Are we sure?

The plan to fix our prisons: Six-month minimum jail terms, refurbished cells and full-body scanners

The way sentencing goes these days 6 months is a pretty severe sentence. Meaning that an awful lot of people who get less today won’t get anything.

Hmm. Mr. Lud?

14 thoughts on “Are we sure?”

  1. “Six” months is a doddle, even if you’re not a lag. You’ll be out on a tag in about a month.

    And thinking about, actually six month sentences are quite rare (not sure about the mags courts, tho), because most sentencing judges consider that if that’s the right custodial sentence then it’s scarcely worth imposing and better ruin the miscreants Saturdays for the next 18 months by giving him unpaid work.

  2. A mate of mine is a detective superintendent in a big force. Worked some proper nasty bastards and obviously all points in beteeen on the way up the policing pole. His observation is that short sentences – anything up to a year inside, actually served, are welcomed by crims. You’re fed and housed, you’re away from the missus so no shit from her nagging you, you’re away from any little petty scores, you aren’t looking over your shoulder for the old bill, you’re in with mates and people who will become your mates, and you can get all the drugs, booze and porn you want. It’s a rest.
    A year to three years served they are philosophical. Much more than that and grown men weep and start to seriously think about going straight.
    My D Super chum would build more jails and lock the bastards up for ten stretches, obviously.

  3. Sounds a reasonable analysis, Interested. But my experience of being told by the miscreant exactly what he wants to happen, is mostly that he wants to stay out if at all possible. It might be truer to say that up to a point many don’t have strong feelings, don’t get too worked up about it.

  4. There was a 3-program docudrama on the box called ‘Manhunt’ starring Martin Clunes in the last week. Clunes played the detective Sutton chasing down murderer Levi Bellfield. Sutton’s account on which the program was based was released on Kindle last week. I was shocked by some elements of the docudrama, but even more so by the book.
    Why Bellfield (who has turned to a certain religion, and now calls himself something different) is still alive, I want to know. (No, don’t tell me. I already despair of the reasons). But my already low opinion of large sections of the Police farce has been reinforced by reading the book.

  5. Looks at the prisons thing the other week – been of the view that prison damages more than it cures. It’s true that there are a lot of short sentences (which serve no real purpose) but the majority of the prison population are in for considerably longer (2 years plus). This maybe reflects this churn but trying to work it out made my head hurt so I stopped.

    Thing is this is the right direction – there’s precious little evidence that prison works, at least insofar as it has any effect on long term rates of crime. For the UK (we’re not a screwed on this as the USA) there’s the added problem of a poor quality prison estate mostly in the wrong places.

    Any way here, for what it’s worth, is my blog post

  6. Prison works for at least one very important, and all too often forgotten, reason: it keeps the criminal scum away from the rest of us.

  7. Agreed, Mr in Wales.

    As for deterrence, as I understand the state of the research, punishment by itself does not deter, but allied to a heightened sense of the actual risk of being punished, it does. For the conjoined reasons that whilst no one except a masochist wants to be punished, most criminals rightly or wrongly have a low sense of the likelihood that they’ll be caught/punished.

  8. If it means fewer/no people go to prison for not paying the BBC tax that’s fine by me, I’ll happily live with a few more scrotes on the streets of our cities.

    (Yes, I know, technically they go to prison for not paying the fine for not paying the BBC tax.)

  9. Prison is an effective deterrent for the sort of people who are least likely to be in prison, ie the law-abiding middle class.

  10. @djc

    I think for many “respectable” people, the criminal record, possible loss of job (and indeed career, depending on what you’re convicted of and the rules of any professional organisation you have to work under) and having your mug all over the news and social media and the gossip in the pub and golf club and street etc is plentiful incentive to behave oneself.

    They’ve got far more to lose than someone skint with no assets and no regular lawful income and whose reputation, in so far as they want to construct one, is based on being a tough nut.

  11. A Home Secretary with balls (figuratively) would try and start prison sentencing on the military prison system. No automatic 50% off the sentence for good behaviour as soon as you are driven through the gates; the first part of the sentence is punishment for the crime, with no privileges regarding accommodation, wearing of own clothes, provision of radios, etc, in the cell. Privileges and a less harsh regime slowly being introduced depending on behaviour and adherence to the rules, followed by the beginning of preparing them for life at he end of their sentence, including reduction in prison time, again based on behaviour.
    I have met quite a few servicemen who spent time in military prisons. None I spoke to ever wanted to go back.

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