Tail wagging the dog

Our prisons are nearly full.

There are only three things that you can do in this situation. 1. Build more prisons, 2. Send less people to prison or 3. Let some of the people in prison out. It looks as though we are going to exercise options 2 & 3 despite the fact that doing so increases the danger to the general public.

My personal plan would be to make sure that there are enough prison places to house all those that should be in prison and make some real effort to have less people committing crime in the first place. We really should decide on how many prison places we need based on our sentencing policy, not the other way around.

6 responses to “Tail wagging the dog

  1. In your answer you imply that 1 is needed which I think is logical. Overcrowding is appalling and record reoffending rates implies that this overcrowding is impacting on rehabilitation efforts. A related suggestion is to offshore prisons which was < HREF="http://praguetory.blogspot.com/2006/07/off-shoring-prisons.html" REL="nofollow">my blog’s first post<>. Your comment that a real effort should be made to have less people committing crime in the first place is very timely in the wake of the Woodhams murder. Addressing this weakness is primarily a policing issue and we need the police to do more about low level crime as when unchecked, this usually escalates.

  2. Before building a single extra cell, surely we should have an answer to the question: why do we lock up so many people? And a strategy to do something about it.

  3. Anonymous – NuLabour have failed to build another cell and in the meantime the prison population has increased by 20,000 from 60,000 to 80,000. Their failure to “build another cell” has resulted in all sorts of damaging side-effects (see Zahid Mubarek Inquiry report) which pinpoints over-crowding as a major root cause of other failures. As with many crises visited on us by Labour we don’t need a debate, we need action – but we won’t get it.

  4. I fail to see where in this piece your so-called “option 3” – “Let some of the people in prison out” is alluded to. Could you enlighten me?

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