RETIRING MAGISTRATE CONDEMNS BRITISH JUSTICE – Alan Bissell has served as a Magistrate for 25 years and during his time has seen thousands of alleged criminals brought before the court to face trail.
I cannot put myself in Mr. Bissell’s shoes but I can certainly wonder and consider that being a Magistrate has to be not only a difficult job but also one of extreme frustration.
There used to be a time in Britain when real justice existed and it did so in order to severely punish those convicted of a crime, prevent crime and of course, protect the public.
Today’s modern justice system is of course completely different from what it was 25 years ago and is nothing like it was 50 years ago.
Mr. Bissell is obviously ‘old school’ – that is pre-political correctness indoctrination – for he feels that the justice system spectacularly fails to adequately punish criminals and therefore fails to protect the general public.
Britain has progressed, or regressed depending upon how you see it. Britain used to imprison people for their crimes and prisons of the latter age were not the comfortable 5 Star accommodations they are today; prison was then seen as an actual deterrent.
According to Mr. Bissell the emphasis on the justice system today is not to punish a criminal but rather to rehabilitate them.
This all appears suitably humane in modern society, but does it actually work? Recently meebal.com published an article that clearly provided Government figures on the amount of crimes carried out by alleged criminals whilst out on bail. The Government report went further and outlined the worrying trend of criminality being carried out by repeat offenders.
Another disturbing trend refers to the number of people now simply being handed out police cautions – such cases never see the inside of a court room.
The Government are currently in the ‘pledge’ and ‘vow’ mode as we lead up to the next General Election and one of the pledges is to stamp out the number of police cautions provided to suspects; especially where the alleged crime involves child sex abuse.
There are a growing number of citizens in Britain that feel justice can no longer be served and without justice the public becomes disturbingly vulnerable to rising crime.
Again it appears the Government has a solution to this conundrum as well; that is in the aspect of dealing with foreign nationals who commit crime and acts of terrorism, for the next pledge is to re-write the Human Rights Act and if necessary pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Mr. Bissell makes his views perfectly clear in that punishment has diminished to a point that it is now almost irrelevant in a court of law – rehabilitation over punishment is the byword and the politically correct solution to criminal behaviour.
Yes, it could be argued that we should be more compassionate. There are those who vehemently believe that criminality is a by-product of an uncaring and materialistic society that prevents those engaged in crime any real opportunity.
The other argument is that criminals are fully aware that they have become almost untouchable and with our prisons overflowing it’s almost a full gone conclusion that a suspended sentence or a community service order will be handed out.
Regardless of these views, Mr. Bissell’s account is indeed correct; we have become a society that is fearful of handing out punishment for not wanting to appear inhumane or worst barbaric.
Unfortunately this doesn’t help the public but rather makes them more fearful as crime levels rise due to being devoid of any real justice.
One of Mr. Bissell’s deepest concerns is the rise in police cautions for the most serious and heinous of crimes. This fact was highlighted by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, who pledged a change that would prevent police cautions being provided for a number of serious crimes; including child sex abuse. Again read the article linked above.
Mr. Bissell’s comments came to light during a farewell gathering by his colleagues who wanted to pay tribute to Mr. Bissell’s dedication to the Magistrates service over the last 25 years. Mr. Bissell’s speech included his concerns that successive Government’s continuously beat the drum of tougher measures and yet none of their rhetoric has ever born fruit of substance.
Again the question of reinstating public flogging and the death penalty should be raised. Are such lawful uses of punishment barbaric or would they be a useful deterrent?
There are extensive studies indicating that the death penalty serves as no deterrent, however none of these studies bothers to look at the fact that not only is a criminal permanently removed from public danger, it also saves the taxpayer from having to keep a person confined almost indefinitely.
As for public flogging there are rarely any studies, but from those who we spoke to and who can remember those days they say it was certainly a deterrent and that those who were flogged publicly rarely re-offended.
Singapore is one of the few countries that do impose caning as a punishment and according to the Singaporean authorities this method of punishment is highly effective in keeping crime levels at a sensible level – rarely do people ever re-offend after being caned.
The choice of whether we punish or rehabilitate criminals will continue to be debated and as we do crime levels will likely continue to rise – especially as our population grows through mass immigration and where a high number of these migrants are criminals.
The choice of course lies in the hands of the British citizens for Britain is (or at least supposed to be) a democracy.