Are criminals propping up the legal system?

#1
Ok here's my theory/question...
Scally / chav / crook etc breaks the law (Not including Rapists Peado's and murderers in this example) The police locate arrest and charge said scrote. Lawyer barrister etc are then tasked with defending / prosecuting said miscreant. Jury finds him/her guilty but instead of receiving the maximum sentence, which, as we know, hardly ever happens. Said miscreant is given a soft sentence such as a suspended sentence, supervision order or short spell in the clink. A huge amount of these ameba's will re-offend in a fairly short space of time. Thus keeping the whole legal system, police, lawyers, barristers etc, in gainful employment and costing the tax payer ££££££££££££s.

In other words, is the system milking the system? (Get my drift?)
Or
If the perpetrators of crime were to be dealt with to the maximum permitted by law to the extent that re-offenders become the exception rather that the rule, would this efficiency in law be detrimental to itself / victim of its own success? Because by allowing offenders to re-offend, the whole system becomes a tread mill.

Is it feasible that there are those who are conscious of this very high up in the system and that the system is as it is, for self preservation reasons rather than for the good of the public?
 
#3
Short answer, no, as much as many would like to think that it was. The problems I see with your theory are:

1) It doesn't account for civil action, which accounts for a good portion of most solicitors/baristers; and

2) There appears to be an assumption that the purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish and deter.

In regards to the first point, civil action will prop up the system far more than criminal action ever will - corporations have far deeper pockets than your average punter up for glassing someone at the local pub, and at any rate, things like drafting contracts, writing letters and providing advice can be done far faster, with the bill being served more quickly, than the whole arrest-pretrial-trial-sentencing gamut (oh, and don't forget appeals).

In regards to the second point, what is the point of the criminal justice system? Sure, deterence and punishment may be seen as legitimate purposes, and they are occasionally referred to as such, but there are other objectives in mind. Consider the following:

- male and female releasees are equally likely to be re-convicted and re-imprisoned;
- releasees who committed their first offence when aged 14 years or less are much more likely to be re-convicted and re-imprisoned than those whose crminal careers started after they were 18; and
- releasees with many prior offences are much more likely to be re-convicted and re-imprisoned than those who have only a few priors.

In addition, there are numerous studies showing that recitivism rates in those who are imprisoned, especially for more minor offences or at a younger age, are far higher than those given sentences that are more lenient, but require the completion of some rehabilitation program. Why then would you simply throw the book at an individual, without the thought of rehabilitation?

For drug offences, for instance, the Dandenong Drug Courts in Victoria are showing quite high rates of success. Similarly, use of Alternate Dispute Resolution (or ADR) in the case of juvenile offenders shows far higher rates of rehabilitation, often without requiring a formal conviction: a juvenile who has committed a crime is required to sit down with the victims, their parents, a representative of the police, and other intersted parties, and reach an agreement as to how to make amends for the crime. The shaming aspect alone is seen as being highyl effective in preventing reoffending.

By comparison, in the UK, short sentences are seen as relatively ineffective .

A pertinet quote from the article:
Prisoner re-offending costs economy £10bn annually said:
A Prison Service spokesman said the report showed that "prison is not always the right answer for less serious offenders".

He said: "We will always provide enough prison places for serious offenders, those who should be behind bars: the most dangerous, the seriously persistent offenders, and the most violent.

"Prison is the right place for such people. [But] in some of these cases a tough community sentence can be more effective than a short prison sentence - more effective in terms of rehabilitating offenders, turning them away from crime and therefore giving greater protection to the public.”
When you consider the average prison inmate costs £41,000 per year, the question starts to arise, "can't the money be better spent?"

And that's where discretion in policing and sentencing must come in. Crime has to be recognised, on the whole, as a symptom of a much larger problem, be it social or economic. This is not to say that individuals should not be held responsible for their actions. Not by any means. What I do advocate, however, is that any response to crime must take into account the broader implications of a simple prison sentence, so as not to create a larger, long term problem.

Otherwise, we might as well just go on throwing kids in gaol over a 70c chocolate frog.
 
#4
Would you be upset if I told you that a great many people still think that Legal Aid is the fourth pillar of the welfare state (the other three being the NHS, education and social security) and that as a result it is almost wholly geared to those on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit, in receipt of Government Asylum Support or are prepared to lie about their financial circumstances?

Yes, thought so.
 
#5
Pensioner Peter Wells stashed £½m behind toilet cistern in Allhallows chalet

There's the answer Adam. Tax the criminals to pay for the police and legal system which lets them off with light sentences to maximize their criminal earning power.

You will note that just six months after the seizure of cash off Wells, a drug pusher fronting as a scaffold business, David O'Leary (owner of a scaffold business and alleged drug pusher) was murdered at his Margate home. Queries to police now include a matter of a missing £300,000 worth of cocaine. But one could see the financing potentials in this. Keep the murder inquiry costs down below fifty grand and the jobs a good 'n.

In fact with vision we could end taxpayer funding of police and legal system altogether.

When police attend incidents instead of testing "Any offences revealed" test "Any profits available ?"

I think Nick Cleggie is seeking public funding savings ideas.
 
#6
The missus works for a firm of solicitors in Oxfordshire and she reckons that the travelling community (aka pikeys) account for a third of all their business. And it's all legal aid funded.


(Another third is comprised of drunken crabs fighting in the Deviator or crashing their Novas into trees around BZZ, but that's another story).
 
#7
Would you be upset if I told you that a great many people still think that Legal Aid is the fourth pillar of the welfare state (the other three being the NHS, education and social security) and that as a result it is almost wholly geared to those on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit, in receipt of Government Asylum Support or are prepared to lie about their financial circumstances?

Yes, thought so.
I'm assuming that's directed at me, so I'll respond.

First, a disclaimer: I work in the Australian Legal System, where legal aid might not be as readily accessible as in the UK. In order to qualify for legal aid over here, you've got to be in some pretty dire straights, and will in all likelihood be deserving.

As to the question of 'would you be upset?', the answer is yes.

An unqualified welfare state is no better a solution than throwing the book at offenders, an extreme example of which is the Northern Territory's foray into Mandatory Sentencing, which showed no real deterrence value for those caught reoffending, but did see a lot of indigenous people caught up in the debarcle at a rate much higher than for non-indigenous people, which was seen as worrying, as they make up a comparatively small part of the population. The fact that a not inconsiderate number of people were being locked up for relatively minor crimes, and costing a whole lot of money in the process but not acheiving any real tangible results, meant that the regime of mandatory sentencing was quite short lived.

Any system which makes it easier to be on benefits than to get a job is in trouble, but similarly any legal system which will see benefits being for a whole family because the court has locked up the potential bread winner for a prolonged period is really just perpetuating what is already a false economy. No doubt, the offender will need an attitude adjustment, but doing hard time while the missus stresses at home, and the 4 little grots go completely feral, is not necessarily a guarantee of this, and is an expensive proposition for a 'what if'?

I've been reading these boards for a while, and noticed that there is a fair amount of hate directed towards 'chav, waster scum'. A lot of it does not seem unjustified. But the question must remain: is it really an effective use of time and resources locking someone up and costing the government fourty grand a year in the process, or would we be better off withdrawing benefits so as to make the chav lifestyle wholly inviable for the most part?
 
#8
is it really an effective use of time and resources locking someone up and costing the government fourty grand a year in the process, or would we be better off withdrawing benefits so as to make the chav lifestyle wholly inviable for the most part?
Got it in one.

Trouble is the last Government spent 13 years growing the social dependancy client state to grow their vote base. Reversing that and gross overspending is going to hurt and could lead to social unrest but got to be done. No other option.
 
#9
In fact if we specified crimes the police could charge criminals fees for letting them get away with it. We could largely cut out lawyers and judiciary from the criminal law system. De facto this would only amount to taking soft option sentencing discretion away from judiciary, cutting out the CPS and lawyer middle men and handing the let off discretion directly to police at the point of need. BUT for fees paid into the public purse.

Dear Cleggie .......
 
#10
Originally Posted by clever_user_name
is it really an effective use of time and resources locking someone up and costing the government fourty grand a year in the process, or would we be better off withdrawing benefits so as to make the chav lifestyle wholly inviable for the most part?
The trouble is if you withdraw their benefits and don't lock them up, then they will steal everything that isn't physically welded to the deckheads!
 
#12
Got it in one.

Trouble is the last Government spent 13 years growing the social dependancy client state to grow their vote base. Reversing that and gross overspending is going to hurt and could lead to social unrest but got to be done. No other option.
The problem stems from the creation of the welfare state based on a mathematical nonsense and a flawed means testing philosophy.

The maths nonsense if that of the proposed actuarial national insurance system and the flawed philosophy of means testing is "To seek to maintain the claimant at the level he has reached".

I often heard (early to mid 70s) the magic figure of 2.5%. This was the idea that 2.5% of the population could be both welfare dependent AND beneficiaries of secret discretions not to charge them with benefits frauds.

The foreseen (and now manifested) problem was that the 2.5% befeits dependent fiddlers would have an enviable lifestyle that others would be attracted to as "Work ethic" dissipated and employment opportunities shrank.

This is not a disease created by New Labour. But they created the environment which enabled the problem to spread to epidemic proportions.

These threads have featured descriptions of the IRA method of defrauding benefits. Exploiting the loophole that only the NI system has a central record and claimants with no NI element can multiple claim without administrative detection by the system.

And the threads have been told about a single mother claimant caught in 76 with 48 addresses all with live claims in payment (modern day terms half a million take per year) and that her Wimbledon fraud address was an active unit IRA "Safe" house.

We kinda thought there was a compelling case to change the benefits system to head off lucrative funding for IRA. But NO. The benefits nonsense (and all the artificial public sector jobs it spawns) has continued.

Now if we could reduce the cost of imprisonment to below the claimant entitlement rate. Way to go ?
 
#15
Some interesting point of views, thanks.
Corporate cases aside. Are there any statistic that show an average of what it costs to bring an individual to justice from the initial police contact to the finale of the court process including barrister fees et all, versus the already quoted £41k PA of the prison sentence.?
Eg; A one off £20K for a six month 'hard labour' sentence slopping out etc... never to offend again V continual reappearances in court and all the associated cost that go with it.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#16
Had a look at that article and it seems to confuse the Legal Aid system with ensuring Justice.

Most lawyers in the LA system would not reciognise Justice if she bit them on the arrse. IMHO.
You're wrong there old timer. Legal aid lawyers don't earn that much. It's the lowest paid part of the sector. Senior partners etc, who make up the minority may do, but the person who you meet in the police station doesn't. All you have to do is look at the suit and the shoes for evidence of that. Very few will be wearing Armani. You may have met one or two who've made a reasonable living (no slur on your character intended, but you never know), but quite a few follow the Legal Aid route as they actually do believe in justice. Misguided fools that they are. They sure as **** don't enter it for the money. But I suppose that there's no point in trying to convince those who's opinions are formed by Daily Mail rants or what their mates told them.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Nobody seems to think through why recidivism rates are higher for criminals who are imprisoned. The reason, I believe, is that the strict guidelines under which magistrates (who handle 95% of criminal cases) have to operate militate against imprisonment unless absolutely nothing else will do. It follows that only the very worst sort of people get sent to jug and so they are the people most likely to remain criminal after punishment. If magistrates do jug people the sentence will very often be reduced on appeal which just wastes even more money. Even if magistrates think the crime and behaviour merit >6months which is their allowed max, and send the miscreant to Crown Court for sentencing, it does not follow that prison will be awarded. As judges see only the very worst cases they have very little perspective on how crime affects victims and how the public need to be protected in lesser cases that come before them, which seem to THEM not so serious as the truly awful stuff they also have to deal with.
 
#18
Serious question here, and I'd welcome views better informed than my own, but I've always assumed that the UKs comparatively high per capita bills for legal representation (including legal aid) were the result of an Adversarial as opposed to Inquistiorial legal system. I've been under the impression for a long time that legal representation costs more in those countries that model themselves on our justice system than say the French legal code. Or am I mistaken in thinking that? If I'm right, should we be considering changing, or does our system have advantages over the inquisitorial model that balances it out?
 
#19
Serious question here, and I'd welcome views better informed than my own, but I've always assumed that the UKs comparatively high per capita bills for legal representation (including legal aid) were the result of an Adversarial as opposed to Inquistiorial legal system. I've been under the impression for a long time that legal representation costs more in those countries that model themselves on our justice system than say the French legal code. Or am I mistaken in thinking that? If I'm right, should we be considering changing, or does our system have advantages over the inquisitorial model that balances it out?
Bud' I'm just a Tommy pongo. Can I/we have that in plain English please?
 
#20
Bud' I'm just a Tommy pongo. Can I/we have that in plain English please?
The Adversarial legal system sees trials run mainly by the lawyers. The lawyers raise arguments before a judge, adduce evidence, and the judge makes a decision, and will direct on points of law, but not as to the actual conduct of the trial. Typically, jurisdicitons which utilise an adversarial system also utilise the common law system, where the law is shaped by previous decisions (case law).

By comparison, the inquisitorial system sees the judge take a far more active role in proceedings - he or she will ask the lawyers to present on certain matters of fact or law, and will direct questioning as he/she feels appropriate in order to make a decision. These jurisdictions tend to operate under the Roman or Civil law system (two names for the same thing), where the law is contained in a series of codes, and precedent decision is generally not considered.

Neuroleptic said:
Serious question here, and I'd welcome views better informed than my own, but I've always assumed that the UKs comparatively high per capita bills for legal representation (including legal aid) were the result of an Adversarial as opposed to Inquistiorial legal system. I've been under the impression for a long time that legal representation costs more in those countries that model themselves on our justice system than say the French legal code. Or am I mistaken in thinking that? If I'm right, should we be considering changing, or does our system have advantages over the inquisitorial model that balances it out?
Your initial statement is correct, but it does not follow that changing the system will make everything better. As a rule, adversarial systems will cost more in terms of legal fees to lawyers, because they're the ones doing most of the work in regards to preparation of the case. However, the comparatively high cost for legal aid, as quoted ealier by OldSnowy, shows that the amount being expended in the UK is inordinately high when compared to Australia and New Zealand, who inhereted the UK's legal system (expenditure was about 6 times higher in the UK compared to Australia per capita, and it's not like the systems are that disimilar - Australia only severed all legal ties completely in 1986).

Advantages versus disadvanages? Well, while it can be conceded that the adversarial system is or can be:
• Very expensive for the individual;
• Generally favourable towards more affluent parties; and
• Slow and procedurally manipulable.

It also has some advantages over the inquisitorial system:

• It’s cheaper to run at a public level, because the state doesn’t need to provide as many judges, as much court time and as much paper work (and court time is expensive.
• It increases individual autonomy, because it takes the power away from the state in regards to a dispute, and puts the onus on the individual (especially when you consider the ability to use Alternate Dispute Resolution, which is again, much cheaper and generally parties will be more likely not to stir up trouble once a decision has been reached); and
• Is more efficient at finding the approximate truth: Courts are not interested in an absolute truth, but rather an objective and approximate truth - what is most likely to have happened. In the adversarial system, it's based on what the lawyers present, and so courts won't get too bogged down into trying to decide matters of fact.

As for what Seaweed had to say:
seaweed said:
Nobody seems to think through why recidivism rates are higher for criminals who are imprisoned. The reason, I believe, is that the strict guidelines under which magistrates (who handle 95% of criminal cases) have to operate militate against imprisonment unless absolutely nothing else will do. It follows that only the very worst sort of people get sent to jug and so they are the people most likely to remain criminal after punishment.
There is some merit to this argument, however there are other complicating factors, not in the least the problems of transition back into society. The ABC's Law Report program on Bethlehem House and Breaking the Cycle in Tasmania is quite illuminating in regards to this. The cliffnotes version is that crims, having spent time inside, become institutionalised to a high degree, and can have huge problems making the transition back to the regular world (not unlike the Armed Forces in some regards).
Gary Bennett said:
Our program is geared for men that have been in prison for in excess of two years. Now some of the ones we've worked with have been in for considerably longer. So we are certainly working with people that have been in prison for fairly significant crimes, and also ones that have been deemed as having a high risk of reoffending. Now whilst the normal rate for recidivism in Tasmania is in the mid-40%, because we're particularly tackling the high-risk ones, we would debate that probably the ones that we're working with could have about a 60% likelihood of reoffending. We have actually, with the ones we've worked with over the period of the three years our program's been going, we have reduced their recidivism down to 23%. So we've actually noticed a really high, significant reduction in recidivism and the small number that have reoffended, have reoffended for lesser crimes than what they were originally imprisoned for.
Through the provision of a stable, managed environment, the former prisoners have an easier transition back into society. The rate of recidivism is reduced partly because the former prisoners don't feel as though they need to go back to the familiar prison environment in order to be able to cope.

Finally
Adam(KOS) said:
Some interesting point of views, thanks.
Corporate cases aside. Are there any statistic that show an average of what it costs to bring an individual to justice from the initial police contact to the finale of the court process including barrister fees et all, versus the already quoted £41k PA of the prison sentence.?
Eg; A one off £20K for a six month 'hard labour' sentence slopping out etc... never to offend again V continual reappearances in court and all the associated cost that go with it.
I'm sorry, but I don't have the UK figures, but to give you an idea, here's the standard cost scale for Crimina Matters in South Australia.

With all that in mind, it's hard to pin down an average figure, because it varies crime to crime, based on things such as how long the trial will need to run based on evidence, how much evidence needs to be discovered (that is, subpoenaed and produced), whether or not a jury will be present or the matter will be heard summarily, etc.

However, as I've pointed out above, there are still considerations beyond a 'hard six month slog'. Just punishing a person, while sometimes effective with little children, isn't necessarily as good an idea when we're talking about adults. Ideally, we want them to come out as functioning members of society, or at least capable of functioning, and as good as it feels to stick someone in the can for doing something wrong, it could well come back to bite us on the arse.
 

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