Riot payback

It seems that Nick Clegg has been listening to me…
(Sorry, I’m on iPad, can’t do fancy linking). I’m glad that they’re looking at payback schemes – and that there will something akin to a public inquiry, though not as thorough as we would have liked. And will they take any evidence from people engaged in the rioting and looting? I think they should. One question though about the payback scheme … I’m assuming that those subject to it will have to be sentenced to it; it’s a court ordered thing? Or an out-of-court disposal, but still, part of dealing with punishment for the crime… So does that mean that those who have already been sentenced won’t be eligible to take part?

Clegg also talks about the work programme for ex-offenders, aiming to get them into employment, which I’d welcome, but he makes it sound easier than it is… He says they won’t be allowed to drift back to their old lifestyle of unemployment and repeat offending. Many people leaving prison – particularly first-time and young offenders – don’t want to do that. But if they are turfed out onto the streets with nowhere to stay, very little money, and no prospect of work, and there are dealers waiting in the pub round the corner from the prison, all the best intentions can vanish pretty quickly into the dust. The work on preparing prisoners for work should begun when they enter prison, not when they leave it.

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  • Asher Jacobsberg (@AsherJac)  On August 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I think restorative justice is a very useful idea and should play a much bigger role in our justice system generally, but the suggestion that rioters should be treated any differently to other criminals is a dangerous one.
    The law is the law, apply it equally and fairly. If you don’t it ceases to be law, it’s just a whim of the political class.
    “So does that mean that those who have already been sentenced won’t be eligible to take part?”
    Absolutely! What kind of country would we be if we could change the law and then apply that retroactively to people already sentenced by our courts?
    That so many members of the primary law-making body of our country are suggesting circumventing the law is shocking.

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