Home > UK Politics > Prison – A Smokescreen For Society’s Failings?

Prison – A Smokescreen For Society’s Failings?


The recent riots across the UK has seen many individuals go through the judicial system, but is the system currently in use fair and finally -is the punishment laid out proportionate to the crime?

The current Conservative led UK Government feels the need to promote heavy sentencing for those caught participating in any of the riots, whether looting, causing damage or both. MPs that committed fraud in the expense scandal last year, took thousands from the tax payer, were given around four months in prison, yet many who partook in the riots had not taken as much in values worth, but they face the same time as those MPs imprisoned, in comparison with crimes  and their sentencing comparison everyone can see what a joke the justice system is at the current time. Here are  just a few examples of the many ludicrous sentences and their comparisons

  • 0-5 months-Individual handling stolen goods v Known celebrity crashing his car while on cannabis
  • 5-12 months-Individual stealing gum V  person claming £11,000 of dead mum’s pension
  • 1-2 years- Individual attempting to steal cigarettes V person attempting to groom young girl online
  • 4 years – 2 lads “inciting violence “ on social networks V Person involved in Heroin dealer and part played in £10 million operations.

– so is this a fair justice system? Simple answer NO

Is our justice system fair and suitable  for it’s needs or an easy answer avoiding blame  from themselves and covering up the real reasons that led up to the riots.  It’s both exceedingly expensive to tax payers and very much a waste of time for the courts and prisons etc in which the offender may potentially learn more effectively via other means. It also acts as a quick release for government where anger is directed away from them and towards the “thugs”.

The fact that the Police and Government had asked parents in England- did they know where their children were? Well simple answer is no, but the other factor some parents feel is what authority they have any more as they fear being done for breaking human rights laws for smacking them or punishing them. The point is that many parents of those participating have more than one job to keep them and their family above the breadline thus of course would not be able to watch over their children as they are attempting to provide for them.

Prison as a concept, is normally for those who it is of public interest to be sent away from normal law abiding society, and whereby their crime is deemed highly unacceptable to society at large while continuing freedom may cause further harm. This in context should mean murderers, rapists, serious and organised criminals- including fraud to be locked in prison/ young person’s institute. However prisons should not be used as quick releases for government and should not be heavy weighted to public opinion of the day, no matter the crime or person each are and should be equal in the eyes of the law. This is not normally the case as white collars are normally given a slap on the wrist while those “social degenerates/undesirables” are locked away. Thus prison should be deemed to be the very last option once all others are exhausted, but in the current day, it is seen as the easiest and only option in most circumstances which makes the situation worse rather than better to the individual and consequently to society.

The sense of belonging is one every person needs to feel in one capacity or another, if society cannot provide such, the individual attempts to find a sense of identity elsewhere where they feel safe and a part of. More times than not, this means gangs and/or prison, where the revolving door syndrome kicks in, and where rehabilitation becomes useless.  Major cuts /total withdrawal of funding has lead to a worsening of the situation as there is nothing for this Young People to do, no Provision, Education right for them or jobs for them to enter in order to better themselves.

Socially disadvantaged areas normally found to see much more drug use and dealing than that in more affluent areas of towns or cities. Gangs are normally centred on the supply of drugs and where rival gangs aim to supply can and sometimes lead to them fighting to the death to protect and defend “their territory”. When those caught with drugs face prison, they also attend drug awareness sessions, being highly useless as they stand, as by then they had already experienced much of what the drugs do. What they really need on the other hand is the right support and facilities to get away from drugs to give them a start to find a better footing rather than condemning them at first sight.

The current UK Government is blatantly out of tune with the real issues affecting the people, they seem to avoid answering what the underlying problems are and how they may be actioned upon. Many young people have nothing to aspire too yet faced with a heavily materialised society, if they can not get the items they so desire through legitimate means they look to looting and/ or organised crime in order to keep up with the trends.

Rehabilitation as it stands does not work or benefit the individual or society as it fails in what it sets out to do, it fails the young people and adults  that go through it and cannot provide a great restart  for the individual so  they may find their feet gain. The lack of employed work is a major issue as many workplaces refuse to accept those with a criminal record. Yet the Prime minister’s own aid and close friend ,Coulson, was found to be at the centre of the phone hacking scandal. The Prime minister argued in support of his close friend “I believe he deserved a second chance” but don’t these people being failed by David Cameron and his government, deserve one?

David Cameron and his ministers have stated that they will aim to rid individuals caught participating in the riots of their home and any other state benefits they receive. What planet are they on? Do they not realise that this only perpetuates the matter further? Obviously not as they are too busy attempting to impress the general public with the heavy veneer that they are being strong in tackling crime. It is scary to think that Prince Charles understands the people more than the Government which is highly embarrassing on their part.

Unless the government faces up and addresses how they will deal with the underlining issues, this will only be the start of the riots. With more cuts planned over the years to come the situation looks bleak and where the Government needs to think again, strongly, in what effect their cuts will affect communities? Rather than moving the blame away from them and believing it is ok to continue with the savage cuts. The Justice system needs a serious rethink of it aims, how it works and how it goes about accomplishing it. With such a contentious issue will government ever address it or be afraid of what some voters may feel or perceive towards it, or continue to affect many individuals and allowing the revolving door policy to continue.

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