From riots to judicial insanity, expense and disproportion
I am the first one to say, all those concerned with the recent riots should be held to account for what they have done. However of late it appears that our judicial system and those responsible for holding those concerned to account have either gone insane, power crazy or publicity driven.
Those on the nights in question who terrorised their communities through the use of violent or destructive behaviour, or directly deprived others of their livelihoods or belongings, all deserve to pay the severest of penalties that can be awarded in relation to their offences.
Those who have also tried to gain by the actions of the rioters and thieves should also be held to account for their flouting of the law in favour of their own self interest. But it’s got to be said for the sentencing rule book to apparently just be “tossed” aside in all these types cases in favour of a political/Crown Prosecution Service/media/publicity driven “jail them all” policy in crazy.
For example, there is no benefit to community or useful purpose served in sentencing a mother of two to five months imprisonment for receiving a pair of shorts given to her after they had been looted from a store on one of the nights. Neither is there any benefit to jailing someone for six months for stealing £3.50 worth of water bottles.
It costs the taxpayer hundreds of pounds a week to keep someone in prison and for what, normally to protect the public whilst trying to rehabilitate the worst offenders in our society and seeing that justice is served in a manner proportionate to offences committed.
At a time when the Conservative Government are actively closing public sector prisons and with prison populations increasing though their resources are being reduced it has to be asked what type of Justice policy has this Government got because it appears to be ad-hoc or whatever David Cameron decides on the six o’clock news on the day.
It was alright last week David Cameron telling a recalled House of Commons that anyone involved in violent disorder should expect to go to prison, what he didn’t do is consider the consequences of his statement and now it appears as a result sentencing policy has gone nuts.
Though I have learnt now to expect no other than for Prime Minister Cameron to grab any opportunity he can to show publicly that he is tough on crime, it should not be on a “quick fix basis” at an excessive cost to the taxpayer and for apparent political gain. No matter how many supporters the Conservative party under his command have lost whilst the Labour Party have gained support, this is not the way to restore public confidence back into the Judicial System.
Ed Miliband was right when in a speech on the 15/8/11 he called for a “National Conversation” on the circumstances surrounding the riots as well as the riots themselves. However it has to be “all encompassing and inclusive of all areas touched by these events” for any outcome it may have, to be worthwhile.