Anorak News | Free Time

Free Time

by | 13th, October 2005

‘HAS the European Court’s ruling that prisoners must be afforded the right to vote in elections already re-directed political policy?

Burgle a house and get this bling-tastic state-of-the-art ankle bracelet

With 70,000 prisoners to woo, and many jails in marginal seats, political parties would be foolish to ignore the lag vote.

Jeffrey Archer has yet to be welcomed back into the Tory fold and given a job in the shadow home secretary’s offices, but the Government is moving on apace.

The Times leads with the news that Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, apparently plans to ease over-crowding in prisons under a clever new scheme. He’s going to release them.

This is a simple enough plan. If there are too many people in jail, then let some of them out. It’s what politicians like to call common sense.

And, as The Times hears the prison service say, there are over 77,000 people behind bars and just 1,000 free beds available. The system is at “bursting point”.

The Times says that under this early-release scheme, criminals sentenced to four years porridge could be freed in 18 months; those sent down for two years could be out in just six months.

The freed will be then be given a curfew and ordered to wear an electronic tag.

But Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, is unimpressed. “What kind of message does this send to the courts and the public when sentences are simply going to be overruled by the Government?” he asks.

Dunno. Perhaps the solution is for more new prisons. It might be, but the paper says no new prisons are being planned or constructed.

Not being experts in such matters, we are unsure what the right answer to the prison problem is. But perhaps our response is not needed.

The only ones directly affected by such a policy are the prisoners. And we’ll see what they think of being set free early at voting time…’

Posted: 13th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink