I’ve had a bit of a break from my blog for a number of reasons but I felt like putting pen to paper today because I’ve just read about a lifelong thief, with 200 previous convictions dating back to 1974, who has just been spared jail for his 201st offence. My initial reaction to reading this story is that our criminal justice system is a complete joke. But honestly, I’m not sure putting this person in jail would change his behaviour anyway. Over half of those jailed for six months or less go on to reoffend so (assuming he has actually served time) he is a perfect example of a failing system.
In my last blog I talked about this Ever-Revolving Door that my son, Ryan, now seems to be trapped in. He’s only been out of prison a few weeks and already he has been stabbed, hospitalised and released. Things like this happen because of the situations he chooses to put himself in, the people he chooses to mix with and, of course, his own behaviours.
What I’m sure about though is that prison doesn’t help people like Ryan who, for many complex reasons, are a blight on society through their repeated criminal activity. During his many incarcerations, my son has done a bit of painting work and trained to be a barista, but no attempt has been made to try and unpick the inside of his head. He’s locked up, the authorities have him in their clutches, and they teach him how to make a coffee. Of course, whilst he’s inside he’s not committing crime but, as I’ve mentioned before, hosting him costs a fortune – £118 a day!
Until our criminal justice bodies are fully focused on the rehabilitation of repeat offenders, we the tax payer will keep picking up the bill for their board and lodgings (not to mention the cost of police, court and probation services). Retailers will continue to pass on the costs of shoplifting to their loyal customers – so a double whammy for decent hard-working people. Equally important, people like Ryan will, in my view, continue to be short-changed by a system that seems to offer him little to no help. I feel so strongly about all this that I’m going to do some further digging and report back.