UK CRIME: WHY ARE CRIMINALS NOT SENT TO PRISON? - The law is a complex labyrinth and one that many people clearly fail to understand. This is not unexpected considering the volumes of legislation that the UK Court System, and its Judges, has to wade through in order to come up with a decision.
To provide you with an insight into the structure of the UK Court System, I have included the image below:
The truly unique aspect about our laws is the fact that a sitting Magistrate or Judge is never afforded the luxury of saying; “I don’t know.” The law, regardless of whether we perceive it to be right or wrong, at the time of judgment, is irrelevant, as the law must provide an answer. It is the only profession I am aware of where it cannot simply shrug its shoulders and inform people that it has no answer. This conundrum is the very reason we have Courts and Courts of Appeal and then finally the House of Lords in order to extract a final judgment on any particular case.
It is a growing concern in the United Kingdom that our laws are becoming more and more lax in imposing punishment on those who clearly deserve to be punished; by the way of imprisonment. So why are our Magistrates and Judges handing down non-custodial sentences, either by providing a Suspended Sentence or a Monetary Fine?
Here I am going to attempt to provide you with my insight into the issue and even suggest a few radical remedies that may, just may, bring back a little law and order and dare I suggest civility on the streets of the UK.
Our Prisons - You can look at any statistics you like and all will clearly indicate that our prisons are already over-crowded. We simply do not have the room to house everyone who commits a crime. The disturbing issue here is that more and more violent criminals are being handed down suspended sentences due to this issue. In a recent news article Paul Stratford punched his sons’ school headmistress because she had punished his son for swearing and taunting other students with racial abuse. The result was a £500 fine and a 9 month Community Service Order.
The question here is; shouldn’t this man be behind bars? Is this the type of individual we want to walk our streets, especially when he is fully aware that he can attack anyone without any real consequence under law? The answer is ‘YES’ this person should be serving a custodial sentence, but as I have clearly stated, there simply is very little room available in our prisons and so Magistrates and Judges have to clearly consider the level of risk of putting an individual back on the streets and granting them their liberty.
By now you are probably enraged and no doubt sitting there shaking your head knowing that the UK Court System has almost collapsed and is no longer able to serve the very function it was designed for in the first place – to deliver justice and protect the public.
Human Rights Act 1998 - Many of the UK’s problems lie firmly at the feet of the Human Rights Act. Magistrates and Judges are no longer able, through this very complex piece of legislation, able to place anyone in a situation that causes them distress or discomfort – that’s the reason why most prisons are little more than hotels and why all amenities are afforded to prisoners.
At this point you are probably thinking; ‘Where is the punishment convicted criminals deserved?’ I am afraid that according to the Human Rights Act, these criminals, under this legislation, are receiving the appropriate punishment; that’s three square meals a day, free heat and light, education, recreation and a nice comfortable bed.
UK Is Becoming Over Populated - Many people often see the UK’s problems of criminal activity directly related to the number of legal and illegal immigrants that enter the UK each year. There are plenty of statistics detailing the correlation between immigrants and crime which clearly indicate that immigrants, both legal and illegal, account for a large proportion of crime in the UK.
Again, we can look directly at the Human Rights Act and previous Labour Governments that simply opened the flood gates and gave them a set of rights that makes them almost untouchable. Add to this the Laws of Discrimination and you have a recipe for not being able to remove, imprison or punish any person that is of a different ethnic group.
Quite frankly I wouldn’t want to be a sitting Magistrate or Judge in the UK as the job has lost all its meaning of protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty. How often do you read in the newspaper where a Judge is being admonished for his or her ruling, and how quickly we stand on our soap boxes calling for his / her resignation? Next time you read an article in your chosen newspaper and you come across an article that berates a Magistrate or Judge for what is clearly a crackpot decision, you may want to ask yourself why.
The answer in my view is simple – we have over the years become an overly liberal society where laws, such as the Human Rights Act, have been passed to protect the liberty of those who clearly do not deserve liberty and should be locked away.
Solving the Problems of UK Justice
The above only scrapes the surface of the issues that each and every Magistrate and sitting Judge faces each and every day when presiding over a case. In order to provide you with a little compassion for these men and women you might want to consider:
A Magistrate or Judge is the only profession that MUST come up with an answer - It never has the luxury of simply stating there is no law or precedence for a particular case. Each and every case that comes to court must have a conclusion and that conclusion is often contested, which is why we have an appeals system.
A Magistrate or Judge has to wade through reams of legislation in order to interpret that legislation as it was intended. With the increasing number of laws passed each year in the United Kingdom is it little wonder that sometimes a Magistrate’s or Judge’s decision may seem flawed?
I am afraid that before we ‘cast the first stone’ we must realise that all of the issues facing the UK and its judicial system are of our own making. We have, over the last 30 years, become a very liberal society but this liberalisation, in my view, have been manipulated and abused by our society’s criminals. The old saying that ‘Crime Doesn’t Pay’ no longer applies and in many cases criminals benefit far more from the system than the innocent who the law is designed to protect. The question here is do criminals deserve the same liberties as the law abiding citizen? In my view they do not – once a crime is committed then the individual’s rights to liberty should be forfeited.
There have been calls in the United Kingdom to bring back the Death Penalty and maybe it is time that a National Referendum is initiated on the subject. All countries suffer from levels of crime, regardless of how tough and exacting that punishment may be. Take Singapore, it is a country with very strict rules of law, where canning and the death penalty are imposed where required under its laws. Does this make Singapore a barbaric country? If you have ever had the privilege of visiting Singapore then I can tell you the answer would be NO. The streets are clean and safe, most citizens respect one another and the criminals are fully aware of the ramifications they face if caught.
Why can we not bring back Corporal and Capital Punishment in the UK? Surely a child receiving the cane at school is not altogether a bad thing and teaches respect. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, would that child have sworn at teachers and racially abused other children if he knew that the consequences would have been the cane?
Why can we not bring back the Death Penalty for serious crimes such as murder? Would we not be better off as a society knowing that murders will no longer be a threat to citizens?
What about the reintroduction of the Birch? Is it so wrong to flog a person, public or otherwise in order to deliver a clear message that crime will not be tolerated? Consider the Birch as opposed to imprisonment – it would certainly reduce the prison population and I wonder how many criminals would re-offend knowing what the punishment will be.
Why can we not change the laws that would allow us to deport any undesirables, such as the Radical Preacher Abu Qatada, who not only continues to have his liberty but does so at the massive expense of the hard working, law abiding, UK citizens. Are we so entrenched in liberal imprisonment that we can no longer call a spade a spade and take positive action to turn the UK into a law abiding, fair and safe society for people to live in?
I know many people reading this may be more than a little shocked that I would even suggest such measure, especially bringing back caning in our schools, but to be quite honest the UK has had its time of liberal intervention by abolishing or changing laws to suit its own end and none of these have produced a safe and just society – far from it, the UK is now a haven for all manner of criminals and the UK is definitely a country where crime DOES pay.