Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The alternatives to prison

Evidence is clear that short prison sentences don't modify crim behaviour. By the time a young man has accumulated enough wrongdoing to finally earn a term in clink, he's already learned that he can ignore the law with impunity, or at worst a few weeks litter picking. You see, these are people for whom deferred gratification is saving enough BBQ sauce for the final chicken nugget; appealing to their long-term self interest is just so much wasted hot air.

Sentencing is supposed to serve two aims, retribution and rehabilitation. The popular view is that it doesn't achieve enough of either. But if short prison terms don't work - and they don't - then neither largely do community sentences. So here's a truly progressive alternative; branding.

Young people are excessively vain about their appearance. Using liquid Nitrogen to brand a big 'T' on the forehead of a habitual thief or shoplifter, or 'V' for violent offenders, 'D' for druggies and so on would work as a disincentive like few other measures. It would affect fashion; the branded would affect hoodies or headbands to hide their brands whilst honest citizens would expose their brows. If they continued to offend, we could progress to those mediaeval fallbacks of nose-slitting and ear removal.

Alright, yes I am being silly. But let's start thinking off the page about crime and punishment; we don't want to be like the US, where 1 in 15 citizens experience imprisonment, but neither do we want to live in a world of crims taking the piss. What would you do?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

death randomly offered as a sentence might get their attention.
Or else a group of me and some heavy bovver boys who get paid for enforcing peace and quiet. You know
- there was a group like this once called the police.

bludnok said...

The stocks and the ducking-stool would be a start.

Brand(ing) conscious said...

Quite agree. A nice large letter in the appropriate place will go very well with those exotic tattoos we seem to see nowadays. Radders, old chap, you are ahead of the game here on status symbols!

Manganese said...

Branding...don't know about that...I can see the violent wearing their brand like a badge of honour. I offer the following suggestions:

1. Vasectomy of the violent young to prevent them from passing on their vile genes.

2. Take away their driving licences - few things are as important to the thug about town as his "motor". If caught driving, remove and ban TV. If caught watching TV - remove and ban mobile phone etc....

3. Embed chip below skin and record every move.

Don't get me started!!! If the world were made up of honest people (like me) there would be no need for a police force.

Bucko said...

I would reduce the number of crimes. Anything victimless would be off the books as a prisonable crime.

William Gruff said...

Dare I suggest reintroducing flogging? I was opposed to corporal punishment until I saw a video of a man being flogged in the far east (from the British style uniforms of the officers I'd guess Singapore). As I recall he received about twenty four strokes and strips of flesh were disappearing by the second or third. It was obvious that as the flogging went on the flogger was easing up but the punishment was administered. I had no idea what he'd done but I was certain he would never do it again and I think we should give it a try.

Chris said...

My old man had a cherished theory about corporal punishment in the criminal justice system.

To whit, surgically remove one finger joint for each prosecution for serious crime against person or property. Even the thickest of chavs will make the connection between crime and punishment after the loss of the first couple of fingers...

English Pensioner said...

In my younger days I met a retired police sergeant, built like a battleship, who used to administer the birch for the magistrates court. He was very proud of the fact that he'd never given it twice to the same person!

South Sandwich Maker said...

We have an island or two in the southern Atlantic which would help with "off-shoring" these pests. Lots of penguins too, so no problem with a healthy fish oil diet.