The Radical Reforms our Prisons Really Need
Britain’s success in the Olympics has given a chance for the best of Britain to shine and show what a great country we are, despite what our politicians seem to routinely think. Now I’m not one to focus on the negatives in life, but there is another part of Britain that is not quite so excellent that needs to be discussed from time to time. And that is the murders and rapists that sit in prisons, watching their TVs and eating food that some schoolkids would die for. I am now going to outline what prisoners currently have and why this is so wrong.
We spend over £50m (estimate based on a number of prisoners multiplied by the cost of a meal in prison) a year on feeding prisoners alone. Each prisoner has the right to £1.87 for a meal, and for this money they get meals like Bacon, Sausage & Egg, Curry and even Gammon! Now clearly this is a good think for people who have committed offences such as small theft or drink driving, but I fail to understand why my taxes should be spent providing state of the art halal meat meals to low-life’s who feel it is OK to rape and torture 5-year-olds. Now you will often hear the elitists argue ‘but they are still humans and have the right to decent food’. Well, do they? They are human, but they are certainly not humane. They should clearly have certain rights, but the right to be a large expense to the taxpayer by eating three good meals a day is not one of them.
I believe they should be allowed to have one decent meal each day. They should be allowed a meal that costs around £1.50 for dinner each day. Breakfast and lunch should be bread and soup. Besides, I’m sure that’s more than some of the prisoner’s slaves ate.
I also object to prisoners being allowed halal meat in prison. For those that aren’t aware, halal meat is where an animal’s throat is cut and the animal is left to bleed to death over several hours, or even days. Not only is it horrific in terms of animal wellbeing, but it costs more for the taxpayer. So while at face value halal meat seems like a harmless thing for prisoners to enjoy, it actually advocates animal torture and costs the taxpayer to do so.
The number one reason for prisons to exist is to punish criminals and to give the victims and their families justice. This is all well and good, but when prisoners have access to televisions and sometimes even games consoles (albeit old ones) then the fundamental basis of prisons starts to fade away. Prison is a punishment no matter what you give prisoners because they are excluded from the outside world, but punishment isn’t a binary value. Sitting on the ‘naughty step’ (if the PC crowd let me say that) for five minutes is a punishment. Does that mean it is suitable for all crimes? Clearly not. When you have a man who has raped several women, the right to a kind and caring prison system should probably fade slightly.
Currently, reoffending rates are increasing, even with all of the liberals implementing their criminal-before-victim reforms. This could just be that we are not doing enough to stop crimes before they happen (which we aren’t), but the primary reason is that prisons are actually a fun place to stay for some criminals. We often hear in the media that people on low incomes or who are homeless are committing petty crimes like small theft just to get in prison for the night. Surely this is a sign that prisons are not bad enough? If prisons were boring and hard work, people would not want to go back massively more than currently with our Gove-created reforms.
Financially, entertaining prisoners to the extent that all prisoners have a right to a Television costs hundreds of thousands of pounds and wields no benefit to the people who pay for it – the taxpayer. Why can’t the entertainment be reading a good old book? What if you aren’t into books? That’s ok, I’m sure there’ll be some paint you can watch dry.
I have the attitude of ‘you did the crime; you do the time’. So I do not see it as a positive thing if murders’ sentences are reduced by over a third just because they didn’t shout at staff much. If my family were raped or murdered, I would not be satisfied if the perpetrator got out several years early and I’m sure the majority of people in that situation agree.
I would ensure that all prisoners serve a full sentence, regardless of how well behaved they have been. And instead of reducing sentences for well-behaved ones, I would increase sentences for badly behaved ones. As well as being fairer on victims, this would be a system that assumes you will be well behaved, not badly behaved and therefore creating a positive stigma for prisoners.
Another problem with the time served in prison is the fact that sentences themselves are too short. Anjem Choudary, a hate preacher who has recruited over 500 people to ISIS, was given a 10-year sentence. If just one of those 500 killed someone, then the blood should be just as much on Choudary’s hands as the murderer’s. So 10 years (of which he’ll probably serve less than 8) is nowhere near a long enough sentence for him.
I think we should make all life sentences actually last a lifetime, not just 40 years (which can be reduced by as much as half). This would mean we have actual punishments for the most serious crimes and give justice to the victims of horrific crimes like rape, murder and torture. I also think we should triple all punishments to do with animal cruelty, and prosecute every case, not just the odd few.
This just outlines the simple plans for some of the reforms our prisons need. While this will not completely solve all of our problems, it will help to improve the situation and pave the path for a perfect justice system. I think things like the death penalty and some form of payment for the time in prison are some things to look at in the future but now is not the right time. Referendums should be held for both of these in the coming years, though.