The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oh Goody! A Fresh Look at Justice!

Today's Bright Ideas (no. 477 of a series)

The BBC reports on the Government's latest thoughts (thoughts?) on the justice system.
Here's a quick guide to the announcement:-

However, the restructuring of forces - a plan abandoned when John Reid became home secretary - is not on the agenda.
- too expensive. Treasury says no.

He also said the plan was not to send less people to prison, but to have a "proportionate" criminal justice system
The plan is to send fewer people to prison because the Treasury says no. This will make room for all the 75 year-olds who must, we are told, stay incarcerated until the Daily Mail says they can come out.

If you are dangerous and convicted, you should stay in prison for as long as you pose a danger," Lord Falconer said.
Or even longer if we won't provide the people who can decide whether or not you are still dangerous.

Some people will be reduced in their re-offending by a community penalty, which is tough
- and cheaper than building prisons.

Rather than hitting the taxpayer twice by saying we're sending everybody to prison, you've got to spend another £40,000 to maintain all offenders in bed and breakfasts, we're saying you should pay back to the community if you're a non-serious offenders by doing unpaid work in the community," he said.
means there is no room in the prisons (see above).

Another idea in the policy document is for special units to house mentally-ill prisoners, where drug treatment would be available.
We are thinking of calling them mental hospitals. Why didn't anyone think of that before?

"Career criminals" could be prevented from mixing with former associates when they are freed from prison.
Could be. Won't be. It's impractical and probably illegal.

Other steps being considered include removing non-cash assets and driving licences, more rehabilitation in jails, keeping prisoners in contact with their children, more therapy and less reliance on drugs to treat mentally ill offenders
Motherhood and apple pie will take a little longer. Taking away driving licences for a non-driving offence may have legal problems and may prevent released prisoners earning a living. Non-cash assets (houses? cars?) may be part-owned by someone else. The ARA fiasco isn't promising is it?
By the way - Every year there is a promise to make community penalties tough, like I mean really tough, all right? Some years there are two promises. It won't happen. No money you see. As it is some of those sentenced to community orders are still waiting for courses or work weeks and months after the order is made.

I am sorry to repeat myself from a previous post, but the only word for this is 'bollocks'.