Release non-violent criminals!

Amidst all the current discussion about giving non-custodial sentences to all those who would formerly have been given up to a year in prison, no-one seems to have brought up the factor of what exactly people are given sentences for.

I was listening to a phone-in on the radio this morning and there was a guy on there who’d served 13 months for ‘trademark infringement’.

Now, I really don’t see this person as any threat to life or limb as far as people going about their daily business are concerned.

He seems exactly the right sort of candidate for community service. He’s no real risk to anyone, he’ll cost less to support than he would in prison and he’d be putting something back into society.

However, if it was someone who’d got that sort of sentence for any crime of violence then I’d want them to have the prison term – in full.

Surely there must be a good proportion of the prison population – serving a variety of lengths of sentence – who are of no physical threat to society who could receive non-custodial sentences and thus free up places for more dangerous criminals?

So, basically, non-violent crime gets community service.

Crimes against the person the full custodial term.

Each case must be judged on its own merits but with the factor of harm against the individual the over-riding factor in deciding for or against non-custodial sentences.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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One Response

  1. This is one of the oldest traditions in the practice of British justice: in general, crimes against property have always been subject to greater punishment than crimes against the person. It’s a matter of priorities, see?

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