Monday, July 12, 2010

It's cheaper to let thugs out to commit crimes than to keep them in jail, says British probation boss

If justice and protection of the community is too expensive for Britain, it's time Britain cut back on other things -- like its vast bureaucracy

The public may have to put up with being the victims of serious crime to save money, a Government inspector said today. Andrew Bridges, chief inspector of probation, warned that it costs £80million a year to keep 2,500 of the country's most dangerous inmates behind bars.

The convicts have served the minimum sentence given by the courts but are being kept locked up for 'public protection'.

Mr Bridges predicts they could commit as many as 40 further serious crimes a year between them if released - a category that includes murder, manslaughter and rape.

But the inspector, who is supposed to monitor whether probation officers are effective, said the public must ask whether spending £2million a year to prevent each crime is value for money.

He asked: 'Is the public prepared to accept the "cost" of having more prisoners managed in the community to achieve what could be substantial financial savings? Grownup choices need to be made.'

Critics questioned whether it is part of Mr Bridges's 396,000-a-year job to make such remarks. David Green, director of think-tank Civitas-said: 'I would have thought the probation service is sufficiently dysfunctional for him to find enough to do without adding to its problems by calling for the release of 2,500 dangerous criminals. 'In the end it does not come down to costs, it comes down to justice and public protection. He has taken a narrow view of this, a shallow view.'

In his annual report, published today, Mr Bridges, also said that, under the last Government's early release scheme, around 30,000 convicts per year were released 18 days before their sentences reached the halfway point. On average, 500 of them committed a total of around 600 further offences during that period.

He said the cost of keeping 30,000 people in custody for around a fortnight is £48million - giving a figure of around £80,000 to prevent each offence. In other words, he argued, we are locking up 59 people who may not need to be behind bars in order to imprison one who is going to offend in that 18-day period.

The final figures for Labour's so called End of Custody Licence scheme actually show 81,578 prisoners were released up to 18 days early between 2007 and its abolition earlier this year - including more than 16,000 violent offenders. In all, 1,234 of them committed a total of 1,624 new offences during the time they would normally have still been locked up - including at least three murders.

This is despite the fact that the offences committed by the 80,000 inmates given early release between 2007 and the abolition of the scheme earlier this year included at least three murders.

Mr Bridges said he wanted to start the debate 'despite the difficulties in measuring reoffending, and in isolating what makes it more or less likely to happen'. His report adds: 'At a time when public expenditure is under especially close scrutiny it would be wise to consider the price paid for this rather drastic form of crime prevention, both financially and otherwise.'

Simon Reed, of the Police Federation, said: 'What price can we put on justice? I thought part of the criminal justice system was to punish and rehabilitate. It appears to be doing neither.'

Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is already spent on imprisoning those who have broken the law. 'It is insulting to victims of crime and law abiding taxpayers who pay for the prison system to suggest that the public should accept an increase in crime if they want savings to be made.

'Our prison system needs urgent reform, and a good place to start would be to cut wasteful spending, such as giving inmates luxuries like Sky TV, before telling taxpayers to put up with more crime.'


The Leftist love-affair with Islam continues

They are united by hatred of the rest of us. Comments from Australia

EVERY Australian school student would be taught positive aspects about Islam and Muslims - and that Australia is a racist country - under a proposal by an education think tank.

The plan is outlined in the Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools booklet, published during the week by the Australian Curriculum Studies Association and the University of Melbourne's Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies.

It says there is a "degree of prejudice and ignorance about Islam and Muslims", and Australian students must be taught to embrace difference and diversity.

The booklet refers to the al-Qai'da of Osama bin Laden as "a famous name" synonymous with the traditionalist movement in Islam. It makes no reference to terrorism. It says "most texts used in Australian English classes still have a Western or European perspective".

Its authors are offering free seminars to teachers, which promise to "provide avenues for you to introduce Islam- and Muslim-related content in your classrooms" and "equip you with the skills to meet the needs and expectations of Muslim students in a multi-faith classroom".

But education experts have branded it a biased and one-sided approach that ignores Australia's Christian heritage and Western culture. "The book fails to mention the terrorist nature of such Islamic fundamentalists or describe their terrorist acts like the Bali bombings," education consultant Dr Kevin Donnelly said.

"Ignored is what some see as the inherently violent nature of the Koran, where devout Muslims are called on to carry out jihad and to convert non-believers, and the destructive nature of what is termed dhimmis - where non-believers are forced to renounce their religion, are discriminated against and forced to accept punitive taxation laws.

"Given that Australia's schools, on the whole, are secular in nature and the argument that classrooms should not be used to teach a particular faith, it's understandable why introducing religion into school subjects for many would be unacceptable," Dr Donnelly said.

ACSA executive director Catherine Schoo said the booklet was misunderstood. "This is simply a resource for non-Muslim teachers who may want to improve their understanding of issues Muslims face in Australian schools," she said. [A big backdown!]

SOURCE. (Andrew Bolt has further comments on the matter)

Tough new British laws planned for illegal gipsy camps

Long overdue. The Labour Party just tolerated Gypsy abuses

Gipsies who set up illegal camps could have their caravans and vehicles confiscated under new laws being planned. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is drawing up legislation that would allow councils to sell off the seized assets and use the money to repair the land the travellers targeted. Officials would also be able to move caravans to holding sites where the families could live if they chose, under the plans.

And town halls will be expected to have enforcement staff on call over bank holiday weekends – a key time for gipsies to move on to sites while officials are away. Enforcement notices would be served immediately ordering a halt to the creation of the camp, and illegal caravans would be removed within days rather than months.

Figures in May showed that the number of gipsy caravans in England has risen significantly in recent months, from 17,437 in July 2009 to 18,355 this January. Of these, 1,224 were on land which did not belong to the travellers, including 652 which were listed as "not tolerated" by the legitimate owner. There were another 2,395 caravans on land owned by gipsies, but 1,159 of these did not have planning permission.

Earlier that month, residents of Meriden in the West Midlands protested outside Solihull borough council after a group of travellers began digging on land they owned but did not have planning permission to develop.

They had lodged a planning application to use the land as a "gipsy site for 14 pitches to site 14 mobile homes, 14 touring caravans and associated ancillary developments" on a Friday afternoon. Council officials left for the weekend without examining the application and police ordered residents to remove a makeshift roadblock intended to stop diggers being brought on to the site.

Mr Pickles’ proposals will be balanced with a more intensive effort to improve life for genuine gipsy communities who abide by the rules, in particular giving better access to health care and education.


Don’t tinker with Britain's vetting rules: Scrap them

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act is based on a poisonous assumption: that every adult is a potential abuser unless state-approved

In response to UK deputy minister Nick Clegg’s call for suggestions for laws and regulations that should be scrapped, spiked writers will put forward their suggestions for which laws should be consigned to the shredding machine of history. Here, Josie Appleton, convenor of the civil liberties group, the Manifesto Club, puts the case for dumping the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.

My vote for the law to be scrapped goes to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. The Act was passed in October 2006 – with cross-party backing and virtually no detractors – and means an unprecedented degree of state intervention into everyday adult-child relations.

The law states that every adult who works or volunteers with children or ‘vulnerable adults’ (the homeless, disabled, elderly or sick) should go on a database and be subject to constant criminal records vetting by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

At a stroke, a whole swathe of civic life, much of it entirely voluntary and altruistic, became conditional on people joining a fantastically intrusive state licensing system. If you carried out what officials called ‘the regulated activity’ (ie, listening to children read or helping out with coffee mornings at the old people’s home) either ‘frequently’, ‘intensively’ or overnight, you would have to register. If you failed to do so, you would be guilty of a criminal offence and subject to a fine of up to £5,000.

So the security checks imposed on the mother volunteering at her local nursery became greater than those imposed on sellers of explosives. As we revealed in a recent Manifesto Club report, some two million volunteers would have to go on the vetting database for the most benign and everyday of activities.

At base, the vetting database is not actually a system for child protection from abusers. Professor of social work Sue White has described how in 26 years of experience she had not met one child who this system would have helped. None of the high-profile abuse cases of recent years would have been prevented by this database, since the perpetrators either did not have criminal records or did not meet their victims through their work.

The vetting database is first of all a system for the state management of adult-child relations. It is not about the identification of strange or perverted behaviour, but about the regulation of the mass of decent adults and of normal behaviour.

In the past, the state would hold lists of people who were barred from working with children. Now – with the vetting database – it wants to hold a list of nine million people who have been cleared. This is in effect a safe adult list, and your ISA registration number would be your safe adult ID number. Every adult is presumed to be a paedophile until proven otherwise; it seems that only constant state surveillance can offset our predatory instincts.

The database is based on the assumption that an unmonitored relationship between adult and child means a potential to abuse. The dividing line for registration on the vetting database is the ‘potential to form a relationship of trust’ with a child.

Civil servants have wracked their brains about how many frequent or intensive meetings with a child are required to suggest the potential to form a relationship of trust. First, they thought once a month or three days at a time was sufficient. Then the Singleton Review last December moved the boundaries, and decided that the dividing lines should be somebody who worked with children once a week or four days at a time.

The Lib-Con coalition government has suspended registration on the vetting database, which was due to start at the end of July, while it conducts a review of the scheme. The Manifesto Club has been calling for this for the past three years and so we are delighted.

We want to ensure, however, that the current review doesn’t end up with yet more consideration of the meanings of ‘frequent’ and ‘intensive’ activity. Wherever officials draw the line for database registration, it will still be an absurdly bureaucratic exercise. It would still present big problems for voluntary groups and children’s organisations, not the least of which is trying to work out the tortuous specifications of exactly who is supposed to register.

What is needed is a deconstruction of the vetting and barring scheme, right down to its poisonous roots. We don’t need yet another edit of this thoroughly wrong-headed piece of legislation: throw it all to the fire.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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