Tuesday, June 27, 2006

British Crime And Punishment

Blair's criminal justice system is tough on people who don't pay their taxes, but kind to rapists, murderers and thieves. That's because he's refused to build more prisons, a policy that his successor will have to reverse if he wants to survive.

The non-taxpayer (my emphasis):
A pensioner was jailed for three months yesterday for refusing to pay her council tax in protest against living conditions in her crime-plagued street, dubbed "Crack Alley" because of the drug users who congregate there.

She will have to serve the full three months because there is no remission on non-payment of fines.
Fair enough, she's adopting the ancient Anglo practice of breaking the law to draw attention to an injustice, and should be happy to serve her time. But the lack of remission is odd, given this:
...for all...prisoners sentenced to more than 12 months, release is now automatic at the halfway point (of their sentence).
It gets worse:
The combination of early release and home detention curfew under tagging means that a prisoner sentenced to three months will spend just one month in custody. A 12-month sentence lasts three months. Somebody sentenced to two years will spend just seven and a half months in jail. An offender sentenced to four years' imprisonment will spend just one year and eight months inside.
Blair won't build more prisons, so he's had to prioritize jail time for people who erode the state's finances - an arguably justifiable objective. But that's forced the criminal justice system prematurely to release murderers, rapists and thieves to prey on the community.

In consequence:
America's crime rate...has now fallen to the level it was at 50 years ago: (the British) crime rate is 10 times higher than it was in 1955.
Blair's successor will have to build a lot of prisons if he wants to survive the wrath of the victimized voters.

Don't worry about the old lady - she seems splendidly tough and will I'm sure make the best of her jail time and shame her useless council into cleaning up her street.