Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When sorry seems to be the hardest word

Seems Ken Clarke has plans to help a lot of people avoid jail and fines for shoplifting and petty theft by making them say sorry to their victims instead.

FURY erupted yesterday at controversial plans to make shoplifters apologise to ­victims instead of suffering tougher punishments.
Jail sentences and hefty fines will be scrapped as punishment for stealing from shops under plans soon to be unveiled by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.
Instead, he wants thieves to make face-to-face apologies to victims – and pay compensation.
The move was revealed to Parliament by Prisons ­Minister Crispin Blunt.
“We want to make restorative justice and compensation orders the first point of departure for such offences so offenders can make good to their victims,” he said.
Mr Clark, 70, has enraged Tory MPs by threatening to scrap minimum jail terms for murder and command more ­community orders than prison terms.
Last night critics warned retailers will be infuriated by his soft approach to s­hoplifters who last year cost £1.1billion.
Well that certainly has a deterrent value, can just imagine a lot of the professional shoplifting gangs quaking in their feet over having to go back to the scene of the crime and apologise, I'm sure the threat of jail or a piddly fine (paid for by the state) is going to have them giving up their life of crime and go into retirement as penitent sinners. Not that I'm advocating hanging, flogging, limb removal, transportation to a penal colony (though all those empty Scottish isles look tempting) or life sentences. I just believe there should be some sort of deterrent built in to any sort of sentence for the crime, at least enough to ensure that no-one in their right mind would wish to go back to whatever it is. Loss of liberty was at least some sort of deterrent, though the way that prisons have been transformed over the last few years it's certainly not an uncomfortable place to be anymore, not pleasant by any means, but not something to be feared either.
And that's what I think we've lost over the years as various human rights acts kicked in, the fear factor in getting caught. No I'm not suggesting prisons should be hell holes that release a traumatised damaged human back into society, but there should be enough of a deterrent either by length of sentence or by lack of luxury (no tv, etc) to make sure that it's the last place they want to go back too.
So again Ken Clark is out of step with the majority of society who do not like the idea of crime paying. So sorry doesn't really cut it and probably ever will save possibly in only the mildest of cases of a first time conviction and even then only with kids, adults of course should know better.

I'm almost tempted to add Ken Clark as a tag, as he's probably even a better gift to blogging than Bob Crow.

4 annotations:

JuliaM said...

"No I'm not suggesting prisons should be hell holes that release a traumatised damaged human back into society..."

You had me at 'hell holes'...

...but lost me at 'release'!

Quiet_Man said...

Even I think a life sentence for shoplifting is a tad extreme ;-)

microdave said...

Now all we need is for Ken to apply the same idea to people who refuse to fill in the Census form!

James Higham said...

Gee I'd like to string up Clarke and his cronies.