» Thursday, October 13, 2005

Early release scheme

Asked what the Prime Minister’s view was of the proposal being considered by the Home Office of extending the early release scheme, the PMOS said that Fiona MacTaggart today had stressed that no decision had been taken. She also said that we were not at the point where capacity was fully utilised, and agreed that there was a spike in numbers, but there were other places coming onstream. The PMOS said that this morning’s report had taken us further than the actual situation was at the moment. As Fiona MacTaggart also stressed, community sentence orders did have their place, as did home curfews in a well managed criminal system. They should not be thought of a "soft touch" because they did use unpaid labour, for example. However, the PMOS said again that we were not yet at a point where capacity was fully utilised.

Put to the PMOS that was there not a danger of confusion as the Prime Minister appeared to be tough on crime, versus the Home Office who were "letting thousands of people go", the PMOS replied that what people had to understand was that nobody was saying that judges would decide sentences according to whether there were prison places or not. Secondly, there were a range of sentencing options, and the Prime Minister had been discussing fixed penalty notices, for example, which was not dependent on the prison capacity. Thirdly, community sentence orders had a merit in their own right in that some cases, they were not a soft touch, but that they could lead to faster rehabilitation. The re-offending rate was much lower for people who served that kind of sentence than with other kinds of sentences though we accepted for a wide range of reasons.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. They should clear the jails of criminals who could all become stewards, or marshalls, for the NewLabour Reich, quickly stamping on trouble spots like mosques, old folks’ homes, constituency Labour parties and the cabinet office. The jails, then, could be more properly filled with disabled people, who would, obviously, remain incarcerated until they purged themselves of their disabilities and were ready to lead a decent, honest, consumerist life, whilst, of course, simultaneously spending like crazy in the High St and saving lots of money for their retirements. In the world of Brown economics it is possible to borrow enough money to get out of debt.

    This measure would have the added benefit of increasing job satisfaction among members of the Prison Officers Association; it is one thing for them to occasionally gangrape an inmate or set a mad-dog racist to kill a harmless Asian lad but it is transports of delight for them to be able to kick the crutches out from underneath cripples, on a daily basis.

    Interviewed on BBC Radio Orkney, Prison and Probation supremo Martin Nairey welcomed the early release initiative, pointing to his own spectacular achievement of nearly doubling the prison population and thereby demonstrating his commitment to rehabilitation, Mr Nairey said he had been asked to host a new tv show entitled Nobody’s To Blame, in which Chief Constables, Prison Governors, Heads of Social Services, Chief Probation Officers and the rest are invited to competitively list all the reasons they should have resigned, but didn’t. The one who got away with the most grievous dereliction of duty wins a boost of a hundred grand to his pension fund.

    Joining the interview by satphone from a bunker beneath Downing St premier Blair added, y’know, that George Orwell, if he was alive to-day Home Secretary Clarke’d woulda had him in Belmarsh by now.

    Radio Orkney ended the interview with an exclusive first broadcasting of Magnus Shearer and the Smirking Wee Fionas singing Me An’ Ma Cousin’s Gettin Married The Noo, Ken. (trad. Accordion arrangement by Lady SIr Peter Maxwell Davis, Master of the Queen’s Musick and bona fide Orkney superstar.)

    Comment by Tasty Macfadden — 31 Oct 2005 on 12:09 am | Link

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