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Camembert and criminality

By June 25, 2011News

They may be two of the Conservative Party’s most well known names, but there may be no Christmas card exchange this year between Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Bozza has attacked Ken’s plans to introduce more ‘soft justice’ consisting of more fines, community service and community based rehab. In a piece for the Sun, Boris said: “Soft is the perfect way to enjoy French cheese, but not how we should approach punishing criminals.” [As a point of order, the Mayor has clearly never enjoyed a Comte, which is a pressed cheese and not to be served soft – Boriswatch Dairy Editor]

He continued: “Prison shouldn’t be about sitting on a mattress, playing video games and networking with seasoned criminals. Prison should change people and if it doesn’t they shouldn’t be let out.”

Oooh. Tough words, and not likely to go down well in Clarke’s office….

“I’ve taken a different approach to the revolving door of offending with the prison wing – Heron – I opened at Feltham Young Offenders Institute,” says the Mayor.

“On the wing we’ve managed to halve that national youth re-offending rate of 78 per cent by allocating each prisoner an individual “motivational”member of staff who helps them sort out their lives during their jail term, then works with them for a year after their release.

“The prisoners are pushed into further education, helped to apply for jobs and we’ve even got a few into university. If the boys start to commit crimes again, we don’t pay the staff. It’s payment by results. And it’s a powerful incentive. It’s not soft but sensible.

“I’m now pushing for a similar approach to be adopted more widely across councils, where we can offer payments to agencies who help keep local criminals on the straight and narrow. In short, local councils, police and the criminal justice system need to work hand in hand to stop the spread of people gearing towards a life time of criminality – career criminals.

“It’s the only way we can stop the revolving door of criminality.”

The ‘revolving door of criminality’ eh? Better than the ‘automatic door of misbehaviour’, I suppose.

Boris concludes with a call to action. “Let’s all get behind a solution that can really turn around the lives of those entrenched in crime: ‘No rehab, no release.'”

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