Thursday, 24 May 2012

More on Our Failing Justice System

I have been banging on for some time now about our completely ineffective justice system; how sentencing policy fails to deter prolific offenders; how sentencing and rehabilitation fails completely to protect the public, who are now routinely told to protect themselves in the guise of crime prevention advice.

The riots throughout the country last August highlighted the disgraceful state of affairs, which has allowed prolific offenders to continue on their offending sprees with impunity. More than three quarters of those sentenced in relation to the riots had previous convictions. Of those with convictions, the average number of convictions was 15 offences. Only one third of those offenders, with an average 15 convictions, had ever been to prison.

New figures have been released showing that re-offending rates amongst prolific offenders are increasing rather than declining. Well I never! The average custodial sentence has increased by one month. I have been saying for some time that the complete ineffectiveness of sentencing and rehabilitation in this country means that more and more prolific offenders are walking in and out of our revolving door justice system treating the whole thing for what it is, a joke. They go on to commit more and more serious offences until they do something so serious they are being jailed for a significant time.

All this is too little too late. The average offender has seven court appearances before a custodial sentence is likely to be given. By this time they are so far down the road of criminality that the short sentence they receive is of no deterrence whatsoever and gives no time for any effective rehabilitation.

The police are the only part of the justice system which is of any effect. Falling morale and the dismantling of the police by Tom Winsor will result in a service as impotent as the rest of the justice system. Decent law abiding people should be very worried about this. The public should be harassing their MP's regarding this prospect. Criminals will be getting an almost free rein to carry on offending and victimising more and more innocent people.


  1. Six months for lifting a packet of sweets in the August Uprising? Tweeters jailed. Bloggers threatened with jail You really are ripping the piss.

  2. A friend of mine was surprised recently when, after being the witness of a serious unprovoked assault that left the victim with permanent brain injuries, the perpetrator got only 3 years.

    He was all the more surprised when I replied that it was a fairly decent sentence in my experience.

    And that's the problem - most people simply don't know about the issue, or aren't particularly concerned as it doesn't affect them.

  3. How could we change current sentencing policy the LEAST and still increase the deterrent effect?

    I'd suggest that for third and subsequent custodial sentences [importantly, INCLUDING suspended ones] the automatic 'half tariff discount' (12 months means 6 plus 6 'on licence') should cease to apply.

    For repeat (custodial) offenders the sentence made should be the sentence served ... maybe with the Prison able to offer some small reduction for good behaviour.

    What say you?


  4. That legal profits are maximised when criminals are kept in full play within a system devised and controlled by lawyers, is self evident. The gullible citizen can believe his own interests are heeded or accorded any value.

  5. melv, the current farce certainly suits the lawyers and I am sure they will be anxious for it not to change. The poor parasites are complaining that their legal aid payments have been pared to the bone. I feel sorry for the average criminal solicitor whose pay is pretty poor and job satisfaction probably worse. The partners and barristers don't seem to be struggling to pay the school fees.
    I can give many suggestions as to where sentencing fails. e.g. why do we fine the unemployed? Send them on unpaid work five mornings a week.
    If you are fined and don't pay it you go back to Court and receive an alternative sentence.
    The biggest issue is that the sentencing guidelines make the courts almost impotent. Persistent offenders walk in and out of court secure in the knowledge that if they fail to pay their fine, complete their community penalty, breach their suspended sentence, it is highly unlikely that there will be any consequences. ASBO's have only failed because there is no penalty for breaching them. Many breaches are resolved. 'Order to continue.'
    Sentences need to have a deterrent effect and there needs to be ever increasing consequences for re-offending and for ignoring penalties from the courts.

  6. I must be careful to avoid any suggestion that the Police Federation is alone is disagreeing with you, lex. The said organisation may simply be waiting for a more opportune time to act in your best interests by loudly voicing these persuasive points.

  7. Wasting your time here Lex.Even this week that idiot Ken Clarke said too many people are getting locked up.
    Until crime touches an important person-royalty,MP's,judges-then nothing will change.
    When I was a new PC the Stipe at my local magistrates court had a daughter who died of a drug overdose after getting in with the wrong crowd.Any scumbag who came in front of her for drug-supplying or something similar didn't bother applying for bail.

  8. @ WPC Jaded

    Aaah, no policing topic is complete without the sagacity and grace of Jaded. As you approach retirement, can you remember what first attracted you to gay-friendly employment and recount the reasons for spurning every offer of promotion?

  9. Any idea what the idiot above is on about?
    Is he having a dig at the police or gays?Or both?
    Is that you Melvin or your brother-in-hate CR?
    Come on give us a clue,the whole internet is waiting with bated breath for your next post.

  10. Brontosaurus28 May, 2012 00:56

    It's Melvyn, suggesting you may be a lesbian and that you must be a bit thick being a PC.
    Melvyn likes to think he is a person of liberal views and superior intellect. Despite this, he still suggests that homosexuality is something to be derided. He also likes to think that he is in touch with, and represents the views of the working classes. But he looks down on anyone he considers to be beneath his superior intellect.
    All these things tell you that he he is really just an insecure twat.

  11. Brontosaurus seems fine on pay day but depressed, broke and bellicose at the end of each month. A decent charity could spare him those few miserable days of enforced sobriety.

  12. Lesbian? I've had some insults hurled at me in the past but that's a new one.
    As well as being homophobic he seems to hate women as well as he constantly and hilariously gets my gender wrong and uses it as an insult.
    He is only one post away from "I pay your wages","weren't you bullied at school?" and the classic "who's shagging your wife while you're at work?".

  13. As I see it, the only way out of this one is sentences mandated by actual law, with maximums and minimums actually stipulated by Act of Parliament.

    In addition to this, remove the ability of the judiciary to apply concurrent sentences, and reduce good behaviour discount to 25% max.

    The net effect is going to be a rapid increase in the number of morons being warehoused at Her Majesty's Pleasure. So before this happens, let us engage in a prisons building programme and let us also sort out much better rehab for prisoners on release, plus a better way of removing spent convictions if a person stops offending for a long time.