I received a letter recently from a victim of crime. We had contacted her to tell her that the young lad that had broken into her car had been charged and was off to Court. The victim was a Muslim woman and when I first read her letter I found it quite amusing and rather ridiculous. After further consideration I then thought it wasn't so ridiculous and wouldn't it be better if sentencing reflected her view on crime and the focus on public humiliation. I have copied her letter below.
thank you for telling me that the man that stole from my car has been caught. I would like to have his full name, his address and information on any crime he has committed before. I would also like the name and address of any of his family that are criminal.
The man should be made to write a letter of apology for what he does and if he cannot write I will help him but he must pay me.
The man should be made to sweep my street and he should wear a sign to say that he is a thief so that anyone is warned he is a thief and to watch him. He must wear the sign always out of his house until 6 months when he does not steal.
The man must pay to fix my car and any money he has should be taken from him until he has paid. He must not drink or smoke.
I do not want to open a debate on Sharia Law and I do not accept that it has a place in our society, but I think there are many aspects of the above view I would support. We have moved some way towards it with community punishment, but offenders are given specific tasks that avoid public humiliation. I think a more public penalty would not only serve as a deterent to young offenders but also allow the public and victims to see justice being done.
About fifteen years ago I saw a group of about ten young people doing community service. They were all in the town centre on a Saturday morning scraping chewing gum off the pavements. They all had their heads down cringing with embarrassment. I thought it was great. It only happened the once. The liberals I so love, in charge of community service, heard about it and instructed it must never happen again as we should not be humiliating these poor offenders.
Back to our car thief, he was a 16 year old lad on benefits and was subject of a supervision order. This means he had already been arrested and put into the justice system at least twice (Police Caution and Court Appearance.) For his latest offences, three charges of theft from vehicles he was fined £100 and his supervision order was to continue for its remaining 3 months. He was ordered to pay the fine at £4 per week.
I believe the victims proposed penalty would have had far more effect.