

    Consequences for crime MUST BE NEGATIVE. Any criminologist suggestion to the contrary is junk science.

    ‘are often survival based’

    A stupid Lefty lie. Gillian is retarded. From my experience on a jury, there are people who actually believe that crime is caused by poverty. An insult to poor people world wide.

  38. @Agammamon

    Mr Lud may have the advantage of courtroom experience, but I’d wager the vast majority of thefts are shoplifting. (Haven’t been able to trawl up the figures, but I think this a relatively safe bet.) Hence my initial reading that “theft” and “shoplifting” are being used as rough synonyms here – sloppy, though the writer seems to be coming from a sociological rather than legal perspective. I’m attempting to grant them the maximal credit, no point demolishing a weak form of your opponent’s argument they never intended and all that blah, but it’s a losing game isn’t it?

    I mean if you nick from your neighbour, that’s clearly got a victim, and I don’t think it matters much if your neighbour happens to be one of those man-wife-and-son Asian corner shops. But if they happen to own two stores, or five, or a chain of a dozen, or a hundred, is there some kind of sorites paradox where suddenly they become “just a faceless business” and the crime reverts to being “victimless”? Or is the crux supposed to be in the number of shareholders? If one woman owned every Tesco, then stealing £10 of meat off Tesco is basically stealing £10 off of her, surely? But if millions of us own Tesco via our pension funds, doesn’t that mean millions of us are victims of shoplifting every day? Even people who don’t own shares in a firm might suffer economic harm if shoplifting forces business to raise prices.

    Here’s another little paradox if you’ve come into contact with academic criminologists, incidentally. Notwithstanding my protestations above, the attitude that crimes against Big Business “don’t really count” is frequently encountered. However, another pet argument of criminologists is that our legal system is very much about pursuing and punishing those who have been let down most by society, the impoverished and downtrodden, whose crimes are – in the grand scheme of things – triflingly minor. On the other hand, the Real Villains Who Keep Getting Away With It, due to the deep structural inequalities in their favour, are – as you may have guessed – Big Business. The harms their crimes cause are an order of magnitude more severe than the little guy could ever dream of. After all, they’re destroying the very planet, driving poverty and inequality, manipulating our political system…

    I must confess this is a view I’m not entirely unsympathetic to. Strip off the crap economics and the air of conspiracy theories about The Man, and there’s a kernel of truth there – one which resonates with the anti-corporatist strand of classical liberal/libertarian thought, wherein MegaCorp can be a threat to liberty, wellbeing and democracy in much the same way as The Big State. But this view also reveals an inconsistency that can only be born of prejudice: the insistence that businesses must in one context be treated as actors in their own right, with goals and intentions and a legal personality, thereby rendering them suitable objects for prosecution. But in another context they must be considered to have no interests at all, nor even should we “see through” their structure to consider the human beings with stakes in the company and who suffer from harms done to it, lest we mistakenly render their faceless form a suitable object of sympathy when they become the Unvictim of a crime.

  39. Bit sexist claiming this impacts women more, I thought it was equal maternity/paternity rights we were supposed to be going for and men doing childcare as much as women etc.

  40. @Gamecock

    While I’m broadly sympathetic to your view that punishment should deliver “just deserts”, there is such a thing as counterproductive punishment. Young offender institutions that serve as academies of criminality, prisons where criminals are exposed to radical Islamism or a new set of drugs, sentences that lead to family breakdown and a higher likelihood of both the parent reoffending and the children growing into criminals themselves.

    Like @JonathanBagley, I think if there are punishments available which are more effective – or at least, less shooting-your-own-foot – then society might be better advised to select those punishments which have fewer negative consequences for society. Imprisonment’s punitive element is in large part about restriction of liberty, and though a home curfew tag differs in degree of restriction, it shares that fundamental purpose. If there’s evidence that for a certain class of offences/offenders, home curfew results in lower reoffending (and whatever other outcomes are desirable: more likely to be in a stable domestic unit, more likely to be in a legitimate job, higher engagement with alcohol/drug support services…) then it’s not necessarily irrational or “soft” for society to shift towards such sentences. In practice, I suspect cost and capacity are also key drivers – but then again, rationally, the cost of inflicting the punishment seems a perfectly sensible thing for society to consider, when pondering which punishment to inflict.

    The thorny issue remains where different classes of offender, who have committed the same offence, seem to respond better to different punishments. On a “just deserts” basis, I really don’t like the idea that a woman should get a recognisably “lighter” punishment than a man for committing the same offence, purely by dint of sex (or gender identity or whatever…). The counter-argument, often put forward by feminists, is that imprisonment has crappier outcomes – including for society as a whole – when applied to women.

  41. “MyBurningEars
    July 31, 2019 at 11:13 pm”

    Oh, I got where you were coming from regarding what that author meant by ‘victimless’. No problems there. Its just that in my opinion, sociological or otherwise, precision and clarity of writing – this isn’t an off-the-cuff remark – should be the baseline of anyone who considers themselves an academic.

    As for the ‘paradox’ – there is no paradox. There is no point where it stops being stealing from ‘someone’ and becomes stealing from ‘a faceless corporation’. Corporations all have faces – just because someone can’t see them all doesn’t mean they’re not there.

    You simply don’t steal from corporations anymore than you tax them. You steal from the owners in the form of reduced income. You steal from the employees in the form of reduced pay. You steal from the customers in the form of increased prices. Sure, if there are 10 million owners, the damage the theft done to any individual is infinitesimally small – its still stealing from someone. And I don’t believe you lose individual rights – to life, liberty, happiness, and all that jazz – just because you’ve become part of a collective.

  42. @Aggers

    Certainly the approach that sees through the legalities and recognises a corporation’s ultimately human ownership benefits both from moral clarity and self-consistency. The point of the paradox is that, even when examined on its own terms and in good faith, the “faceless corporation” argument crumbles under its own contradictions. There are many occasions where two internally self-consistent views conflict with each other, and which you prefer is a matter of personal taste and perspective, but this really doesn’t smell like one of them. Anyone repeating the “faceless corporation” mantra really needs to subject their viewpoint to critical examination.

  43. Actually there are victimless crimes. Possession of light drugs is one.

    Bullshit. Just because possession seems to be victimless doesn’t mean it is. It is a certainty that people died somewhere in the manufacturing and/or distribution of said drugs. There are cartels and drug networks all over the world battling each other for market share and profits. Do a little research on drug distribution hubs like Juarez and then make that argument with a straight face.

  44. But that is true only because they’re illegal. It’s a circular argument.

    Anyway, Doubtless people have died in the manufacture of entirely legal tractors. Should it be illegal to buy or possess a tractor?

  45. But that is true only because they’re illegal. It’s a circular argument.

    Bullshit, but it doesn’t really matter. The statement was that the possession of light drugs was a victimless crime. It isn’t.

    Anyway, Doubtless people have died in the manufacture of entirely legal tractors. Should it be illegal to buy or possess a tractor?

    Now you’re just being stupid. If you don’t really give a fuck that your light drugs are drenched in blood, be a man about it and say so.

  46. @Gamecock

    Prohibition doesn’t work

    Nor does legalisation if sin tax too high – see California

    However, punishing sellers while ignoring consumers breaking law is worst option. Punish buyers/consumers – stifle demand and supply will reduce.

    @Edward Lud August 1, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    -1

    @Bloke In Westerville August 1, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Drugs not victimless

    +1

    See London: Groan/PC/Pols coke users vs Black/RoP stabbings & gang wars

    Tarquin: “Polly, got this great stuff from new dealer, want to try?”

    Polly: “Yes please. What happened to Leroy?”

    Tarquin: “Abdul killed him and took over, Abdul is also not white”

    Polly: “Sniff, snort. Ah, that’s good. Supporting minorities is SO important”

    iirc a MET senior officer went public recently attacking the rich middle class coke users – he’s probably been sacked.

    Meanwhile in real world UK Police run away from…… guess who?

    Google have Deleted “Culture War” channel – too truthful? Channel was mostly publishing historic vids with full attribution

    Vid:
    Live Leak Islamophobic UK cops running away from hordes of peaceful, tolerant multicultural muslims.mp4

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