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March 27, 2007

Comments

Matt Munro

Perhaps I'm being idealistic but should punishment be cost effective ? In an ideal world there would be no crime, no police, no legal system, no prisons and (best of all) no lawyers. There would be no need for taxes to pay for it all. We don't live in that ideal world and taxpayers have a resonable expectation that their money be spent on enforcing the laws that their elected representatives have passed.
The way that many people look at the cost of legal system is not in isolation but in relation to other public expenditure. If we are spending millions on wars, or the royal family, or benefits, none of which are cost effective, then why is an acceptable justification for not locking up criminals. For the average bod (and I include myself in that description) the fear of being mugged/burgled/having your car vandalised is a far more pressing concern that weighty moral and political arguments about some dictator in a far off country they probably couldn't find on a map. The perception at the moment (with some justification)is that it's open season on the car driving, wealth creating "middle classes" whilst the asbo generation and their chav parents are allowed to break the law with impunity.

dearieme

Madness. Outsource it to abroad. Indian Cell Centres. Johnny Foreigner'll soon teach them a lesson or two. Or Mull. Make them sit in the bloody rain on Mull.

Will

Society can set-off against the expenditure the costs saved by having someone who would otherwise be stealing kept out of the way.

deanosaur

Its hard to know exactly what will deter crime. Is it more effective to consistently fine all drug dealers, or execute one occassionally and release the rest?

Even if the later is a more effective deterent, shouldn't we concern ourselves more with equal justice?

Chris Williams

"this expectation of less enforcement might raise crime, thus offsetting the tendency for tougher penalties to deter it. This point was originally made by George Tsebelis,"

Wasn't it originally made by Beccaria?

Sam

Why does it cost 40 grand a year per prisoner? Can anyone point me at a sensible cost breakdown?

dave heasman

"Why does it cost 40 grand a year per prisoner? Can anyone point me at a sensible cost breakdown?"

Well it certainly isn't food or heating. I coulds point you to the Prison Officers' Association and its overtime rules.

Roger Thornhill

If punishment does not deter, then at least keep them out of circulation for a while. Then a while longer, then for good if necessary.

Criminals often lack the concept of consequence and have low impulse management. I do wonder if their upbringing has tipped what would otherwise be responsible citizens into habitual criminals or violent individuals.

Education at an early age I am sure can play a part but can you mend them later? I am not so sure.

That said, I find Labour's idea of UK-as-open-prison very disturbing for, in a twinkling of an eye, we could end up in a police state where we get a control order for not voting for an 'approved party'. The EU is itching to outlaw unapproved political organisations, btw.

bishop hill

The stocks. Bring back the stocks.

Juno888

Education at an early age I am sure can play a part but can you mend them later? I am not so sure.

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