Its official - prisons full

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Weissbier, Feb 22, 2008.

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  1. Thousands of criminals to be freed as jails are declared 'absolutely full' for first time in history

    By JAMES SLACK Daily Mail

    22nd February 2008

    Jails were declared absolutely full last night for the first time in history. Even court and police cells were packed as the number of prisoners rose to 82,068 - almost 100 above the official safety limit.

    The crisis is expected to trigger the early release of thousands of muggers, burglars and other convicts. In a desperate attempt to buy time, Jack Straw begged magistrates to imprison fewer offenders.

    Bursting point: For the first time, there's not one prison cell to spare. The Justice Secretary said the courts were giving short jail terms when community punishments would be better. But magistrates refused point-blank to help him out of the shambles - saying they would continue to hand down whatever sentence they saw fit.

    The Magistrates' Association said it did not react kindly to being placed under "pressure" by ministers. Tory spokesman Nick Herbert said: "The prison system is now in genuine crisis. This is not the fault of magistrates but the result of sheer incompetence by this Government."

    The scope of the crisis was revealed in a Ministry of Justice statement that the number of inmates had reached an all-time high of 82,068. The total operational capacity - based on governors' advice on what is safe for "control, security and proper operation" - is only 81,972, including more than 350 places in police cells and courts. In a bid to get through the weekend, inmates jailed yesterday were crammed into prison spaces normally considered out of bounds by governors. But next week even this overspill is likely to be exhausted.

    Crisis: Justice Secretary Jack Straw has begged magistrates to imprison fewer offenders. Plans have been drawn up to extend an existing early release scheme called End of Custody Licence, which lets convicts out 18 days before their sentence reaches even the halfway point. It was implemented last June and has led to the early release of 16,000 inmates - one of whom has since committed a murder. Extending ECL to 30 days would free hundreds of spaces, but Downing Street is nervous about such a drastic step for fear of yet more damage to Labour's reputation on law and order.

    Officials at the Ministry of Justice, however, believe all other options have been exhausted. In the past week alone, they have bussed scores of inmates to open jails and announced a scheme to send foreign offenders home nine months early. But the panic measures have either come too late or achieved too little.

    Mr Straw was reduced to appealing direct to the courts, echoing a similar Government request in January 2007 to jail only the most dangerous villains, which itself sparked uproar among the judiciary. He said: 'We have 350 magistrates courts in England and Wales. "If each one ends up sentencing one extra prisoner a week to jail then we have got the increase we face.

    "There are effective alternatives in terms of non-custodial penalties which actually have a better record in terms of preventing re-offending." But Cindy Barnett, chairman of the Magistrates' Association, said the courts must have the freedom to impose sentences as they saw fit.

    She added: "We don't use custody lightly, we use it when it is so serious that nothing else can be justified and we must make that individual decision. "I think it would be very unfortunate if anything was said that is seen as pressure on individual sentences. I think that would be wrong."

    Tories accused the Government of "catastrophic mismanagement". Mr Herbert said: "They have ignored repeated warnings, failed to build adequate capacity and their belated building programme has fallen behind schedule." He said there must be no extension of ECL. Colin Moses of the Prison Officers' Association accused ministers of "total mismanagement".

    He warned: "The prisons are not safe. We have increased numbers yet again with no change in regime and no increase in staffing. This is risk management at the highest level." Ministers have promised to build an extra 14,000 prison places by 2014, including giant Titan jails holding 2,500 inmates. But the prison population is already outstripping projections made as recently as December. It means the building effort is unlikely to be sufficient.
  2. Apart from those who have committed Capital Crimes, get the buggers out into quarries breaking rocks ALL day!
    Get the into the fields, as we seem to be running out of eastern EU workers.
    Get them out cleaning up the streets!

    In stead of giving them degree's in what ever, three squares and day, colour TV is their cells, PUNISHMENT my Arrse!

    Tough of crime tough of the causes of crime! WHEN?
  3. So basically, our nation has managed to imprison the equivalent of nearly 1% of it's capital.

    Nice one government. I see you're doing a GREAT job of rehabilitating misled people. I refuse to believe that such a significant amount of people are plain evil people and would be better off given a proper chance.
  4. Would you care to rethink that, many of the threads on here are about how evil deeds seem to be the norm nowadays.
  5. If the prisons are full why bother locking up pensioners who can't afford council tax and then let out murderers and rapists instead. :?

    Unfortunately Skywalker3012 you only have to look in the news to see that these people really are plain evil, just look at the trials this week for example and well to be honest those types really don't deserve a proper chance in life.
  6. The government is hoist to the petard of it's 'daily mail-driven 'lock em up and thrown away the key' mentality.

    Straw has no more power or authority to order magistrates or any other court for that matter to bail the government out. Judges and magistrates have had their sentencing options drastically reduced by successive criminal justice Acts. The Government has introduced mandatory indeterminate sentences for specific offences such as violence or sex crimes. It has created 3000 plus criminal offences while providing no funds for prison places nor any corresponding increase in the legal aid budget.

    See what happens when the gutter press and opportunisitic politicians start villifying the judges for granting bail - you reach tipping point!

    I have no sympathy whatsoever with the plight of the government, they were continually warned that this would happen and did nothing at all about it. I sincerely hope the judiciary continue to act as Parliament, through it's legislation has determined they should act and that they should continue to ignore such pleas from people like Straw.

    There comes a point where you begin to realise that you cannot jail the entire country! There comes a time when you have to start addressing social issues instead of trying to attach a jail sentence to everying!
  7. Here is the response from Lord Phillips to the Magistrates Association. Note the diplomatically worded code for the Lord Chancellor to 'butt out" and mind his own business!

    Prisons and Sentencing story in the Guardian

    "I have read the report in the Guardian of the message sent to you by the Lord Chancellor. I can well understand his anxiety, having regard to the severe pressure on prison places, to emphasise the importance of not imposing a custodial sentence in circumstances where the nature and context of the offence permit an alternative disposal. This is, of course, no more than the law requires.

    I have spoken to the Lord Chancellor and can confirm that it was not his intention to suggest that custodial sentences should not be imposed if the circumstances of the offence are so serious that a fine or community disposal cannot be justified. As the Lord Chancellor and I have always made clear, it is not for him or me to give directions as to how Judges and Magistrates should exercise their sentencing discretion. "

    Phillips CJ
  8. I was probably a bit extreme there, ok, way too extreme, but it seems people are imprisoned for just hanging around the wrong people. Unfortunatly, in places like Liverpool, many kids have no education and the biggest influence around them would be gangs that are quite often armed. It's quite easy for people to be led astray.

    I agree that most people would be there because they really are evil, but overcrowding wouldn't be such a problem if other alternatives were sought after for the people that just don't know what to do in life.

    It's possible to be jailed for talking on a mobile phone while driving now. I'm not saying I don't respect the law, because I follow it by all means, but it seems that more rules are being made up that are in my opinion more restrictive than a resolution.

    I have to say that I don't watch TV so I don't know about the recent goings on, but I would assume that it's the most evil people that catches the news. I wouldn't expect the headlines to speak of a shoplifter or a class C drug user being imprisoned.

    That's just my own view though. Iolis said everything I wanted to really in a couple of lines.

  9. What planet are you from mate?

    Your most dangerous offenders apart (rapists, armed robbers, murderers etc) your average burglar, thief, mugger, and minor assaulter has to be convicted of literaly dozens of offences before they get to see the inside of a prison cell.

    In the meantime they're given several attempts to try out community rehabilitation. This clearly, despite what the government and the anti prison brigade tell you, does not work. Whilst on these programmes they continue to commit offences. Bearing in mind the police only detect approximately 30% of offences you can pretty much guarantee that they've committed many more offences than the ones they get jailed for.

    Like the prolific youth offender on my old area, loads of previous convictions and on one occasion was charged with 3 offences but admitted to by way of TIC (taken into account- ie ignored) to over 100. He got a community punishment order (or similar) and was still at it.

    For more info try reading A Land Fit For Criminals, which lifts the lid on the whole sorry mess.

    Mislead? Not in most cases, just plain criminal. How many chances do you want these people to have? :x
  10. Aren't there lots of warships tied up on "graveyard" alley? Take one out a suitable distance from land, and fill her up.
  11. I would just abandon Anglesea (lets be fair there's nothing there) and turn it into a penal colony.
  12. Release those whose crimes are non-violent by all means but anyone convicted of violent crime should do the full sentence without chance of early release.

    Jail IS NOT a suitable punishment for the pensioner who refuses to pay council tax.

    Community/suspended sentences ARE NOT suitable punishment for muggers,burglars or rapists.

    The Govt and the courts are both to blame but the real crime is the Govt have had plenty of warnings and failed to build required new capacity.
  13. if straw looked at the criminals for a change and begged them to stop stealing, killun and raping folk maybe.. sorry lost the plot there, bring back the death penalty and sterlize chav folk who are breeding out of control.
  14. My bold....So it would be ok to release all those scum bag burglars just because they, non violentley screwed hundreds of houses and stole peoples 'hard earned' would it?? Not in my book, the second half these so called 'non-violent' prisoners get out they will be back to there old tricks again...

    Couldn't agree more about the jailing of pensioners for non payment of council tax though.Disgracefull...but what do you expect from the 'liberated' loony courts system.... :x
  15. Perhaps in the Forces run the nicks, they would be less re-offending!

    And the meaning of Penal?