Monday, May 27, 2024
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Laura Perrins: It is harder to get into prison than Eton. But don’t tell Dave


And whom, might I ask, is against reforming prisons, and rehabilitating the unfortunate souls who inhabit them? This is the question we must ask when Call Me Dave pops up wearing his Great Reformers Superhero suit, beautifully illustrated here, in this breathless piece by a smitten Peter Hoskin.

This week Dave declared he was going to reform prisons. Sure you are, Dave.

Call Me Dave knows that his legacy is pretty rubbish. As I said in a previous blog, in terms of milestones to adult life, things are getting worse and worse.

Young adults are so thoroughly priced out of the housing market they have to live with their parents. The housing crisis will have a serious impact on marriage and the ability to produce the next generation.

Even Dave’s own MPs have had to return to the parental home, but despite this disastrous housing crisis Dave is going to reform prisons instead.

The prison reforms are merely procedural – handing more power and independence to prison governors for instance. Further, the idea of letting prisoners out for the weekend when they will duly top up on their drug of choice is doomed to failure.

Despite the spin, in truth, Dave displays his reformer’s zeal, proposing changes few people oppose, such as encouraging immigrant women to learn English. Who, for goodness sake, opposes this?

And who, for instance, thinks overcrowding in prisons is a good thing? Who says, I think we should have more drug dependence and more suicide in prison? No one, that is who. But Dave bangs on about it like he is the William Wilberforce of prisons.

What many politicians will not say is that it is very difficult to get into prison short of murdering or raping someone.

In terms of petty crime, you have to commit maybe up to 50 offences to be even considered for the clanger. I should know – I used to defend these people.

In fact, in my short time at the criminal bar, I only defended people and never prosecuted. Trust me, it is tough to get inside. There are even some pathetic souls who have asked for custodial sentences because they had nowhere else to go.

This is illustrated thoroughly by Peter Hitchens and everything he says about prison and prison reform in this blog is correct.

In short, we should just do what Peter Hitchens says, when it comes to prison reform (and pretty much everything else, apart form not voting in the EU referendum).

But this would be true reform, and a difficult sell, so don’t expect Cameron to do anything so radical any time soon.

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