Criminal Justice

Prisoners are SCAAAAAARY

Prisoners are SCAAAAAARY

Not many people may have seen this story today, about a bail hostel programme the government has been running.

Predictably, “local residents” (for which, read self-appointed busybodies) are up in arms; add to this the fact that Tory MP Paul Goodman very decently leaked the content of a private letter from Justice Minister David Hanson MP to the Tory press office, and there’s a right bruhaha.

The key fact here – which is so blindingly obvious that I can’t believe it’s seemingly never considered – is that most prisoners will leave prison at some point. Apart from a small number of really unpleasant specimens, the aim of the criminal justice system is (ultimately) to ensure that those in its charge can re-enter society at the end of their sentences.

So, unless even the most minor crimes are to carry life sentences, bail hostels are needed – and if the aim is to reintegrate prisoners into society it certainly makes sense that they are near other people, since other people are who the prisoners will ultimately have to live with in their daily lives.

It’s really low of the right to make a controversy out of an issue like this: what else would they do? Lock up perjurers and credit card fraudsters for the rest of their natural lives?


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