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I am indeed a political and economic revanchist

Labour is considering plans that would see “mini-prisons” built across the country to fix the “broken” justice system.

But taking us back to the 18th century with the local prison might be a step too far even for me.

Plus, obvioiusly, economies of scale etc etc. It most certainly won’t be cheaper…..

23 thoughts on “I am indeed a political and economic revanchist”

  1. Maybe they’re going to revive the 15 minute gulag idea from a couple of years ago. That will kill two birds with one stone.

  2. Here’s a question: do offenders just work well for Timpsons? Like, you are running Currys, you know the staff might be nicking the TVs from the backroom and flogging them on eBay. But who is going to be nicking plastic trophies and dry cleaning?

    “He said: “If I recruit someone from prison they are more honest, stay with me longer, are more loyal and more likely to get promoted.”

    But is this because they don’t have many other options, though? That prisoners tend not to be very bright, so there’s no future at CERN, and Cartier don’t want them in the shops.

  3. There’s a definite selection effect going on here. The career crim doesn’t turn up at Timpson job interviews. The one determined to go straight might well do.

    Decades back we hired someone straight out of prison. We knew he’d really, really, not liked the experience. Worked out very well for all concerned.

  4. For serious crimes like thought time and wrong think it is clearly important to have places where people can be placed quickly for retraining

    Anyone think that local prisons will inevitably be run by/for local gangs?

  5. Many decades ago I had a brief interaction with the Oliver Group who at the time owned Timpsons. Let’s just say they thought they knew everything about running (ruining) a newly acquired business and ignored the advice proffered leading to shit quickly hitting the fan taking some high-profile scalps with it.

    Several decades later I wonder if young master James has learned from his predecessors mistakes. Or does he also have all the answers?

  6. Sounds like good news to me that Labour wants to build prisons and not close them. Let’s just hope they use them to lock up violent criminals and not for unwanted speach

  7. Bloke In Scotland

    Obviously I have no details but I’m not immediately inclined to rule this out as a bad idea.

    Smaller prisons may actually be built within a reasonable timeframe whereas a mega-jail or two is more likely to get bogged down in a planning quagmire. Project management on small projects is also a lot easier. And in an ideal world, lessons from the first build could be applied to later builds. Yes, I’m a glass half full kinda guy 🙂

    As for being more expensive, yes probably but not necessarily by much. I should imagine that the current prison system has already centralised many ancillary functions.

  8. If you plan to build a lot of small prisons, each of them has to get planning permission and other bureaucracy. More jobs for the bureaucrats because more workload.

    Also probably more total staff, since supposedly the consolidation into larger remote prisons was supposed to reduce overall staff. I doubt it actually did; staff always goes up.

    Also, smaller local prisons are likely to be seen as “friendlier” because their mates currently outside wouldn’t have to travel as far. If any of them get built I see more smuggling etc. Smaller prison likely means less security.

  9. ‘But taking us back to the 18th century with the local prison might be a step too far even for me.’

    I like the idea of waylaying local ne’er-do-wells and sorting them out with cudgels. And charivari.

  10. Mr Timpson said his company doesn’t hire male ex-convicts under the age of 25 because they aren’t “mature enough”, but hires women from 19 years and up.

    Sounds like somebody’s going to be sued for breaching their human rights innit.

    “We need a government that is prepared to accept we can’t afford, as a country, to build £4-6 billion worth of prisons to house people. It just doesn’t make sense at all.”

    How much are we spending on Net Zero and retarded foreign migrants?

  11. @Western Bloke – “But who is going to be nicking plastic trophies and dry cleaning?”

    Note that one of the services Timpson sells is key cutting. It owuld be a highly desireable job for someone who is dishonest but not too clever, since they would see many keys and some that they could link to a specific property of vehicle. It’s not difficult to make an extra copy of a key. The weakness would be that the customer might remember that they had had a key copied which fit the lock that was mysteriously opened without violence.

  12. Bloke in Germany

    If you lock your house using a key that can be copied by a high-street key-cutter you are using the wrong locks.

    Maybe that’s a German thing.

    Having just watched Clarkson’s farm and the UK planning misery (here prisons rather than restaurants), another German thing occurs. If a building is legal then it has to get planning permission. If a use of a building is legal it has to get planning permission.

    It really is only very slightly more complicated than that here.

    You can sue for it, and planners that obstruct legal building lose in court.

    The UK’s planning problem is that local politicians and bureaucrats don’t have to obey the law. Because they are the law.

  13. Martin Near The M25

    Timpsons had three unsuccessful attempts at cutting a door key after one broke. In the end I changed the lock.

  14. Who needs keys? There’s a bloke on YouTube called “The Lock Picking Lawyer” who shows how to pick any lock you can throw at him, and sells lock picking kits.

  15. Prison works, insofar as it does, by keeping the bastards off the streets. So tents on North Rona would do. And St Kilda. Maybe Rockall, or would that be too extreme?

    We could start an experiment with the less important evil bastards who gave us HMG’s pandemic policies. (The more important would, of course, swing.)

    (I used to be agin capital punishment until the pandemic response.)

  16. dearieme, still technically on the books for treason, innit? Which is what the “pandemic” “response” was.

  17. @big

    No. But the history is quite interesting so I’ll quote wiki:

    In 1965 the Labour MP Sydney Silverman, who had committed himself to the cause of abolition for longer than 20 years, introduced a Private Member’s Bill to suspend the death penalty for murder. It was passed on a free vote in the House of Commons by 200 votes to 98. The bill was subsequently passed by the House of Lords by 204 votes to 104.[42][43] Silverman was opposed in the General Election 1966 in the Nelson and Colne constituency by Patrick Downey, the uncle of Lesley Anne Downey, a victim in the Moors murders case, who stood on an explicitly pro-hanging platform. Downey polled over 5,000 votes, 13.7%, then the largest vote for a genuinely independent candidate since 1945.[44]

    The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 suspended the death penalty in Great Britain (but not in Northern Ireland) for murder for a period of five years, and substituted a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment; it further provided that if, before the expiry of the five-year suspension, each House of Parliament passed a resolution to make the effect of the Act permanent, then it would become permanent. In 1969 the Home Secretary, James Callaghan, proposed a motion to make the Act permanent, which was carried in the Commons on 16 December 1969,[45] and a similar motion was carried in the Lords on 18 December.[46] The death penalty for murder was abolished in Northern Ireland on 25 July 1973 under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973.

    Following the abolition of the death penalty for murder, the House of Commons held a vote during each subsequent parliament until 1997 to restore the death penalty. This motion was always defeated, but the death penalty remained for other crimes until the dates mentioned below:

    – causing a fire or explosion in a naval dockyard, ship, magazine or warehouse (until the Criminal Damage Act 1971);
    – spying in ships of the Royal Navy, or its establishments abroad[36] (until the Armed Forces Act 1981);
    – piracy with violence (until the Crime and Disorder Act 1998);
    – treason (until the Crime and Disorder Act 1998);
    – certain purely military offences under the jurisdiction of the armed forces. The last applicable offences (until the Human Rights Act 1998) were: serious misconduct in action; assisting the enemy; obstructing operations; giving false air signals; mutiny or incitement to mutiny; and failure to suppress a mutiny with intent to assist the enemy.

    However, no executions were carried out in the United Kingdom for any of these offences after the abolition of the death penalty for murder.

    Nevertheless, there remained a working gallows at HMP Wandsworth, London, until 1994, which was tested every six months until 1992. This gallows is now housed in the National Justice Museum in Nottingham.[47]

    Beheading was abolished as a method of execution for treason in 1973.[54] Hanging, however, remained available until 30 September 1998[55] when, under a House of Lords amendment to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, proposed by Lord Archer of Sandwell, the death penalty was abolished for treason and piracy with violence, replacing it with a discretionary maximum sentence of life imprisonment. These were the last civilian offences punishable by death.

    On 20 May 1998 the House of Commons voted to ratify the 6th Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting capital punishment except “in time of war or imminent threat of war”. The last remaining provisions for the death penalty under military jurisdiction (including in wartime) were removed when section 21(5) of the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force on 9 November 1998. On 10 October 2003, effective from 1 February 2004,[56] the UK acceded to the 13th Protocol, which prohibits the death penalty in all circumstances.[57]… it prohibits the restoration of the death penalty as long as the UK is a party to the convention (regardless of the UK’s status in relation to the European Union).[1]

  18. Local prisons may be beneficial for reducing roeoffending which is one of the functions of the system – can’t keep everyone locked up forever, though there are a lot of people I would be happy to see locked up for much longer than presently. That may help their value for money case somewhat.

    Maintaining family and personal relationships is one of the things evidence suggests makes reoffending less likely. Makes sense since having something to live for (particularly inmates with kids or a partner) is an incentive not to get locked up again, and a support network can help prevent a released low-level offender’s life becoming so chaotic and disordered that they turn to crime again ‘to survive’.

    Sending people to a big prison miles and away is going to damage those kinds of ties. From a practical, rather than bleeding heart, point of view we probably don’t benefit from doing that.

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