Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Thousands of British career criminals let off with Community Orders immediately re-offend by committing burglaries and robberies
Thousands of career criminals let-off with a slap on the wrist are immediately committing new burglaries, robberies and other offences.
In a damning report, the Ministry of Justice revealed that – even when offenders had 16 or more convictions – the courts were still handing them a Community Order. Unsurprisingly, the response of the hardened convicts was to carry on offending.
More than half – the equivalent of 10,000 convicts – were caught breaking the law all over again within 12 months.
The revelations will re-ignite the debate over soft justice. An estimated 60,000 criminals escape jail despite having committed at least 15 previous crimes. But instead of severe punishment these repeat offenders regularly emerge from court with community sentences, suspended jail terms or fines. Of these, around 20,000 got a community order.
They are supposed to consist of tough community payback, but have long being derided as too ‘soft’ by critics.
The report says that 51 per cent of offenders with 16 or more previous convictions given a Community Order re-offended. This compared with only four per cent of those with no previous convictions. Overall, 35 per cent of convicts on community orders broke the law again within 12 months of being released.
There were also huge differences in between different types of criminal. Some 56 per cent of thieves, burglars and fraudsters went on to commit a new offence. For sex offenders, this fell to 11 per cent. More than half of offenders on community orders who had abused drugs reoffended.
Separate national figures show more than three quarters of criminals given a prison sentence had previously received a community order in 2012.
Ministers also published figures showing that - when criminals were tipped back on to the streets after serving a jail sentence of less than 12 months - six out of every ten reoffended.
Currently anybody imprisoned for less than a year is released with no probation monitoring.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is changing the rules so that, for the first time, anybody released from prison from a shorter sentence will be supervised, normally by a charity or the private sector. He said the research showed the urgent need for a change to the system.
Criminals given slightly longer than 12 months behind bars, who therefore qualified for supervision under the old regime, were up to 17 percentage points less likely to reoffend than those given the shorter sentences.
Mr Grayling said: ‘These figures show supervision works. It is vital that offenders receive proper through-the-gate support so they can begin facing up to the issues causing them to commit crime after crime, creating misery in our communities.
‘Our depressing reoffending rates have dogged successive governments for decades and we must act now to finally turn the tide on this unacceptable problem.’
Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary blasts BBC for 'politically-motivated' criticism of his benefits shake-up
Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith today accused the BBC of launching a ‘politically-motivated’ attack on government plans to cap benefits at £26,000.
In an extraordinary on-air blast, the Work and Pensions Secretary accused the Corporation of using ‘lots of little cases’ to claim that limiting welfare payments would not get people back to work.
The confrontation live on Radio 4’s Today programme marks a significant escalation in the political row between Mr Duncan Smith and the BBC over reforms to the benefits system.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused the BBC of trying to undermine his welfare reforms
From today the maximum amount of benefits a family can claim will be capped at £26,000 a year – a figure equal to a pre-tax salary of more than £34,000.
A poll today reveals that almost three-quarters of the public back the cap, with two-thirds saying it will help get people on benefits back into work.
Mr Duncan Smith was grilled by BBC presenter John Humphrys, after the Today programme aired an interview with one benefits claimant who said she did not want to leave her home in London to find work.
As the debate heated up, Mr Duncan Smith insisted many working people who commute long distances every day.
He added: ‘The reality is there are plenty of families out there working and paying their taxes who will be asking this question: “Why are we arguing about this, why having a debate as to whether or not somebody should be earning more than they are on welfare payments not working?”’
Mr Humphrys intervened to argue: ‘But that’s not the point I am putting to you.’
Mr Duncan Smith then tore into the BBC’s attempts to undermine his reforms. He hit back: ‘No, cos what you are doing as always happens in the BBC is seeking out lots of little cases from people who are politically motivated to say this is wrong.’
Mr Humphrys said: ‘There are facts and beliefs and you can believe whatever you like.’
The minister responded: ‘The facts we have got, the fact is that people will not be earning more than average earnings sitting out of work unless they are in the exempt categories.
‘The way to resolve that is to go back to work, to earn your money so that as a result of that you no longer are capped. This is the incentive to take the right choices, it’s fair to taxpayers.’
Under the benefits cap, couples and lone parents will not receive more than £500 a week under the new cap, with single people limited to £350 a week.
The coalition argues it is fair on people who do work and pay taxes that those on state-funded benefits do not receive more than the average working family.
An Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that just 11 per cent of the public think the benefits system is working effectively.
Some 59 per cent said they wanted politicians to do more to cut Britain’s welfare bill. A total of 74 per cent said they supported the benefits cap.
However, during today’s radio clash Mr Humphrys insisted: ‘We are arguing because it isn’t working. Nobody argues with the principle, that people who are capable of working, they should work.
‘The question is whether your scheme is going to do what it sets out to do, and the evidence such as it is - admittedly little so far - seems to suggest it doesn’t work.’
Mr Duncan Smith, who repeatedly interrupted to insist his reforms are working, responded: ‘I believe we are right. ‘That what we are seeing, and this is the view of lots of people working in Jobcentres.
‘That they are getting people who were notified of the cap, their belief – this is advisers, they talk to me., I have been out on the ground, I have seen it myself, I talk to people actually in the Jobcentres – our belief generally is that they are going to seek work where they might not have sought work.’
Relations between the senior Tory and the BBC deteriorated in April after he was ambushed on air over whether he was challenged over whether he could live on £53-a-week by market trader David Bennett. But questions were later raised about the true level of Mr Bennett's income.
Mr Duncan Smith has also heavily criticised the BBC's use of the phrase 'bedroom tax' to describe changes to housing benefit.
The government says it is ending the 'spare room subsidy' for people receiving taxpayer support for rooms they do not need.
But the Corporation took to using Labour's 'bedroom tax' slogan, which Mr Duncan Smith said was a 'disgrace'.
However, charities criticised the introduction of the benefits cap. Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, accused the Government of trying to use a 'blunt instrument' to solve a complex problem.
He added: 'The debate around this cap has focused solely on workless adults, but the reality is that children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out.
'140,000 children, compared to 60,000 adults, will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent.
'We fully support efforts to make work pay. But it is not right to do this by putting more children on the breadline. Instead, the Government should do more to help families by tackling the sky high rents in some parts of the UK and making childcare affordable.'
If there's any doubt the FBI's gone soft on Islamic terror and may be overlooking more Boston-style plots, witness the bureau chief's recent Hill testimony.
In a testy exchange with Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller reluctantly acknowledged FBI counterterrorism training materials have been purged of references to "jihad" and "Islam" and that counterterrorism agents have been restricted from doing undercover investigations at mosques.
These outrageous policies likely contributed to the FBI missing signs of radicalization in the Muslim community — including that of the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. The marathon bombers operated in plain sight of the FBI before killing three and wounding 260.
During the hearing, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blasted Mueller for concluding his agency had done an "excellent" and "thorough job" protecting the public and for saying he didn't know what more could have been done to disrupt the marathon bombing plot.
Gohmert also read aloud from IBD's recent editorial on the subject, "Obama's Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers."
Mueller confirmed that instead of investigating the militant Boston mosque where the bomber brothers were radicalized, the FBI partnered with it for political "outreach."
Asked if he was aware the mosque was co-founded by a convicted terrorist cited by the Treasury Department as an al-Qaida fundraiser, Mueller sheepishly replied, "I was not."
The same mosque also has graduated several other convicted terrorists. The FBI helped put all these terrorists behind bars, yet didn't tie them back to the mosque. If the bureau had, it would have seen something rotten with the leadership there.
FBI documents recently released from the 9/11 investigation of al-Qaida cleric Anwar Awlaki reveal he was a close associate of the current lead imam of that same Boston mosque. Yet agents still reached out to the imam as a trusted "partner."
The FBI, moreover, had the Tsarnaev brothers on its anti-terrorist radar — thanks only to a tip from Russian intelligence — yet didn't track them back to the mosque or monitor their behavior at that mosque.
Even with the brothers' photos and case files in the FBI database, the bureau had to appeal to the American people to ID the evil jihadists on national TV.
It's a sorry — and scary — state of affairs when the director of the FBI and his field agents know less than the public about major threats from Islamic fanatics living among us.
Mueller wasn't always Mr. Magoo. Who put the PC blinders on him? Eric Holder.
In October 2011, the attorney general quietly put in force two policies that have made the nation far more vulnerable to homegrown terrorism.
For one, he set up a special review committee to curb mosque investigations, classifying the names of the reviewers, who reportedly may include outside parties.
Also that month he ordered a review of all FBI counterterrorist training manuals "to identify and correct any material that may be construed as offensive to someone of the Islamic faith," according to a directive sent to all FBI field offices.
Reviewers proceeded to purge references to "jihad" and "Islam" in connection to terrorism.
Mueller told Gohmert that the names of the Islamic "subject matter experts" who helped conduct the review remain classified.
What this means is that shadowy and unaccountable Islamic sympathizers are now effectively running counterterror programs. Feel safer?
It's plain that political correctness is hindering efforts to stop Islamic terrorists before they strike.
Until we purge PC from law enforcement, we won't truly be safe from future Bostons.
Told that Norway is the West’s most anti-Semitic country, diplomat lashes out at Israel
A prominent Norwegian historian and a senior diplomat from her country wrangled over the Scandinavian’s country’s anti-Semitism and anti-Israel record, trading barbs at a heated panel discussion in Jerusalem.
Hanne Nabintu Herland, a historian of religion, bestselling author and self-described “social pundit,” accused Norway of being “the most anti-Semitic country in the West” and attacked the government in Oslo for “biased support for only the Palestinian views.”
Representing the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv, deputy head of mission Vebjørn Dysvik rejected the claims yet admitted that his government had work to do regarding anti-Jewish sentiment within Norwegian society. He also said that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and 1978 invasion into Lebanon — which he said was “not Israel’s finest hour” — contributed to a mainly negative view of Israel among ordinary Norwegians.
“The degree of anti-Israelism in Norway today on the state level, in the media, in the trade unions and at the universities, colleges and schools is unprecedented in modern Norwegian history,” Herland said at a panel organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “The powerful individuals that have pushed for these negative and biased attitudes in Norway are today responsible for creating a politically-correct hatred towards Israel that today portrays my country internationally as the most anti-Semitic country in the West.”
Herland quoted several surveys and anti-Semitism reports that showed, among other worrying trends, that “Jew” is the most often used curse word in Oslo schools and that a third of Jewish children feel continuously bullied. She also mentioned a widely-quoted June survey that showed that 12 percent of Norwegians harbored “strong anti-Jewish prejudices” and that more than a third of the population believes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “was analogous to Nazi actions against Jews.”
About 2,000 Jews live in Norway, concentrated mostly in Oslo and Trondheim.
Dysvik, a minister counsellor at Oslo’s Tel Aviv embassy, responded to Herland’s remarks by portraying his country as one that does not tolerate anti-Semitism but was trying to be an honest broker in the Middle East peace process. Norway only chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates development assistance to the Palestinians, because both sides in the conflict explicitly asked for Oslo’s help in implementing a two-state solution, he asserted. Dysvik did not, however, pretend that relations with Israel are smooth or that most Norwegians have a positive image of Israel.
Norway’s vote was crucial in Israel’s joining the United Nations and initially, Oslo was a staunch supporter of the Jewish state, he said. But in the 1970s and 1980s, things changed: Israel captured and occupied the West Bank and, in 1978, invaded south Lebanon, seeking to restrain Palestinian terrorism emanating from this area.
“The occupation of the Palestinians is the defining factor in the relationship between Norway and Israel,” Dysvik said, in a comment atypical for diplomats of allied countries, who usually focus on shared history or common goals and values when describing bilateral relations. “A 45-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territory is redefining the relationship.”
The Foreign Ministry noticed the unfriendliness of the diplomat’s remarks but said it was used to such statements from Oslo.
“It’s quite unusual for a diplomat to speak so harshly, but he’s not saying anything we don’t know,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. “This is precisely what we protest about Norwegian politicians and diplomats — that they make it a one-issue relationship, one-dimensional, and define it in what we think are unfair terms.”
But Herland, the Norwegian historian and author, suggested that Oslo’s stance toward Israel and Norwegian anti-Semitism were closely related: “Anti-Israelism is anti-Semitism’s new face in Europe,” she proclaimed during Monday’s panel.
Wearing a large golden Star of David around her neck, Herland slammed Norway for refusing to create a national list of groups recognized as terrorist organizations. “Today, the radical left-wing government silently accepts Hamas’s demand for ethnic cleansing of the Jewish minority, while foreign ministers like Jonas Gahr Støre pose no major remarks — until a late interview in 2011, as if the political pressure was so great that he felt obliged to at least say something. But even then the talks [with] and support for Hamas continued.”
Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, has a policy of engaging with Hamas, because the group “represents a significant part of Palestinian society” and is “a social, political, religious, and also a military reality that will not simply go away as a result of Western policies of isolation,” according to Støre. “There are constituencies within Hamas that seem open to dialogue and there are signs that these parts of the movement might be willing to support a two-state solution and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he wrote last year in an article.
“It is not surprising,” Herland said, “that anti-Semitism and hostility towards Israel is a major problem in a country where even on state level there is such biased support for only the Palestinian views of the conflict,” she said.
However, the diplomat admitted that there was work to be done. Oslo was very disturbed by the survey’s finding that 38 percent of Norwegians compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews, he said. “This means that we are failing probably in our schools, both to teach people about what’s happening in Israel today but also of course maybe we really need to step up our efforts in teaching people about the Holocaust. The government is doing precisely that.”
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.