“The right to go to work safely on the tube. The right not to be killed by someone who has served his sentence for violent crime but remains dangerous. The right to live at home without being disturbed by anti-social behaviour outside the front door. None of these removes the right of any individual to exercise their freedoms in relation to the state.” These are the ominous words spoken by Home Secretary Charles Clarke earlier defended the government's tattered record on civil liberties against the “pernicious poisoners” of the liberal British media. In the wake of damaging revelations that more than a thousand foreign-born prisoners who were released between 1999 and April 2006, should have been considered for deportation. Blairite Clarke ifought desperately hard to keep his job before being sacked by prime minister Tony Blair.
"Private firms to look after freed prisoners”, “1m offenders may avoid courts”, “1,000 crooks out of jail each day”, “Killers and rapists who attacked while on probation” - newspaper headlines scream out to us daily that the government is loosing the offensive against escalating violent crime and is engaged in a malign, surreptitious policy of freeing prisoners, in order to ‘manage’ the problem of overcrowding in British prisons.
So while Charles Clarke battles to save his own skin amid defeaning calls for his resignation, who can we really rely on to serve and protect us?
This is what one Latest.comer, Andy Holmes, said: “Who can change these sentencing guidelines to protect the public, reduce re-offenders and give burglars, drug dealers and other offenders realistic jail sentences that act as a deterrent? We have had enough of what Home Secretary Charles Clarke laughingly calls a “frightening deterrent” of community work. Up to 60,000 criminals every year will be set such tasks as preparing the London Olympic sites, instead of being behind bars, where they can’t prey on the public. This liberal orthodoxy means we have a judicial system that is more concerned with the interests of the criminal, than the protection of society”.
What's your view?
* Deborah Hobson is the Contributing Editor of The-Latest