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Friday, February 22, 2008

Britain's Deadly Penal Policy

Chef Mark Dixie has been found guilty of the horrific murder of 18-year-old model Sally-Anne Bowman (above). It's transpired that Dixie had 16, yes 16, previous convinctions for sexual offences. What on earth was such a dangerous man doing being allowed out on the streets? The ultra-liberal, criminal-friendly Roy Jenkinsite approach to crime and punishment, which puts the rights of reptiles like Dixie, above the rights of ordinary, law-abiding members of the public, is not only snobbish and patronising- it's also, as far as the British public is concerned, quite deadly.


Karl Naylor said...

It's quite odd that the liberal-leftist elites who are quite fervent in advocating the liberation of the world and are prepared to wade across a sea of blood to acheive that, as in Iraq get really squeamish at the idea of actually punishing people who commit terrible crimes. I wonder why ? Bad conscience ?

Most likely the idea that ultmately the state and the apparatus of law and punishment reflects social inequalities and by social engineering man's evil nature can be tamed and crime slowly eradicated by treating crime from a wholly utilitarian approach.

The reason that prisons and sentences no longer work is that the idea of punishment is anathema to those who rationalise evil. Time people read Dostoevsky again and agrre that old style conservatives like me were right all along.

Neil Clark said...

"It's quite odd that the liberal-leftist elites who are quite fervent in advocating the liberation of the world and are prepared to wade across a sea of blood to acheive that, as in Iraq get really squeamish at the idea of actually punishing people who commit terrible crimes."

Tony Blair was quite happy for Belgrade, Kabul and Baghdad to be bombed with inevitable civilian casualties, yet would come over all 'compassionate' if it was announced that a serial killer like Ian Huntley would be hanged. As no doubt would his Eustonista supporters.

David Lindsay said...

This happened because They have made sure that these things can never happen to Them. And to hell with the rest of us.

Yet They dare to suggest that too many people are being sent to prison, mostly by those uncouth non-London, or at least non-Islington, types on Magistrates' Benches. (But crime is falling. Isn't it?)

By refusing to police the streets properly, those who are paid to do so, and those to whom they are notionally answerable, have created an explosion in the sort of disorder that is "low-level" unless it happens to you.

And that, in turn, is the excuse to demand and enact ever-more-draconian curtailments on our liberties.

Karl Naylor said...

Neil, I don't think the restoration of the death penalty would be either an effective or morally good thing to do. The problem is that prisoners are no longer punished but treated as though there is some two way process of 'respect'.

There is not. Punishment and isolation must be stark but humane. Access to books given but not to wives or girlfriends or luxuries. The criminal must be made to reflect obsessively about his crime.

Hanging the criminal does not help that process which might be truly carthartic in some cases.

It's as simple as that. It is precisely because people do not believe in a mortal sin, nor do they feel it, that we now have a society in which pleasure is a value free route to just more pleasure.

No thought of a moral code, of what is right not wrong ever even comes into it. If it feels right, 'Just Do It'.

Just like Tony Blair on Iraq.

( Copyright, Nike )

Anonymous said...

First, too many people are sent to prison...the addicted, the mentally ill etc

Second because this is so, resources cannot be deployed to properly contain those guilty of major sex offences - many of whom are not treatable but are treated as if they were, with the terrible consequences that happened in this case.

Third, a proper penal policy would challenge offender behaviour and equip people to live meaningful lives outside of prison. Presently the policy does neither.

Fourth, Dostoyevsky did not rationalise evil but old style conservatives did believe in the radical power of forgiveness - a rather uncomfortable concept for anyone recommending 'punishment alone' as an adequate approach to criminality.

Martin Meenagh said...

Actually, per crime rather than per head, too few people are sent to prison in the UK compared to the rest of Europe. I don't agree with the death penalty, but the public need to be protected. People do need to be made to think about what they have done, and the criminal life should not be a lifestyle choice or just another species of existence under the banner of rights.
There is a paradox here, isn't there? We need more compassion and human understanding, neither of which need be soft in the prisons; we need more prisons, chemical castrations and order on the streets in society. Otherwise, we end up afraid of children, frustrated at justice and subject to a police force that will end up policing the law-abiding rather than criminals.

David is perfectly valid too, and Karl. Those who govern us have contempt for any public values other than their own. This is in part because they view drugs and selfishness as part of the point of life, and because they don't generally suffer the consequences. Many of them profit from the government-funded services that follow afterward, and many are insulated by money.

Thank you for the post, Neil. This blog really makes a person think! I agree with you about Cuba too