Thursday, 1 July 2010

Crime and Punishment

Ken Clarke's comments yesterday, calling for radical prison reforms, are welcome but the devil will be in the detail and drivers behind his call are fairly obvious.

The Tories have never really wanted all those undesirable people on the streets but it seems that Ken Clarke is stuck with the need to make 25% budget cuts and prisons are expensive. It is sad that he not only uses a call for radical reform in this way but also that he so blantantly ignores his real driver for the change. 600,000 job losses in the public sector are going to be hard to make but clearly prioson staff are an early target.

Yes we need reform. Prisons are not the answer for many crimes and do nothing to address the underlying causes of crime which are predominately driven by inequality and drug addiction. Simply locking people away for situations that society and government have caused does nobody any good. Tackling the causes is the only real solution to crime, punishing criminals must take second fiddle.