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CRIMES and their PUNISHMENTS.
Consistent Action but Never Achieving
In the UK over recent times, a general focus has been on the sordid activities of so called "Celebtities" Often, this word describes those regarded as being famous for,------- being famous! The trials of ageing males in this area, in particular has brought outcries of indignation and howls of anger at the sentences imposed upon them when pronounced GUILTY".
My purpose here is not to argue the rights and wrongs of these cases and the sentences imposed, but to seek to provoke others into considering whether our whole crime and punishment structures are wrongly based and if so, what may be a better alternative.
Right at the outset let me state I have no professional knowledge or qualifications in these fields but as it is often said that the "observer sees most of the game" then maybe, that is no bad thing either.
Centuries have come and gone, different countries have adopted various methods of dealing with their miscreants but wherever and whatever different regimes put in place one common, constant solution is always there!
PRISON, or by whatever name is chosen for it has, and remains, the cornerstone of what societies do with those who determine to do what they wish, when they wish, how they wish, where they wish to who they wish. From the simple concept of denying liberty to the higher levels of seeking to reform, one can wrap it up how one likes but the facts still keep coming back to be ignored. IT DOES NOT WORK !
Facing the Unpaletable Facts.
The idea is one which sounds good. Take the wrongdoers and keep them in a place where they cannot affect the law abiding who can thus get on with their lives in a civilised manner in a civilised society. What could be simpler than that? Answer is nothing at all . However, like all simple answers to deeper questions, the simple answer is never, ever correct. Surely by now we should understand this as the measures adopted by societies of differing standards and ethics, continue to fail those intended to be benefited by them.
To develop my thesis, and put simply, putting people into jails of whatever type is proven to be an increasingly expensive way of failing to deal with those who disregard any sort of rules and order, the two foundations for any sensible society.
"PUT THEM IN JAIL AND THROW AWAY THE KEY",is currently an ever increasing cry from those disillusioned by so called "soft prisons" where the incarcerated seem to reside freely in far better conditions than those they have wronged. No doubt there is some substance to that. However, those who shout the loudest, are, like myself, usually those without any prison experience and thus, may be loud voices speaking from vacant minds.
Recently, I spent some time listening to someone who actually had real knowledge and experience of English prisons. The lady in question recently took redundancy from a post in the prison service and her first hand experience was chilling.
Prisons it seems are becoming ever more difficult to deal with as the number of inmates rises and staff levels become inadequate to deal with the problems created. It is well known that many prisoners, on release, return to their old ways. Prisons for many are true Universities of Crime and those returning to crime on release are often better qualified to wage their own private wars on society.
Inside the prison walls, violence of prisoner to prisoner as well as to Staff, continues to rise oth in ferocity and scale of incidents. Likewise, in our current litigious society it appears prisoners have not been slow to see the possibilities of gaining compensation for what are often, self inflicted injuries. Apparently throwing oneself down stairs to generate a fracture gains around £15,000 of the tax payers money. Crazy but true. and totally unacceptable to my way of thinking.
It is abundantly clear that as things stand our punishments do not meet the crimes but actually seem to embrace them
The Harsh Reality of It All .
Set against the background explained to me by the lady, I come, with more than a little reluctance to the conclusion that , not only do I think prisons totally fail in the reasons for which they are established but that also, and unlike many strident voices these days, I have not got a clue as to what a viable alternative might be .
Voices are raised against the length of sentences in the manner wolves bay at the moon. Likewise prison life is classified as too tough or too soft in equal measures and that as attempts to assist prisoners to reform their ways do not work then all that is to be done, and at great cost, is to keep them in segregation 24 hours a day for the duration. No sooner are such views stated than the ripostes come from the liberals and so it goes on and ever, on,
I come to the harsh reality of it all ! Back to where I started. PRISONS DO NOT WORK.
The erudite reader may well consider this and join me in my conclusion, though there will be those who will use specific examples to point out that in individual cases they have achieved great things. I am fully prepared for that of course as my premise here has been unashamedly to generate thoughts on the matter both positive and negative.
Regardless of the above and in probably a vain hope, I conclude by asking the readers to allow themselves to agree my proposition, albeit maybe only briefly, but in that time,to come up with that which I cannot,, despite much thought, achieve.
THE TASK, IF ACCEPTED, IS TO SET OUT ALTERNATIVES FOR SOCIETY TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE LITTLE OR NO REGARD FOR OTHERS UNFORTUNATE TO LIFE WITH, OR AROUND THEM.
Over to you, dear reader to seek to save our society as honestly, it totally defeats me !