Monday, July 12, 2010

Lock everybody up.

One of the strangest reasons for throwing someone in prison is the claim that whilst banged-up, they aren't committing more crimes.

Apart from being factually wrong, as evidenced by the crime rate within these walls, such a claim should raise at least one ethical issue - is it proper to put someone in prison for what they may (or may not) do in future?

It can be argued that many criminals commit more than one crime. Very true. But a large number do not commit other crimes. About 1 in 3 prisoners are not re-convicted. Throwing them all in the nick because we can't work out who will, and who won't commit future crimes seems to me to be a tad iffy. And the 1 in 3 future innocents may agree with me.

Extend the principles of the argument and it is simple to reach the conclusion that we should lock up all men between the ages of 15 and 25. These are the peak years of criminality, and most will be committed by men. So lock 'em all up. The principle is identical.


  1. Bring back national service?!

  2. According to the latest statistics including the ones kept by the police themselves, crime rates are going down and are at a low rate, while the prison population continues to rise. What a paranoid country we live in.

  3. i reckon that argument (that someone may reoffend) has some validity, but *only* if they either express the wish to reoffend (unlikely) or are being convicted either for multiple similar offenses or have a previous similar conviction. i.e only lock them up to prevent reoffending if they have reoffended.